Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2 Freeway & Corralitas Drive: Demolished Guardrail, Chain Link Fence, Scattered Oil & Auto Parts Leave Neighbors Scratching Heads

Photo: November 30, 2016, Corralitas Neighbor.   Neighbors arrived home from work this evening to find the small 50' guardrail on the southbound lanes of the 2 Freeway absolutely demolished.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor November 30, 2016.  The railing is wrapped completely around the pole, almost all of the wooden support posts were broken and scattered around the slope and Corralitas Drive below.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, November 30, 2016. Surmising from the flow of dirt, oil and auto parts, neighbors suspected a vehicle had flown off the freeway at high speeds, and with no large trees to stop the out of control vehicle, it crashed through the flimsy chain link fence at the base of the steep slope and landed on Corralitas Drive. 
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, November 30, 2016.  Whatever crashed through the fence showed the inadequacy of the 50' guardrail.  The neighbor who sent these photos, also sent them to the CalTrans representatives, who, for the past several months, failed to respond to the neighbor's request for even the most temporary of barriers, concrete K-Rails or Jersey Barriers.  He was grateful neither his nor his neighbors' kids were in the street at the time of the crash.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, November 30, 2016.  Debris from the wreckage was on both sides of the fence, including a some that damaged one neighbor's car.  You can still see motor oil in the storm drain inlet at the front of the car's tire. 

Another neighbor emailed me inquiring about the aforementioned, as well as a large puddle of oil in the middle of the street, near her driveway.  Needless to say, neighbors were taking photos and asking questions before the sun went down.  More to follow.

Note: CalTrans removed trees it deemed as unsafe after the June 19, 2016 Silver Lake Fire.  This summer, I had several conversations with CalTrans representatives where, among other topics, I requested K-rails.  On multiple occasions, and despite their awareness of my documentation of the the removed trees stopping cars from flying off the freeway in 2015: both said the safety of the motorists on the freeway was their only concern, not the safety of the adjacent residents or users of city streets. -DE

Monday, November 28, 2016

Corralitas Drive: Soaring

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, November 25, 2016.  Red Tailed Hawk over Corralitas Drive.  (Click on photo to enlarge.) 

Vlahakis texted, "I was loading the car and this GIANT shadow passed over me and I knew it was the one I've been trying to capture for some time...luckily he cruised for a couple of minutes."  I know how hard it is to get those great wildlife shots espcially when it's your personal white whale - the big Red Tail like this one or in my case - Cooper's Hawks.  You keep a camera handy and are quick to shoot, edit later.  With soaring shots you get a lot of blue sky and blurred birds.  It's so much easier now than the days when you had to waste a lot of film to get a great shot.  It's still a huge challenge and so satisfying to come up with a gem like this photo.  Thanks for sharing Gary!
 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Red Car Canyon Lake: Mudwatch, Rainfall Totals

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, November 21, 2016.  Last Monday's inch of rain brought the vernal pools back to Red Car Canyon.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

We're tracking rainfall totals in the Corralitas Drive rain gauge...

November 26-27, 2016: 0.2
Season to date: 1.5"

Friday, November 25, 2016

Corralitas Walk: Before & After Trees

Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 21, 2016.  Prior to the June 19, 2016 Silver Lake Fire, Corralitas Walk (a public sidewalk) was screened from the southbound lanes of the 2 Freeway by a 20 - 40 foot tall wall of trees. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 11, 2016.  About a month after the fire, CalTrans went overboard chopping down the remaining trees that did not burn.  Neighbors and pedestrians feel exposed and none too safe since there is only one small 50' section of guardrail back around the overhead freeway signs.  Now, the only thing keeping cars from flying off the freeway is a flimsy chain link fence.  Cal Trans removed the 2 large Eucalyptus trees that stopped at least 2 cars from flying off the freeway in 2015. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 18, 2009.  The wall of trees made living and walking next to the 2 Freeway tolerable, even on the hottest days.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Corralitas Drive: Rainfall Totals

Photo: Gary Macheel, November 19, 2016.  Looking toward Corralitas from the Red Car Property.

