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Lovely to see street trees planted so closely together

Concrete removed and new street trees in Calvert Street.  You can see two other new trees across the road.

Calvert Street Marrickville would be considered a street that has “enough” street trees when comparing with many other streets in the former Marrickville LGA.   Therefore, I was really happy to drive down this street earlier this week & see lots of substantial-sized newly planted street trees.  I was with a friend who is an Arborist & between us there were lots of exclamations like “ooohs,” “wow” & “look at that.”   Being keen on trees makes one get excited by things like this.  🙂

Today I went back on my bicycle to have a closer look & was pleased with what I saw.   Inner West Council has depaved sections of the footpath on both sides of the street & planted street trees in places where there were none for at least two decades, but likely much longer.

Council planted 27-28 new trees to fill in gaps & to add in places where they tend to leave empty.

Calvert Street looks so much better for these new trees.  In 7-10 years, the residents will be really benefiting from the greening of their street.

The community will also benefit as Calvert Street will be much more pleasant for pedestrians.   Being a street off ‘Town Centre,’ plenty of people walk this street to get to & from the shops.

New street tree plantings in Calvert Street have a history of being vandalised, so I am very pleased that Council did not capitulate to the vandal & continued to plant street trees.  None of the new trees have been vandalised that I could see, so perhaps the vandal has given up, got educated, developed a social conscience or moved on.  Any of these is a win for the community.

There seems to be a change this year in where trees are being planted & with the density of planting, which I think is wonderful.

If the Inner West Council’s plan is to plant all our streets like this our urban forest canopy will increase & so will this community’s health & quality of life.   There will be less respiratory diseases, such as asthma & less heart disease with fatal heart attack.

Trees help lower stress & help depressed people feel happier.  Trees also lower crime rates, lower noise pollution, act as a wind buffer & help catch stormwater.  Powerbills should drop significantly, as will the urban heat island effect.  Trees also sequester CO2 making them a vital component in mitigating climate change.

These are just some of the benefits trees provide for residents.  There is no doubt that trees make streets nicer & healthier places to live.  Shade is a valuable amenity these days.

New trees wherever there is a space.  Also depaving and plants added around the trees.  This always improves a streetscape.

Even adding more trees in areas where in the past, one was seen to be enough. Great to see so much concrete removed too.

 

 

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Showing a line of new trees planted towards the end of Livingstone Road. From nothing to leafy will be really nice. I also love that the owners of the two trees on the left made modifications to their fence to allow them to keep the trees.  

I am impressed to see so many newly planted street trees being planted to actually fill in streets, where previously the number of street trees remained stationary for many years.

It looks good to see street trees planted closer together.  Unless they are badly or over-pruned, the density of planting will also create decent shade once these trees grow larger & shade is much needed on our streets.

Livingstone Road Marrickville South is not one of the streets that I felt was desperately short of street trees. While I consider there are very few streets in the overall percentage in our area that don’t need at least one tree, Livingstone Road has a good number of taller trees & a relatedly good canopy when compared with other streets.  Therefore, I was really pleased to see that the Inner West Council has planted new street trees much closer together, every 5-7 metres or so depending on conditions like driveways.

I was also pleased to find a tag stapled to a stake that told me these new trees are Luscious® Tristaniopsis laurina.

This tree is an Australian native that is similar in appearance to a Magnolia, which is a very popular tree, so people should like it.  It grows to 7–12 metres tall & 5 metres wide at maturity, though this cannot be taken as a given due to growing conditions & importantly, pruning practices.

The leaves are large dark green & shiny with red or copper-coloured new growth.   The bark is a port wine colour that peels to reveal a cream colour.   Yellow sweetly perfumed flowers are produced in summer attracting bees, butterflies & other insects.

It seems that wherever I drive I see new trees & this is a change from previous years when I started being observant of these things.  Thank you Council.

Further down Livingstone Road. What a positive impact these will make when grown.

Kangaroo paws like book ends are very effective.

Yellow buttons is an Australian native ground cover that thrives on neglect. Nice to see that the kids have had a hand in adding colour and beauty too.

The weather has been too hot to get out much, but there are some things I hope to get to this weekend.

I have noticed more people are starting verge gardens.  Any garden that breaks up the concrete landscape is good to my eyes, but some verge gardens significantly add beauty to the streetscape.  I recently found one in Marrickville South that I thought was very nice.  It went across two frontages.  There was a community library as well, which had a chalkboard on the side for the kids to draw on.

