Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2 Freeway: Why We Bitch About Losing Trees

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 12, 2015.  I wanted to compare photos from about the same time of year.  CalTrans hasn't watered the parkways on the 2 Freeway in decades, yet, there was a thriving wall of trees, making living across the street from the 2 Freeway tolerable. The trees also provided habitat for a variety of wildlife. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

A little over a year ago, a car crashed on the 2 Freeway. If it wasn't for one of those enormous trees, it would have flown into the Red Car Property. The fire engine gives a good idea of scale of the trees.  
Photo: Esteban Gonzalez July 21, 2016. Many of the Brazilian Pepper Trees (the mid sized green trees in the first photo)  burned to a crisp in the Silver Lake Fire due to landscape management practices that allowed the build up of dry understory.

The super green trees in middle of frame, in post-fire shots, are in a neighbors' front yards, not on the freeway.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, July 27, 2016.  Stumps are gone and we'll likely lose a few more Eucalyptus from this section  of the 2 Freeway, adjacent to Corralitas Drive. Today they removed more large trees from between the north and south bound lanes.

CalTrans policy is not to replace landscaping due to statewide drought restrictions on watering.  These homes are less than 75' from the southbound lanes of the 2 Freeway.  At the urging of Assemblymember Mike Gatto, CalTrans is now looking into options for landscape solutions across from these homes on Corralitas Drive. However, from my experience, residents must actively engage CalTrans to make anything happen.

We hope the very large Eucalyptus at the corner of Allesandro and Rosebud where the hawks nest year after year, will remain intact as it was one of the few trees in our corridor  not damaged by the heat or the flames of the Silver Lake Fire.