Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2 Freeway: CalTrans Butchers Trees, Leaves Piles Of Trash

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, August 15, 2016.  CalTrans began cutting down Brazilian Pepper Trees on the northbound lanes of the 2 Freeway that were NOT burned by the Silver Lake Fire on June 19, 2016, yet left the load of trash on the slope.  For scale - that retaining wall along Allesandro Street is about 6 feet tall.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

It should come as no surprise that CalTrans removed the trees northeast of the Rosebud Overpass at Allesandro.  I had to call their government relations flak shortly after the fire to ensure he was aware the giant tree where the Red Tail Hawks nest (the first large tree on the left) was not even scorched in the fire.  At the time,  he was not sure if the tree was destined for removal.  Trees were evaluated by CalTrans tree experts and biologists. 

A month ago, the CalTrans rep told me they would be removing trees that were a danger to their roads and drivers.  They are not in the landscape business, it is not their job to make make it attractive for neighbors.  (Mitigations for living next to a freeway be damned.)  In the past few weeks, neighbors alerted the tree removal crews to the longstanding hawk nest as well.
Photo: Gary Vlahakis, August 15, 2016.  If you look closely in this section alone, there appear to be at least 3 clumps of Brazilian Pepper Trees removed.  As of today, the trash was still there.  We don't know what was under the sawdust.  

CalTrans will not be planting new trees. 

August 22, 2016, UPDATE: A neighbor forwarded a service request sent to CalTrans to pick up the trash on the 2 Freeway.  You can file service requests on CalTrans' website.