Notices have been posted on trees along Wilshire Boulevard sidewalks and medians indicating they are scheduled for removal as part of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) Purple Line subway project.
Metro construction relations manager Kasey Shuda said the posting gives the public a 30-day notice about a hearing on the trees that will be held by the Los Angeles Board of Public Works. The exact date of the hearing has not been set, but it is anticipated to occur in early June, she added.
Metro is planning to remove 82 trees from the sidewalks and medians on Wilshire Boulevard where the future Purple Line subway stations are going to be built at Wilshire-La Brea and Wilshire-Fairfax. Near La Brea Avenue, the trees will be removed from a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between Detroit Street and Mansfield Avenue. Near the Fairfax Avenue station, the trees will be removed along Wilshire Boulevard between Ogden Drive and San Diego Way.
“We hope to have approval in June, and we hope to schedule the removal at the beginning of summer,” Shuda said. “As soon as we get approval, the trees near La Brea will come out.”
Shuda said the tree removal is necessary because crews will be excavating underneath the street. Metro originally planned to remove 101 trees along Wilshire Boulevard, but the number was reduced after Metro identified 19 trees that could be saved. Metro plans to replace every tree that is removed with two new trees.
The plan for tree removal continues to cause concern among some in the Hancock Park and Miracle Mile areas. The Miracle Mile Civic Coalition has been fighting to save the trees for the past couple of years, and has not given up, said Lyn Cohen, president of the coalition.
“Right now, we are still trying to look at the whole scope of the project to see what options might be available,” Cohen said. “We want the relationship with Metro to remain cooperative.”
The coalition has mapped every tree along Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile and created a video presentation it has been using in the fight against the tree removal. Members plan to appeal to Metro and the board of public works to stop the process until more study can be completed on ways to save the trees.
“We continue to hope that all street trees and median trees can be saved and used somewhere else,” Miracle Mile Civic Coalition board member Randy Murphy added. “Hopefully, there is some thinking outside the box that can benefit Metro and benefit the community.”
Shuda said while plans call for the trees near La Brea Avenue to be removed as soon as permission is granted, the trees near the Fairfax Avenue station are not scheduled for removal until 2016. One additional tree will be removed near the Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue station. The first phase of construction from Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard is expected to be completed in 2023.
For a list of exact locations where trees will be removed and a notification about the upcoming meeting, visit www.bss-permits.lacity.org/TreePostings.
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