Every plant was a native.  Red & yellow kangaroo paws were planted at each end & the flower stalks had not been vandalised.  I chose not to plant these water-wise plants because I thought they would be vandalised.  This garden has changed my mind.

Another section with ground covering grevillea.

The street library. I love these things.  Even a chair to sit and read awhile.  

A lovely fig trees in Marrickville Golf Course.

Every year, between 3 & 4 million people around the world die as a result of air pollution & its lifelong impacts on human health, from asthma to cardiac disease to strokes.  

Each summer, thousands of unnecessary deaths result from heat waves in urban areas. Studies have shown that trees are a cost-effective solution for both of these challenges. 

And too often, the presence or absence of urban nature – & its myriad benefits – is tied to a neighbourhood’s income level, resulting in dramatic health inequities.  In some American cities, life expectations in different neighbourhoods, located just a few miles apart, can differ by as much as a decade.  Not all of this health disparity is connected to tree cover, but researchers are increasingly finding that neighbourhoods with fewer trees have worse health outcomes, so inequity in access to urban nature makes worse health inequities.”  ~ The Nature Conservancy 2017.

The report may have been about America’s urban forest, but it makes no difference.  The findings are useful world-wide, including our little patch in Sydney’s Inner West.

In my assessment the quality of the urban forest & the canopy cover of the former Marrickville municipality has not changed since the 2014 report, ‘Benchmarking Australia’s Urban Tree Canopy: An i–Tree Assessment, Final Report.’

Now we are amalgamated with Ashfield & Leichhardt municipalities, their urban forest becomes our concern & visa versa.  In 2014 the three municipalities scored the following –

Leichhardt was the winner with a 20.3% tree canopy & 59.8% hard surfaces.

Ashfield won second place with a 19.8% tree cover & 57.4% hard surfaces.

Marrickville came last with an abysmal 16.3% tree canopy & 63.4% hard surfaces.

This is not to say Inner West Council – Marrickville are not planting trees.  They are. They reported that they planted 1,000 street trees across the three former municipalities, which I think is not much & not nearly what is needed.   Council also removes trees.  Development is having an impact on the canopy & so is vandalism.  WestConnex is having a massive impact on tree removal along its above ground route.

I am not familiar with Ashfield, but having lived in the Inner West for the past 40-years, I am familiar with many of the streetscapes across the former Leichhardt & Marrickville municipalities.   I look at street trees that have been there for more than my 40-years & this is a great thing to see.  I am one of those people who love to look at trees.  They make me feel comfortable.  Treeless landscapes or skylines make me feel flat & oppressed.   Recent research has found my response is normal.  The research found that few trees in the landscape results in greater rates of depression & kids finding it hard to learn & retain information amongst other things.

My wish for 2018 is for the Inner West Council to significantly increase funding for street trees, parks & other green spaces.   If our area is to be made greener & healthier for us, then the number of street trees & park trees planted need to increase substantially.   More trees please.

It takes at least a decade for most trees to grow to a size where they have a visual impact, so if we are to get the amenity from trees like shade & clean air, then we need to get trees into the ground as soon as possible.    I say “most” because I have seen how fast a Poplar takes to reach a significant height.  These trees grow so fast you can almost watch it happen.

No-one can deny that it is hard being out on the streets in this hot summer weather.  I’ve been out most days & noticed that a lot of people are not coming out of their homes until 4pm or later due to the heat & lack of shade.

We in the community need to do our bit too.  We need to plant a tree or shrub in our garden if we have the space to do so.  We also need to make concrete gardens a thing of the past & give stamped concrete driveways the flick too.  These only make our house hotter & we pay higher power bills as a result.

I was very impressed with Inner West Council – Marrickville’s free tree giveaway for 2016-2017. It is a terrific initiative & will build upon the urban forest.  I hope the tree giveaway becomes a regular feature for National Tree Day.

Community attitudes toward trees are changing.  I have noticed more people like & want public trees compared to when I started this blog in 2009, which is  great & something Council should capitalise on.

