I don’t know whether Marrickville Council reads Facebook, but considering the heaps of comments from locals, both good & bad, about living in the municipality there is a lot for Council to learn if they are interested.
The title of this post comes from local resident Kate Webster who a couple of days ago posted a series of 13 photographs on Facebook & linked them to me. The photos show the streetscape traveling along Addison Road from Victoria Road to the Crystal Street turnoff. She wrote, “This is Addison Rd Marrickville. It’s very sad. It has been ignored for too long. Even the shop keepers have been denied planter boxes outside their shops. There is not a nature strip or verge garden in sight. I’d like to know why Marrickville Council have neglected this street for so long? Are they Green or Grinch? Please Help!”
Some of the comments that went with her photos were as follows -
“Can you believe we are still travelling on the same road – its been about 300 metres with just 1 tree! How sad!!!
Now wait a minute….. is that a tree that I spot on the left? But what about the right!
A big stretch of pavement next to the driveway to the service station….surely a tree could fit here?
Any chance of a tree here? Or a verge garden? Any green at all????
Where are the trees???
Still no trees – plenty of room for them but not a single tree…
…. what about the bare footpaths, they are CRYING out for some life! Why no trees?
But wait…. there’s more….. more of NOTHING!!! Where are the trees????
Marrickville Council are you GREEN or GRINCH?? Please help!!!”
I met with Kate yesterday & after a chat about her concerns we talked to shopkeepers along this strip. What we discovered was very interesting & a little confusing. Within the last 18-months or so $60,000 was spent to do up the streetscape outside the small group of shops located between the corner of Illawarra Road & the entrance to the Addison Road Community Centre. The footpath was tiled & 3 planter boxes installed. A section was left untiled & a verge garden was created & planted with Nandinas. Recently the verge garden was dug up & the plants are expected to be replaced very soon.
Cross Illawarra Road on the same side & walk 20-metres towards Enmore Park. Shopkeepers in this section have the option of phoning Council & having planter boxes installed on the footpath. Cross the road at this location & the shopkeepers here cannot have any planter boxes. One recently received the following email from Marrickville Council on this issue. The bold font is my emphasis –
As per your request regarding your shop premises at ___ Addison Rd. I have been advised by Councils Design and Investigations Section that there are no plans to undertake streetscape works in that area within the next 3 years. Additionally, Council has no plans to purchase any additional planter boxes and is not in a position to offer you these.
Planter boxes are outside of the scope of my Sustainable Streets program which is to focus on residential areas only and not commercial business districts. However, your request for planters may be addressed in the future as part of the Public Domain Strategy.
Even though I personally think that plant boxes would help to improve the look of your shop and Addison Rd, I am unable to help you on this occasion.
Can you see why we are confused?
I would consider Addison Road one of Marrickville’s gateway connections & a high thoroughfare road. This means it has high visibility & this visibility gives people passing through a perception of what Marrickville is like as a suburb. The perception they get is one of concrete & any beauty is gathered at the small stretch connecting to leafy Crystal Street.
I think Kate is correct in her opinion that Addison Road is in desperately in need of street trees. Verge gardens like those along Sydenham Road (another gateway road) would also help improve the streetscape. The businesses along Addison Road would very likely benefit financially from a greener streetscape because, as I have written here often, shoppers tend to go where it is green & a green leafy shopping area results in around 11% more spending.
Marrickville Council’s tree-planting season has started & lasts until September. Perhaps Council could seriously look at adding some street trees along Addison Road as a priority, with an aim to have the street green within 2-3 years. Everyone I have spoken to grimaces when asked how they feel about the streetscape of Addison Road. It’s not good to have such visible ugliness in a main corridor for more reasons than just pure aesthetics. There are health issues for the people who work & live close-by as well.