We're tracking rainfall totals in the Corralitas rain gauge:
November 20-21, 2016: 1.1"
Rain year to date: 1.3"

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Red Car Canyon: Lots Of Noise, Multiple Generators, Lots Of Vehicles Around Dead Trees

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 18, 2016.  Neighbors are still wondering is this is a part of the sewer replacement project going on in the area.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 18, 2016.  Multiple generators, large trucks and a backhoe are all parked right up against dead and dying trees in Red Car Canyon between Corralitas, Lake View Ave and Riverside Place.  We sent these photos Friday to CD13 and LAFD Brush Unit. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 18, 2016.  Neighbors on top of Corralitas Drive complained their windows were vibrating while the "Hammerhead" was in use.  It was parked on Riverside Place.  One neighbor even recorded the sound because it was so loud.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 18, 2016.  It looks like the front of the hose is a high pressure nozzle rather than dig by hand or backhoe to lay pipe.  

However, this is just speculation since we've not been able to confirm anything associated with this project.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Red Car Property: Killing Native Habitat

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 6, 2002.  The former most beautiful California Black Walnut Tree on the Red Car Property, that we've followed for 16 years, is first big tree behind the encroached chain link fence, on the left side of the photo.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 9, 2012. This shot is wider and shot from further away.  The same tree is behind the fence on the left.  In 2012, the leaves of the protected native Black Walnuts were just starting to turn yellow before dropping their leaves for winter.  Yet the big healthy beautiful tree we've followed for so long, was still a deep dark green.  It was always one of the to last drop its leaves.  

The photo above shows an environment with lots of Black Walnut Trees of varying ages from saplings to mature trees.  The closest Black Walnut on the left (the young tree in the foreground) was already over 6 feet tall.  There were also Coast Live Oaks of varying ages, Coffeeberries,  Blue Elderberries as well as non native species.  It was a rich and varied ecosystem. 
Photo: Gary Vlahakis, November 6, 2016.  The now dead looking tree on the left is the former most beautiful Black Walnut on the Red Car Property.  The developer of the Riverside Drive 14-lot development below the Red Car Property butchered all the fresh growth on the tree in September. He also claimed to be watering the trees.  (However the water lines appear to be for dust control.)  

The same developer erected the fence across the Red Car Property that's become a magnet for graffiti vandals.  Thanks for making our neighborhood a better place to live.

Related: Why Trees Matter

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Red Car Canyon: Sewer Contractor Working In Dry Brush Area

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 10, 2016.  Last week, neighbors from Corralitas, Lake View and Riverside Place wondered about the backhoe, generator, porta-potty and other trucks in Red Car Canyon.  This appears to be part of a large sewer project in the area. (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

It is of major concern to neighbors, since brush clearance was never done this year and the canyon is the most dry it's ever been in the 26 years I've lived here.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 10, 2016.  While taking photos, the neighbor spoke to a City inspector on site who said they were working on sewer lines between manhole covers up on the Corralitas side of the slope, along the fence line (hidden by the dense brush).
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 10, 2016.  Another neighbor confirmed what appears to be the same crew has been working in and around Riverside Place since September.  The same neighbor also said they seemed to be working in a patchwork fashion. He'd received a letter from the City a year ago.  Another Red Car Property neighbor overlooking the south end of the Red Car Property received a similar letter.  Although that section should be more challenging, since the sewer line is in the middle of the slope, running parallel with the power lines.  They worked on sewers from the city easements in backyards on Corralitas Drive and on the Lake View side of Red Car Canyon in 2015.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 10, 2016.  The proximity of the work to dry brush and dead and dying trees concerns neighbors most. No one has seen any brush clearance on this end of the property since July, and that now appears to have been done by utility company contractors and individual homeowners concerned about their own safety.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016. There is a large build up of dry leaves and brush from the dry and dying canyon trees, including a large eucalyptus directly behind and above the area where the crew was working last week. However, the little Coast Live Oak Tree on the right side of the above photo is about 12 feet tall now. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  It's always difficult to get a good representative photo of the canyon area because of the harsh contrast in lighting through the trees.  However the pine and eucalyptus trees above the generator have been drying out horribly this year.  Adjacent neighbors have bamboo in their yards, a highly combustible plant which leaves Red Car Canyon a disaster waiting happen.  

