Old Town Mobilizing to Save Historic Trees from City Project

by on March 25, 2015 · 0 comments

in Environment, History, Organizing, San Diego

old town 2By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Old Town residents are scrambling to save aging California Pepper Canopy trees from removal along a corridor bordering State Historic Park and the City Golf Course.

Back in late August Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other city officials staged a press conference in Old Town to announce a major infrastructure project.

The Mayor proclaimed the Juan Street Replacement Project to be “…a perfect example of the city’s one dig philosophy….” In addition to replacing the water main, the street would be repaved and sidewalks would be replaced.

This is a story best told with pictures.

Cameras covering the Juan Street press conference

Cameras covering the Juan Street press conference via Facebook

Residents were cautiously enthusiastic about the work as they were shown diagrams indicating the basic landscaping including existing trees would be preserved. The city launched a Facebook page to keep them apprised of its progress.

Now they’ve learned about changes to the Juan Street Project which will include removal of nearly all the graceful trees lining the street. Residents are mobilizing for a special meeting of the Old Town San Diego Community Planning Group.

old town 1The trees along the street have already spray painted with big red “x” indicating they are to be cut down.

I visited Juan Street yesterday afternoon, and the reasoning behind the tree removal is obvious: roots are causing the adjacent sidewalks to buckle. Removing the trees is the easy way out.

Residents believe fixing this sort of problem could be addressed in other ways.

They’ve asked that the Community Forest Advisory Board be consulted and are hoping for a big turnout on Wednesday, March 25th, 3-5pm, at the CalTrans facility on Taylor Street (at Juan St.) in the Gallegos Room.

25th Street, March 1st

25th Street, March 1st

Construction notices given to residents along Juan Street say the project will be completed by December, 2015.

Concerned Old Town residents might want to take a side trip up to Golden Hill before they get their hopes up. A similar project, launched with a press conference lauding “one dig,” is a near disaster.

Streets are torn up, small businesses are suffering and traffic accidents attributable to the construction are all still happening more than six months after promised completion date.



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