Trees to be removed for Crenshaw/LAX Line along Crenshaw Boulevard

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We posted last week about plans to remove about 135 trees along Wilshire Boulevard to accommodate the first phase of the Purple Line Extension. This week we are posting about similar tree removal plans for the Crensaw/LAX Line, a subject tackled in a story published Monday in the L.A. Times.

The above flier provides a good overview of the work. The highlights:

•The removals will be done in three stages, as shown in the map in the above flier.

Phase 1 from Exposition Boulevard to 48th Street: 98 trees are being removed. Of those, the arborist has identified 11 trees that may potentially be relocatedThe final decision on the number of trees to be relocated will to made by the city of Los Angeles. Two trees will be planted for each tree that is being removed.

Phase 2 from 48th to 67th streets: the arborist report for this area is still in draft phase but it is estimated that 53 trees will be removed with two trees planted for each that is removed. The actual number of trees to be removed may vary.

Phase 3: the arborist report is still under development and the number of trees to be removed is still to be determined.

•The plan is to keep the present trees as long as possible until construction is imminent. The plan calls for planting two trees for every non-native tree that is removed.

•Perhaps the most controversial of the tree removals is in Park Mesa Heights, where mature Canary Island Pines are in the median of Crenshaw Boulevard. These are trees, as their name implies, are native to the Canary Islands located off the northwest coast of Africa and are known for being drought-tolerant.

The median and the trees will eventually being removed to accommodate the train tracks that will run down the middle of the street.

Here are a couple of views:

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This is the view looking south on Crenshaw Boulevard between 51st and 52nd Streets. Photo: Google Maps.

The Endeavour moving north through Park Mesa Heights in 2012. The light rail line will run along the median at right, where the trees are located. Photo by Steve Hymon.

A view of the trees looking north on Crenshaw Boulevard from 54th Street. The train will run down the middle of the street and north and south traffic and parking lanes will be on either side of the tracks. Photo by Steve Hymon.

The Canary Pines were considered for relocation, but it was determined they didn’t have a good chance of surviving for a variety of reasons including their extensive root systems, previous damage from vehicles on Crenshaw Boulevard and from signs being posted to them in the past.

•The size of the replacement trees will vary depending on the species. The trees will initially be raised in nurseries and some may be nine- to 10-feet tall when first planted along the Crenshaw/LAX Line alignment.

•Plans still need to be finalized for the palm trees along the rail right-of-way on the north side of Florence Avenue. The project’s environmental studies indicated that most would remain and Metro is required to preserve 90 percent of the palms in the right-of-way in the city of Inglewood.

•The city of Los Angeles Planning Department is in the midst of developing a streetscape plan for the Crenshaw Boulevard area that is being funded with a grant from Metro. The agency has commented on the plan — but it’s important to recognize the plan is not part of the Crenshaw/LAX Line project.

•On a similar note, some trees in the project area were previously removed for the move of the Endeavour from LAX to the California Science Center. The museum has a plan to replace those trees. That plan is separate from the Crenshaw/LAX Line project.

9 replies

  1. I sincerely hope that none of the trees now slated for removal are trees that people successfully fought to save during the Endeavour’s long crawl! That would be a profound waste, from all points of view.

  2. The main issue I have with tree removal is that the subsequent replacement trees do not provide adequate shading to the area. This causes area temperatures to rise. This effects pedestrians and local businesses and residents (increasing cooling costs and causing health issues). I’ve seen and experienced this first-hand as an LA native, and as a result I’m wary of any promises, proposals, etc.

  3. Technically this question isn’t related, but I have to ask. That really nice map of the Crenshaw route got me thinking.

    Right now the route’s northern terminus is at the Expo Line. It seems logical and good for traffic if it were to go farther north. The most obvious stops would be the existing Rimpau Transit Center, Wilshire at La Brea, then under La Brea with a few stops to Hollywood & Highland. This would link the Purple Line Extension, the existing Red Line, and a lot of highly-used routes (212, for example) in a straight path to the LAX area.

    Obviously the budgets have already been set up for the present work, so there has been no talk. However La Brea Blvd is wide enough for surface tracks or cut & cover work, and the linkage would make a proper network instead of just tendrils from downtown.

    • Hi Dante;

      A northern extension of the Crenshaw/LAX Line is in Metro’s long-range plan but is not funded at this time. There was a conference about a prospective transit sales tax measure in 2016 last Friday and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas talked about it funding a northern extension. But Metro’s Board has not made any decision yet on whether to pursue a ballot measure or what it would or would not fund. Stay tuned.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. So to all the people that are complaining about tree removal, what is your solution/alternative??? Should we just give up everything and stop all infrastructure projects in order to avoid the inconvenience of having trees removed, then REPLACED on a TWO to 1 ratio? Should LA just throw in the towel and forget about ever constructing a rail line again because a handful of people cannot deal with the temporary removal of a few trees?

  5. First they complained that there were no rail lines. Then they complained that Metro didn’t plan to build the Leimert Park station. Now the trees! Can’t please everybody…. It is either the rail line or the trees.

  6. Regarding the palm trees on N/S Florence Av: Those type routinely shed fronds during strong winds, which causes short circuits on the high voltage wires of the electric utilities. The fronds will also cause service outages if they fall on the rail line’s power supply catenary wires and may cause a derailment hazard if they fall on the tracks. Rip those non-native palms out and plant some kind of drought tolerant evergreen.

  7. Change brings more change. If we are thoughtful and listen to all the stakeholders, the ultimate changes will be better than if we just yell or sell out. What does the arborist say he would like to happen, if he had a choice? Many LA trees were planted thoughtlessly or without the information we have today; they might well be replaced with something more drought tolerant/native/sensible that would fit around the rail lines – which are in themselves a good thing for the city and the community. But trees are slow growing; it will be years before replacements shade, beautify, cool, and aerate the way existing trees do. Please – some respect for life, too!