Water your trees.

 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016: VOTE TODAY!

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, November 7, 2016.  Is it the last sunrise before the decline of Western Civilization?  (Seen from the Red Car Property and India Street.) Certainly that's what the pundits on the losing side of today's never ending presidential smackdown election will be spewing for years to come.

If you haven't already done so, enjoy the sunrise and VOTE TODAY!  

Not sure where your polling place is? LA County Registrar of Voters website has all the information you could possibly ever need regarding voting today: LAVote.Net

Polls are open 7AM to 8PM.  If you are in line by 8PM you will be allowed to vote.  Allesandro Elementary School Auditorium poll is an easy walk, if you live in the neighborhood.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Red Car Property: Dawn Yesterday

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 6, 2016.  Last week, more digging occurred around the huge Coast Live Oak Tree on the Red Car Property, adjacent to the Riverside Drive 14 unit. development.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 6, 2016.  Who could have guessed? Graffiti vandals found the fence, visible from the 5 Freeway, irresistible.  Neighbors notified CD13 a week ago.  The fence was put up by the developer of the 14 unit development under construction on Riverside Drive. It is up to the property owner to remove the graffiti.  Spray paint cans litter the site.  Neighbors hope this doesn't become another Menlo Property.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Red Car Property: Day Of The Dead Trees

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  The large Eucalyptus on the Red Car Property adjacent to the 2 Freeway, initially showed signs of fresh growth, but it was already in a death spiral before the Silver Lake Fire.  Neighbors are wondering why LAFD hasn't cited the Red Car Property owner and had it removed as a fire hazard.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Red Car Property: Undead, Undead, Undead, Undead

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  Happy Halloween.  The Former most beautiful California Black Walnut Tree on the Red Car Property at the Adelbert cut-thru is not dead yet.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Corralitas Drive: Practicing For Halloween

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, October 24, 2016.   Just a reminder, slow down while driving our hillside streets.  There are children, animals and people who may not be able to move quickly in the roadway.  Keep your kids and animals inside and, or on a leash this weekend.  Expect lots of revelry for the holidays.

Please show some respect for your neighbors if you are hosting a party.  Turn the noise down after 10PM, not everyone shares your taste in music.  The hills are notorious for the "canyon effect" of sound bouncing around and being louder across a canyon than right next door.  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 11, 2016.  Parking is limited to one side of the street on most of our area streets.  Encourage your guests to use a ride sharing or taxi service and ensure they park legally (not on the Red Car Property, red curb, wrong side of the street nor blocking your neighbors' driveways).
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 7, 2016.  Not a pretty opossum: mangy, lumpy and limpy.  

Don't encourage unwanted guests at your party.  If your party is outdoors, be sure to clean up all food trash the same night, or the rats, skunks, opossum, raccoons and coyotes will make a bigger mess of your yard than you left it the night before.  And they will keep returning, looking for more.

Have a safe and sane Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Red Car Property: Coast Live Oaks Recovering After Silver Lake Fire

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 12, 2016.  All of the Coast Live Oaks on the south end of the Red Car Property are recovering from the fire earlier this summer.  All are showing new growth despite the canopy of dry leaves.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

In the weeks immediately after the June 19, 2016, Silver Lake Fire, neighbors watched nervously as trees that did not burn in the fire, rapidly turned brown, but did not drop their leaves, including the protected native Coast Live Oaks and Black Walnuts.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  From a distance, the trees look dry, but if you look closely, all have new growth.  It's best to walk up and under them to really see how hardy and how large these trees are.