With climate change making our seasons hotter, we need to make the changes that will cool down our streets & public spaces & planting trees is a major way to achieve this.  Plus, trees are beautiful & soften the landscape.  They make us feel good even when we are not aware of this.  They help keep us healthy & happy & they bring in more wildlife.    So, let’s make 2018 the year of tree awareness & get more trees in the ground.

Happy New Year.  I hope this is an excellent year for you & your loved ones.  Thank you for reading.  I appreciate it.  Jacqueline 🙂

Council did well to plant a gum tree here in this perfect place on Myrtle Street Marrickville, but someone did not think so.  It was vandalised 3 times….until it was dead. Thanks – not.

 

 

BEFORE: Google street view of the tree that was removed. This image is a few years old, perhaps a decade. The tree was much taller, with a much larger trunk & a bigger canopy.

AFTER:  Photo taken today after all branches were removed. The top of the trunk is higher than I can reach.

What is wrong with people?   Late last week a mature Bottlebrush tree outside 89 Warren Road was unceremoniously chopped to nothing, but a trunk.   It looks awful.  It is one less tree in this street.  It also is a waste of rate-payers’ money & a waste of Council’s work.

This vandalism has robbed the community of all the benefits this tree was providing.  It was more than 20-years-old.   Local people have contacted me about this tree & they feel furious that the tree has been destroyed & they want the Inner West Council to replace it as fast as possible.

Some facts about the value of trees to help any vandal who may happen to read this realise that their actions actually have a bigger negative impact than just losing a tree –

  • A good street tree can add 30% to your property value.
  • A street full of good leafy street trees is a real estate agent’s pleasure because all houses will sell for more than the same kind of house in the same kind of condition in a street that does not have street trees, or has poor quality street trees.
  • Street trees provide a buffer from traffic & collect particulate matter pollution from passing vehicles.  Without this buffer, that particulate matter pollution is much more likely to reach your lungs.
  • Particulate matter causes lung irritation, respiratory illnesses & impairs airway function. It also can cause irregular heartbeat, heart attacks & premature death in people with heart or lung disease.  It also collects on buildings.
  • The shade of a tree can reduce air temperature by 1 – 8 degrees Celsius.
  • The canopy acts as a buffer for wind & can reduce wind speed by 10%.
  • A street tree can save up to $400 on your annual power bill.
  • Trees are nature’s air conditioners & they cool down surface heat & lower the urban heat island effect.
  • Trees also sequester CO2 & produce oxygen.
  • They help capture stormwater.
  • Trees provide habitat & food for wildlife.
  • People are happier when in leafy green streets. Since we have very little green space (the former Marrickville LGA had the least green space in Australia), the streets and the street trees are our green space, aside from parks.
  • People are happier & have less depression when able to be around trees.

So well done.  This is a busy street with both pedestrians & vehicle movement.  It’s hot walking around there.  The locals are angry with you.  You did not enrich the streetscape.  Instead, you destroyed part of it & this is a terrible way to treat both the tree & the community to whom that tree belonged.

What is left.

Shaw Street Petersham has not changed much since I lived here almost 40 years ago. I’ve always found it to be a beautiful street not only because of the houses, but because of the wonderful tall street trees.  

My very first experience of public green space is my street. ~ Dr Libby Gallagher.

Recently, ABC Radio National program ‘The Money’ by Richard Aedy did an episode on the costs & benefits of streetscapes & their value.  Guests were –

  • Associate Professor Michael Andreu – School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida.
  • Dr Libby Gallagher – Landscape architect and director of Gallagher Studio.
  • Dr Lyndal Plant – Urban Forester Pty Ltd.
  • Roger Swinbourne – Technical Director at AECOM.

Roger Swinbourne listed the following benefits of street trees – air quality, providing shading, biodiversity, water quality, winter temperature variations, average heat wave temperatures are all impacted by the quantity of trees we have in our cities.

The study showed a whole other list of values the street trees provided.  There is a strong link to the canopy and the mental health of the community.  Canopy coverage also helps mitigate air pollution.

Shade really matters.  A canopy increase from 20% to 28% lowers the air temperature by 4-degrees & road/pavement temp by 14-degrees, which is pretty substantial.

The net benefits of street trees outweigh the costs of infrastructure issues such as lifting footpaths.

Dr Libby Gallagher did research in Brisbane that found that houses in leafy streets sell for higher prices, but how much higher was dependent on the amount of canopy cover those trees provided.  The houses were 4% more expensive.

