Looking at the Johnston Boulevard sidewalk improvement project, I was disappointed to see that street trees were not included. This area is currently losing its tree canopy. Including street trees in this project is both the time and place for the city to stand up and support trees in our communities.
This is an underserved neighborhood that is developing quickly. If street trees are not included now, this neighborhood may never have them. At the minimum, the city should provide tree pits (openings in the sidewalk) at the standard street tree spacing so that the community could plant the trees in the future.
If no accommodations are provided now as part of this project, there may never be a chance for this neighborhood and community to have the trees they deserve.
— Mike J. Zukoski
One thought on “Letter: Trees missing from sidewalk improvement plan”
Another alternative and insight to consider: Right of way tree plantings by the City generally do not afford the best environment for trees to flourish. First, there is usually limited space and secondly, there are underground utilities (mainly water and sewer lines/connections) that sometimes have to be dug up and that can damage a tree. Also, many ROW’s have power lines above them so this limits the size of the tree that can be planted. And finally, trees near sidewalks often damage the sidewalk over time by lifting the concrete with their root system.
A much better, but more difficult approach is to get neighbors to plant trees in their front yards far enough from sidewalks to avoid that potential impact. This of course requires more citizen involvement; someone to help coordinate the plantings, picking the trees and lining up community help to plant them. However, a program like this would have far greater benefits in the long run than the current approach of having the city do everything. But again, citizens would have to be involved. I suspect an established program like this would be supported by the city and they would probably provide the trees.