Back in July,
I "asked an oak expert" via University of California's Oak Planner's portal. I included photos of the trees and I received a quick response from Gregory A. Giusti, U.C. Agricultural and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension Director for Lake/Mendocino Counties,

 "Though they did not burn (flames in the canopy) it appears from your pictures that they were exposed to “heat”. It’s quite possible that the intensity of the fire created enough heat to literally cook the cambial layer on these trees….or at least the branches and twigs. I suspect the live oaks will sprout, if they haven’t done so already."

Guisti and several Black Walnut experts concurred that property owner(s) with fire damaged trees (in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone) should consult LAFD for brush clearance guidelines and that trimming back the dry branches and leaves was ok to reduce the further risk of fire.  However, it is best to consult a licensed arborist.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Corralitas Drive: A Smattering of Rain

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 6, 2016.  Generic rain shot, Corralitas Drive.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

We're tracking rainfall totals in the Corralitas Drive rain gauge...

October 23-24 2016: 0.1"
Season to date: 0.3"

 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Red Car Property: Developer Blocked Walkable Portion Of Trail, But Did Brush Clearance (After Some Arm Twisting)

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  From a distance, it appears the construction fence for the 14 unit development on Riverside Drive is blocking the Red Car Property, north of India Street.  However, they left us passage on the upslope side of the fence, hidden behind a silver Mercedes.  (The Mercedes finally left last night, after being parked there more than a month.)  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  The pile of drywall dumped last January is on the downslope side of the trail, along with a reduced pile of salvage and trash on the 20 - 30' of downslope that is Red Car Property.  No word if people are still living in the sheds further downslope.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  Neighbors still aren't buying the line from the Riverside Drive developer, that he doesn't have a deal to develop this part of the Red Car Property.  They only cleared the brush from the path here once I bitched at him that it was not a functional path he claimed to have given us.  It was full of trampled down brush and castor beans.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  The heritage Coast Live Oak is still standing.  The developer blocked the highly used portion of the trail, and left us the narrow portion between the slope and the dust screened, chain link fence. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  There are a few leaves left on what was the most beautiful California Black Walnut Tree on the Red Car Property.  Last month, the developer's brush clearance crew cut all the new growth from the tree for no good reasonThe tree is definitely on the Red Car Property.

This site is not the site of the proposed zone change to allow 49 units.  However, you better believe if they get the zone change and subdivision for condos on the south end of the property the remaining lots will be subject to a development application.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Red Car Property: Dead Eucalyptus & Dry Brush On Lot C, Adjacent Streets

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016. We documented the quick demise of the huge Eucalyptus on the  upper part of the slope in 2015.  It's in an Adelbert backyard, adjacent to the Red Car Property.  The lower dead Eucalyptus died a few months later.  It's on the Red Car Property.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  A third and even larger Eucalyptus died this year within the Silver Lake Court, a public right-of-way.   High voltage lines appear to pass through the Eucalyptus adjacent to the dead tree.  A City crew cleared brush from the paper street months ago, but left the tree.

Silver Lake Court is a City "paper street," west of and adjacent to the Red Car Property.  Worth noting, in the 2003, failed 75 home development application for the Red Car Property, this was identified as the "open space lot."  The open space lot included the slope contained by a giant retaining wall.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 16, 2016.  The stand of dead trees is on the Red Car Property's Lot C, at India Street.  They are directly below power lines.  The trees died in 2013.  We don't know why this is acceptable to LAFD Brush Unit or LADWP.  We submit photos of them every year to the Brush Unit.  

During the June 19, 2016 Silver Lake Fire, neighbors on Roselin, and Riverside Dr, upslope from this location, witnessed 6 - 8" burning embers flying by their houses.

