There is a concept in urban street tree gardening called tree stocking. The term refers to tree density. If you plant a tree every thirty feet or so, you end up with continuous limbs and leaves over the street. A canopy street! The trees shade the asphalt, they shade the sidewalk. It is not rocket science. Garrett Street. used to be a canopy street. It was a great place to walk. You can start a tree in a flowerpot. Put it in the ground with a tube around it. There is a prevailing newspaper wisdom that neighborhoods don’t have trees because of structural racism. Certainly that is 5% true. The City of Charlottesville has demonstrated a pronounced reluctance to plant trees in the public ROW. Why is that? I don’t know. If you like shade, if you like trees, plant one a year on your street every year for ten years. Plant noble native trees like these Sycamores in Saint Louis. The planting will transform the neighborhood, it will transform your life.
Gregory McPherson’s article about urban trees.
In 1975 Charlottesville had a Street Tree Planting plan, never happened.
2014, the trees on Garret started to fall.
Why Trees Matter by Jim Robbins. 2013
Maurice D. Cox was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and confirmed by the City Council on October 16, 2019. Celebrated for his experience merging architecture, design and politics through multiple public, private and elected positions, Cox is responsible for leading DPD’s economic development, planning and zoning functions while fostering community-improvement initiatives throughout the city. His primary focus is under-invested neighborhoods on the South and West sides.
• Residents’ voices should be heard for all major development decisions involving new policies and projects at the local level.
• Planning efforts should ensure weaker housing markets should be equitably incorporated in the fabric of stronger markets without causing displacement or gentrification.
• Public safety is essential around the buildings in which people live, requiring the cooperation of social service agencies, schools, youth-oriented agencies and other groups, in addition to traditional law enforcement agencies.
• Policy improvements that aim to ensure neighborhood affordability should include homeownership programs, repair programs, rental assistance programs, and related education efforts.
• Housing efforts should not focus exclusively on units and costs, but also local amenities that overlap with We Will’s other pillars.– We Will Chicago
In 2011 the announced candidates for Charlottesville City Council were Scott Bandy (I); Paul Beyer (D); Colette E. Blount (D); Brevy Cannon (D); Brandon Collins (I); Bob Fenwick (I); Kathleen M. Galvin (D); James Halfaday (D); Satyendra Huja (D); Paul Long (I); Dede Smith (D); and Andrew Williams (I). (pictured above James Halfaday)
One wonders about the roads not taken. Had the electorate made different choices in the 2011 councilmanic race would Charlottesville have avoided subsequent train wrecks?
Policies, people and leadership matter?
Garrett Street in Charlottesville, between Ridge Street and Avon, has excellent “green infrastructure”. It is a canopy street. Trees provide shade and shelter, and lower temperatures in the summer.
In 2006 the Charlottesville City Council adopted a 2025 Vision. Item five of the eight point vision was “A Green City”
The City adopted a plan in 2016 to guide the morphology of its streets. Citizens were involved in the development of the plan. People like canopy trees. Shade is a necessity in a southern city if you intend to walk in the summertime.
The Garrett Street trees have been celebrated over the years.
In the last decade development pressure has focused on this corridor. But still, in the time of COVID-19, a number of the trees remain. (construction workers maintaining distance).
This past week, seven Garrett Street corridor Pin Oaks were dispatched. 10-15,000 square feet of shade gone. Over a million leaves, gone. Carbon sequestration gone. Apex Energy is building an eight storey energy efficient structure to the south of the stumps . The landscape plan for Apex’s new corporate headquarters shows these noble oaks being replaced by pagoda dogwoods, a flowering plant, a small deciduous shrub that grows to twenty feet, with a trunk up to six inches in diameter. Token trees.
The proposed plantings will not provide the environmental services that these trees brought to our City. This canopy street destruction is deeply discouraging.
According to talk on the street, the Apex building is being designed by William McDonough + Partners, two thoughtful companies… Sometimes green is not green.