An Australian property developer listed a good tree-lined street as number 1 of what people were looking for when buying.

Then Dr Libby Gallagher spoke about the Cool Streets program held at Blacktown City Council.  It was found that a mix of evergreen & deciduous & more trees boosted property & lowered electricity bills.  Initially the residents chose small trees.  After seeing the benefits of large canopy trees to their electricity bills & health, they chose taller trees & more trees more densely planted along the street.  The residents also contracted to water and care for the trees.  They took ownership of those trees because they helped plant them & because they know the significant benefits those trees will bring them once they have grown.

Associate Professor Michael Andreu spoke about Tampa costing the value of all their trees, which came to a massive $35 million.   He also spoke about development & trees.  The city quantifying the urban forest allows everyone to understand the use of the trees & how much these trees contribute.  It helps the city explain to developers why they cannot just chop trees down.  The information they have about their trees allows them to include them in infrastructure planning.  Singapore is one city that prioritizes their trees in planning.

40-metre tall street trees in Surry Hills were given as an example of trees that would not be planted these days.  Once these trees die they will likely be replaced by something much smaller & this is despite the enormous amenity these trees are providing now.

With more development happening now, trees are not being recognised for their amenity that they provide 24-hours a day.

You can listen to the program here –

http://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pel3NwJKgQ?play=true

Screenshot of ‘Health impacts of air pollution – South East Coast Greater Melbourne 2016’ – see http://bit.ly/2tu86I0

First I noticed Sydney Council was reclaiming the road corners & creating verge gardens.  Now Inner West Council is also doing this & I think it is wonderful.

I have seen a few of these popping up around Stanmore, Dulwich Hill & Marrickville, though there may be others in suburbs that I have not seen.

Claiming back land to green it up will have many benefits for the community.  Plants & a street tree will obviously soften the landscape & add beauty.  As the tree grows it will create shade, which will lower the urban heat island effect.   If it is a native tree, it will provide food for urban wildlife, which should a priority in my mind.

Street trees trap particulate matter on their leaves, thereby improving air quality & lowering air pollution levels.

The resulting impact of air pollution on the health of people is starting to gain considerable traction amongst the scientific community.  Air pollution has a tonne of negative impacts such as higher incidence of respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis & emphysema.  Lung capacity & lung function also decreases.

There is an increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer, as well as heart disease in all ages, including more fatal heart attacks.  Stroke is another high risk.

Air pollution is a threat to child health with lower birth weight & the increased the risk of infection & developmental delays.  Alzheimer’s disease & other dementias are the latest significant health issues found to be linked to air pollution.  The authorities cannot dismiss air pollution considering the incredible amount of suffering & the costs associated with helping people affected by air pollution.

The photos below shows Clarendon Road Stanmore.  The corner has extensive work creating a verge garden & a large garden on what was once road.  A street tree has also been planted.  If this is the way of the future for many of our wide roads & expansive corners, it will transform the streetscapes of the former Marrickville municipality.

I think it is great that Council has started to use these spaces to add green & trees.  They will not impact on driver sight, as clearly demonstrated in neighbouring suburbs that have many more street trees then we do.  Another added benefit is that corners given this treatment may slow drivers down.  They smaller distance pedestrians need to cover to cross the road should also improve safety.

It’s a win for wildlife & a win for the community.

Clarendon Road Stanmore has been transformed.  The opposite side has a small verge garden.

I am pleased to see Council using a variety of native plants. Once grown they could offer habitat for small insects and lizards.

What a positive change to this section of Unwins Bridge Road. Street trees and verge gardens on both sides of the road!

In May 2017 I posted about the new verge gardens created along both sides of Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe. See – http://bit.ly/2r7xu1O

I was hopeful that street trees would be planted too.   Well, my wish was granted.  Not only has Inner West Council planted street trees, but they planted a lot of them in just one block.  I think this is the largest number of new trees planted in one block that I have noticed since starting this blog.

Twelve Ornamental pear trees have been planted on the eastern side & seven on the western side of Unwins Bridge Road. This is the species Council are planting along Unwins Bridge Road.

You may have noticed that many of our high traffic roads are lined with Ornamental pear trees.  I think it is because they are so robust & can tolerate poor growing conditions.  They create a fairly dense canopy, so will provide a good pollution barrier between the traffic & the houses collecting some of the particulate matter from passing vehicles.   They should also help muffle some of the traffic noise & cool the street as well.

