Monday, June 17, 2013

Allesandro Street: Sound Walls, Trees & Shrubs

Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 13, 2013.  Brazilian Pepper Trees are the predominant tree in the 2 Freeway parkway between Oak Glen & Rosebud Ave on Allesandro Street.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Metro & CalTrans have resisted doing environmental review on their proposed 2 Freeway sound walls.  One reason might well be, they want to classify the 30'+ tall Brazilian Pepper Trees as shrubs so they do not have to replace them.  Brazilian Pepper Trees are a shrubby tree, growing over 30' tall, with trunks 9 - 13" diameter.  
In last week's meeting, Benkin Jong, Metro's project Manager kept saying they did not have to cut down all the trees but said they would be cutting the shrubs.  They have been trying to call the Brazilian Pepper Trees, shrubs for the past year. 
We need environmental review under CEQA to measure the potential impacts of the sound walls. 
We need to know how many trees, including the Brazilian Pepper Trees, & their locations marked on a map, of what they will be cutting down to build the sound walls, just as any developer would have to submit for the City.  (If this were a retaining wall, it would have to go through environmental review because of the City's Retaining Wall Ordinance we have in Hillside Areas to prevent blight.) 
We also need to know how many replacement trees & their intended locations on a map, in other words: a landscape plan.   Simply planting ivy is not enough to make up for the loss of 4/10ths of a mile of trees.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 13, 2013.  Brazilian Pepper Trees (Schinus terebinthifolius) are non-native, invasive & shrubby trees, but they are trees.  They should not be confused with Peruvian Pepper Trees or Toyon, all of which sprout red "fruit."

Cal Flora lists Brazilian Pepper Tree as having minor toxicity, causing dermatitis according to the California Poison Control System 2010.

Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity.  We often get email suggesting some plants are edible. If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research.