INGLEWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Residents in South Los Angeles voiced their outrage on Tuesday as the city began to chop down over 400 trees ahead of the scheduled arrival of the Endeavour space shuttle.
KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports emotions were riding high in Inglewood and the Crenshaw District.
Approximately 265 stately pines and other trees along the median strip on Crenshaw Boulevard will be chainsawed. Crews in Inglewood have already started to chop down about 128 pine, ficus and other trees along Manchester Boulevard.
The 78-foot-wide Endeavour would be unable to safely make its way along the 12-mile route from LAX to Exposition Park unless the trees are cleared out ahead of its arrival on Sept. 20, when it will be housed in a hangar on loan from United Airlines for two weeks.
One resident worried that the replacement trees will take years to grow to the size of the current cluster.
“Nobody told the citizens, all we hear is the buzz-saws when we wake up,” said one woman.
“It’s really hard to watch something that’s been growing for over 100 years being just decimated,” another resident said.
Jeffrey Rudolph, President of the California Science Center, said the tree removal was necessary in order to transport “one of the largest things ever to move over a city street in Los Angeles history” and pledged that “for every tree that will be removed, two will be planted with higher quality trees”, along with “additional improvements to beautify the cities”.
Officials also decided not to take the shuttle down Leimert Boulevard on its way to Martin Luther King Boulevard after a number of community members objected to chopping down dozens of pine and fir trees that were planted to honor Dr. King.
But the short-term prospect of a tree-less boulevard had one resident lamenting the plan entirely.
“It won’t even be Crenshaw anymore without the trees; this is part of Crenshaw right here, these trees,” said one man. “I’m quite sure if they took a vote from the residents, we wouldn’t have agreed to it.”
Starting Oct. 12, the retired orbiter will begin traveling atop a NASA wheeled transporter east on Manchester Boulevard to Crenshaw Drive, then north on Crenshaw Boulevard and east on Martin Luther King before settling permanently at the Science Center.