Support for trees

Dear Councillors, City of Yarra,

I refer to a petition tabled at the council meeting on 16th May 2023, objecting to council’s decision to plant trees in the road reserve (as opposed to on the footpath) in a section of Burnley Street that hosts shops.

Petition against street trees. Image credit: City of Yarra meeting minutes.

Streets Alive Yarra’s website acts as a permanent online record (or petition) for walking, biking, trees, and place making. We support council’s decision to plant trees in the road reserve, e.g. in between parked cars, i.e. we disagree with the petition. 

Ideally, we would like to see updates to council’s various policies, strategies and plans, so that they articulate a holistic, cohesive and integrated approach to urban design and street design, including council’s approach to trees. Documents should clearly communicate that council will widen footpaths, remove obstructions from footpaths, and relocate trees to the road reserve, and will remove parking to enable that. We’d like to see council adopt targets for how Yarra’s available kerb space (total length of 491 km) will be allocated to different uses, showing a reduction in the allocation for parking (e.g. from 9/10 to 2/3) to enable increases in the allocation for other uses, such as trees and bike lanes. Clearly, other uses such as parklets or pocket parks could be added to the list of uses. If we genuinely wish our urban forest to have a meaningful impact, we’re going to need a lot more street trees, and each reallocated parking bay can contribute enough space for three separate trees.

Example of how council could define targets for the allocation of kerb space. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Further information:


Jeremy Lawrence, RPEng
President, Streets Alive Yarra Inc.

Posted 22nd May 2023