So, given the need for trees to shade sidewalks along Freeport, where do they go? The answer is in the sidewalk buffer or planting strip. At one existing location along Freeport, there is an example of street trees in a sidewalk buffer, where the new Raley’s shopping center is. The photo below is from the photo essay. I don’t know whether the city required the developer to put in sidewalk buffers and wider sidewalks, or whether the developer knew this was the right thing to do and did it on their own. In any case, this is the only part of Freeport that has them, other than a short section along the airport north of Blair Ave.
The one situation in which sidewalk buffers may not be appropriate is where buildings come to the curb in dense retail areas. But there are virtually no instances of this along Freeport. Almost all buildings are set back from the sidewalk a little, or a lot. In several cases there are massive parking lots adjacent to the sidewalk, creating the kind of place where no one wants to be. So buffers and trees at least mitigate the blandness to some degree.
As with any post, I look for example photos and diagrams. So I searched Google for ‘sidewalk buffer’. Lo and behold, the second item is my own post about this! It is experiences like this that make me realize the value of this blog, when other people are using my advocacy work in their advocacy work.
So, so rather than re-write the post, I’ll link to it here: sidewalk buffers. I encourage you to take a read. Trees, and the sidewalk buffers that would allow them, are probably the most important aspect of Freeport Blvd, and the most important topic that the city has neglected.