Eyesore of the week

By Neal McNamara

Address: Shiawassee Street between Capitol and Seymour avenues in Lansing
Owner: City of Lansing
Taxpayer: None
Owner says: Did not return a call seeking comment

Architect critic Amanda Harrell Seyburn says:
Weeds growing out of the sidewalk on the south side of Shiawassee Street between Capitol and Seymour avenues are not just unsightly but part of a larger urban design problem. Missing trees in the middle of the block magnifies the lack of adequate foliage to screen the adjacent surface parking lot. The addition of a few more trees would dramatically improve this block.

It’s as if this weed-infested stretch of sidewalk in downtown Lansing is an outgrowth of the shabby surface parking lot, which is owned by the city of Lansing, that borders it to the south.

Overgrown grass — more like a bush — has taken hold of a few cracks in the sidewalk and some squares cut out of the pavement, which appear to have once been used, or planned to have been used, for trees.

A call to the city Department of Public Service regarding the sidewalk was not returned, so there’s no word whether someone will get around to planting some trees or rounding up the weeds.


Seyburn's solution: Foliage is an invaluable feature that beautifies the urban landscape. It makes the city more walkable by protecting pedestrians from the elements and screens unsightly features such as parking lots. It also reduces heat island mitigation and energy costs.

Top: Shows the south side of Shiawassee Street improved with an increased number of trees.

Bottom: Shows that the south side of Shiawassee has one tree for approximately every 100 feet for a total of
three trees for the entire block - in contrast to the north side of
Shiawassee, which has one tree for approximately every 40 feet.

“Eyesore of the Week, our weekly look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Neal McNamara at 371-5600 ex. 17.