I get why planners like Jeff Speck and others like street trees so much — they slow the cars, after all — and I get why city governments like them (beautification) and why homeowners like them (increased property values), but I don’t like them.
I believe that, in a city like Boston or New York, street trees do more harm than good because they subtract from pedestrian space. Because America lacks either woonerfs or just very narrow streets, pedestrians are forced onto sidewalks and, except for certain important streets, the sidewalks are very narrow. They tend to max out around five feet wide, but there are streets where the sidewalks are even smaller, to the pioint where they’re just glorified curbs.
Putting in street trees, with their little things of soil, ends up taking up to half of the sidewalk. As a pedestrian this makes it very difficult to pass slower moving walkers; over the years the trees’ roots spread beneath the sidewalk and cause parts to be uplifted; the small space and constant automobile pollution stunts growth; and when the trees get mature they have to be removed anyways so that the same asphalt cracking and lifting they cause in sidewalks doesn’t happen to the road surface.
Very few cities with narrow streets appear to have street trees, since they’re not needed to slow the cars.
In fact, of the two examples I could find, one was from Philadelphia and the other was defining parking in Amsterdam.
Trust the Dutch to be sensible, if bike-mad.