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Downtown Street Tree Program

The City is developing a replanting program for the Downtown area that includes replanting trees in areas where trees were previously removed along with a pro-active removal and replacement of some of the City’s older trees in the Downtown area. The trees to be selected will reflect ones that are better suited for the space constraints along the actively used pedestrian areas of our historic Downtown. The goal of the program is to restore the urban trees to not only beautify but also shade outdoor areas, reduce the heat island effect, and create more comfortable areas for pedestrians, shoppers and diners, which will positively impact our local residents and businesses. A carefully curated street tree palette will contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of Downtown Martinez.


The Program

The program includes two primary phases, a planning phase and an implementation phase. In the planning phase, the City retained the services of a certified arborist to inspect trees in the Downtown and waterfront areas. Several inspections were conducted with staff and tree locations were documented. The arborist and staff also identified optimum tree planting sites that factored in site constraints, existing commercial and public signage, and utility conflicts. The arborist employed a "staggered" tree site location design that will allow for more visual interest looking down a street. Finally, the arborist developed an initial list of 11 tree species recommended for the Downtown, which the City used to create an initial survey for Downtown stakeholders (business and property owners) to determine their preferences. The survey results were used to then create a proposed Tree Replanting Map focusing initially on the 500 and 700 blocks of Main Street as these blocks had the most trees removed in recent years without replanting.


Franchise & Infrastructure Subcommittee Meeting

The City held meetings with the Franchise and Infrastructure Subcommittee on November 6, 2020, and the City Council on November 18, 2020, to discuss the results of the tree survey and plan next steps. Following the meeting, the arborist revised and expanded the list of recommended tree species for the Downtown (see City of Martinez Proposed Downtown Tree List 11-18-2020) with trees deemed appropriate in the Downtown area based on ultimate size, root growth patterns, constrained space, low water needs, spring bloom and fall color, and ease of maintenance, but not all species are necessarily appropriate for all locations. A core goal is varied rather than single species aesthetic as species diversity is consistent with current urban forest best practices, protects against widespread tree loss due to diseases which can impact a specific tree species, enhances the streetscape and is more adaptable for various site constraints.

The City also launched a Community Downtown Tree Survey on November 24, 2020, to glean valuable input from community stakeholders regarding desired tree characteristics, tree variety preferences, and tree planter locations (i.e. in the ground, in containers, or a combination). The Survey closed on December 14, 2020 and had a total of 56 respondents (see Community Downtown Tree Survey Results).


Quick Links

Download Interactive Downtown
Tree Replanting Map

(as of 1/7/2021)

 

 

 

Proposed Downtown Tree List

 

 

 

 

 

Community Downtown
Tree Survey Results

 

 

 

 


Implementation Phase

The Subcommittee requested street-level renderings of the proposed replantings on the 500 and 700 blocks of Main Street, which were completed and are shown on the latest version of the Interactive Downtown Tree Replanting Map – Phase I 500/700 Block as of 1-7-2021 (Please download the map to use the interactive features).    This latest draft rendering reflects both the results of the Community Downtown Tree Survey and confirmed availability of tree stock at the nursery. The Subcommittee met again on January 7, 2021, and recommended staff proceed with tree purchases and replantings as shown on the map. These tree stock purchases and plantings will be supervised by the arborist to ensure quality trees are selected at the nursery and properly planted and established. Staff will also work with the adjacent property owners and merchants to ensure they are notified of planned tree removals and scheduled planting of replacement trees. Our hope is that the adjacent merchants will help care for the tree by monitoring its condition and watering it during the drier months. Staff will ensure the tree is pruned and inspected especially during its early years. Additionally, the Subcommittee was supportive of staff’s recommendation to try and include California native varieties, such as Desert Willow and Redbud, as the preferred stock for the plantings in large containers or planter boxes where possible.

The implementation phase includes the immediate removal of the more hazardous trees, phased in with tree planting as tree sites are prepared. The removals commenced in early December on the 700 and 800 Blocks of Main Street and the 500 Block of Ferry Street, with a total of 8 trees removed by City Public Works staff. Future tree removals will be announced in advance.

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