The trees will also add beauty to this section of Unwins Bridge Road that was previously dominated by concrete for what seems like forever.  The change is quite striking even at this early stage after planting.  Imagine how it will look once everything has grown.

Council has planted a variety of plants from native grasses to native violets & other small plants.  These too will help manage air pollution, add beauty & cool the area down.

I applaud Council for doing this work & for choosing to plant street trees in that location.  The trees will work to improve the air quality for local residents who have to tolerate massive amounts of traffic passing by seven days a week & the associated pollution.

If all our heavy traffic roads could also have the same treatment, this will help improve the health of the residents now & into the future.  More & more research is finding that street trees have a considerable impact on the health of the community, so the more our urban forest increases, the better it will be for all of us.

Showing the western side of Unwins Bridge Road.

Quite a range of plants in the verge gardens.

This is the eastern side of Unwins Bridge Road Tempe looking toward the roundabout at the corner of Gannon Street.  I think verge gardens will make a huge difference to the streetscape.

I was pleased to see newly created verge gardens along both sides of  Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe.  This is one of the gateways to our area with thousands of vehicles travelling past every day.  The houses are lovely, but the streetscape is not.  Verge gardens will be a boon to the residents who will benefit from a drop in the urban heat island & the addition of beauty.

The verge gardens also put something between pedestrians & the vehicles, which is excellent as so many of the pedestrians are school children.

I am interested to see what Council plants & whether any street trees are included.  Council has planted ornamental pear trees further up the road from Tempe High School all the way to Tillman Park, so there is a chance street trees will be planted here.

Well done Inner West Council.  The creation of verge gardens is transforming streets across the former Marrickville municipality & I think it is great that attention is being given to Tempe.

Southern side of Unwins Bridge Road Tempe, again looking toward Gannon Street.  Even small verge gardens improve the streetscape.  

No street trees is a feature of New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. The new development in view did not include street trees, though they did include concrete.

New concrete – no street trees. Is this the best this will look?

This new development in New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill at least put in street trees. I find the power pole in the middle of the footpath odd.

We cycled up New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill last week & were surprised at the large developments happening there.  Our area is changing fast.

One of the high-rise blocks has four Brushbox trees planted out front, though one is already dead.   Street trees of this kind will enhance the streetscape and keep the footpath area cool so I am glad they were planted.

The other high-rise building has no street trees, just a long expanse of brand new concrete.

If this is going to be the future look for New Canterbury Road, then I think it is a missed opportunity.  Inner West Council needs to insist that developers include a decent number of street trees as part of the development & dare I say, verge gardens.  There certainly is room enough for them.

When NSW Transport built the light rail stations, they did not stop at station infrastructure.  They also planted trees & other plants extensively both inside & around the light rail stations & made these places quite attractive.  It is this that I would like to see developers do when they build a new building for the area – to look at the streetscape surrounding & especially in front of their development.  What they don’t spend in concrete, they can spend on street trees & plants.   I learnt from listening to the architect for The Revolution in Marrickville that if something “green” is not mandatory, then they don’t bother to include it in the development.

More & more around Sydney I am noticing busy roads including verge gardens & it all works well.  With climate change starting to really make its impact & with three heatwaves already this year, development needs to change into something that assists the community.  Concrete does not cut it anymore.  We know too much about how great expanses of concrete is bad for us & exacerbates heat.

Brilliant awning in Waterloo. Just a small change allows the community to have tall street trees. Such a sensible idea.

I also think Council should make it mandatory to have street side building awnings to be of the kind that has cutouts to allow the canopy of a street tree to grow & gain height as is the norm all along the Princes Highway in North Sydney.  They have tall Brushbox trees growing along their business/shopping strip & all the trees have space for their canopy to grow.  It looks good & not only that, it is sensible.  I’ve also seen this in Waterloo.   Why can we not have this in our area?

 

Further down closer to Dulwich Hill shops – New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill is barren in many places.

To end on a positive note, I very much like the new verge gardens on both sides, corner of Myra Street & New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. Council narrowed the road to add gardens and slow down traffic.  They have planted Callistemon ‘Little John,’ which is a fabulous plant.  It looks terrific.  

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