As of today, neighbors report no brush clearance has occurred on the Red Car Property, other than the previously mentioned clearance around the construction fence.  One neighbor reported seeing a LAFD Fire Marshall drive in and out of the property north of India Street yesterday.

Red Car Property North: Dead Trees, Dry Brush

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  Despite dire warnings of the very high fire danger of 5 years of exceptional drought, a fire on the south end of the property and annual notices from LAFD, the north end of the Red Car Property still has not been cleared of dry brush and dead and dying Eucalyptus between Fletcher and the construction fence (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 8, 2016.  The California Black Walnuts are beginning to drop their leaves for fall.  You can still see lots of sapling Black Walnuts sprouting on the slope among the dry weeds that were never cleared.  The green construction fence in the background, was put up across the Red Car Property by the developer of the Riverside Drive lots being developed with 14 units below the Red Car Property.  The Riverside Drive developer did the brush clearance on the adjacent portion of the Red Car Property.

The construction fence is NOT the site of the proposed zone change on another part of the Red Car Property. The current Red Car Property owner has held the property since 2001.  The owner has a history of neglecting to clear brush by May 1.  Neighbors confirm brush has still not been cleared as of today.

Click here for all our brush clearance related posts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Red Car Canyon: Owner Files For Zone Change, Yet Still Has Not Done Brush Clearance

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  The Red Car Property owner's son filed for a zone change to allow for 49 units on the south end of the Red Car Property, yet he's done none of the routine brush clearance nor clean up of the dry trees after the June 19, 2016, Silver Lake Fire.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

LAFD's coordinated the multi agency response including air,  ground and Hot Shot fire crews  and stopped the fire as it reached the edge of the slope on the Lake View side of the Red Car Property, damaging neighbors' fences and landscaping.  Many trees that did not burn in the fire, suffered severe heat damage. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  Most of the native trees will return to the slopes.  If you look closely on the slope, beyond the pile of dead palm fronds, you can see bright green leafy plants sprouting.  In the above photo, those are all California Black Walnuts returning to the slope where they were growing before the fire.  

In recent years, Southern California has suffered so many large scale and much hotter fires than the small Silver Lake Fire, there is no shortage of studies of fire recovery of native oak and walnut woodland.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  Compare this photo with the before and after fire photos.  Many of these trees are still alive, but should be trimmed back to reduce the risk of fire.  

During the Silver Lake Fire, many neighbors reported seeing 6 - 8" burning embers flying past their hillside homes on Roselin, India, Lake View and Corralitas.  So it is not asking too much to clean up the fire hazard.  

Most hillside homeowners get their brush clearance done every year by May 1, rather than have to deal with the hassles and fines from the LAFD Brush Unit.  The current Red Car Property owner has never cleared brush by May 1.  It usually gets Red Tagged by the LAFD Brush Unit and cleared sometime in the fall, after months of complaints by neighbors.

Considering the brush clearance had not been done anywhere on the Red Car Property before May 1, neighbors have the right to expect brush clearance now that Santa Ana Wind Season is upon us.  Brush clearance is a year round responsibility.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  This stand of bamboo and dry yuccas is just north of the burn area, right up against a fence and telephone pole on the Lake View side of in Red Car Canyon.  We've been reporting it for years to CD13 and LAFD Brush Unit.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 9, 2016.  In 26 years of living in the neighborhood, I have never seen Red Car Canyon so dry.  I've never seen so much daylight in the wooded canyon.  The number of dead and dying trees in this part of the property is at an all time high.  There are power lines directly above and parallel with the wooden fence in the background (Lake View side).  The tree in the foreground, died prior to the fire (which was stopped about 75' south of this shot).

This is just a portion of the problem in the canyon area.  The only parts of the Red Car Property that have been cleared of brush are where neighbors have cleared it back from their fences and adjacent to the 14 home development on Riverside Drive.

Click here for all our brush clearance posts.