News

University Avenue trees: Where are they?

Work-order snafu leaves Palo Alto's downtown thoroughfare bare -- for now

Two dozen white birch trees lining Palo Alto's University Avenue were accidentally removed on Thursday (March 31) afternoon, according to Public Work Management Specialist John Doh.

Just two words were left off the work order: fairy lights.

"The intent was to take down those energy-sucking lights that are wrapped around the trees, to save money during this budgetary crisis," Doh said. But, he added, the order mistakenly referred to removal of trees, not the lights on the trees.

Some shoppers expressed consternation at the stark, new look of Palo Alto's main shopping thoroughfare.

"This isn't what I flew in from Palm Desert to see," tourist Shaw Paholic said. "Isn't Palo Alto supposed to have, like, shade?"

But merchants' opinions were mixed, with one shop owner loving the fact that his store sign, formerly obscured by tree branches, can once again be seen from the street.

"I love trees, I really do. But no one knows what my store is called," said the owner, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation from what he called "Palo Alto's rabid tree huggers."

The city plans to survey residents about their preferred replacement species. Once all the results are in, and innumerable community meetings have been held, new trees could be planted as early as 2016.

And, Doh added, money saved from the cutback on electricity use would more than cover the cost of tree replacement.

"I don't know what all the fuss is about. Those trees will be as good as new in another 30 to 40 years," said Doh, who was recruited after the city's California Avenue tree fiasco.

(Editor's note: Happy April Fools' Day!)

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by one-a-minute
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:22 am

I like the 30-40 years part. Very cute.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:26 am

The level of incompetence by the City is unbelievable.

How many more trees must die before someone provides adult supervision?


Like this comment
Posted by you got me!
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

I was upset too -- until reading the editor's note!! Very cute.


Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

Fire their butts! First California Avenue, and now another 'accidental' tree removal, 20 of them!
You know the saying...'fool me once etc. etc.
What's up !


Like this comment
Posted by Charlie
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

It's just another April fool's joke!


Like this comment
Posted by ARabidTreeHugger
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

A good prank is believable -- this was unfortunately quite believable till the end!


Like this comment
Posted by DaveV
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

I love the way that people just jumped all over the story with vehemance and vituprativeness. Enough with the April Fools stories, our hearts can't take the strees!!


Like this comment
Posted by Hahahah
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:56 am

Hahahahahha! Perfect.


Like this comment
Posted by togfgi
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

Is this a representation, the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

If two words missed in a work order resulted in the removal of 20 trees, where else are editors/readers of work orders being question?
Does anyone have the opportunity to question a decision being reached?

It may have been a better to add some solar panels to existing downtown structues for the electricity.

Although, when I rode my bicycle or walked through the Palo Alto Dowtown area. A few thoughts went through my busy mind. Do these lights need to be lite before and after the Christmas Season? How much do trees with lights wrapped around them dry out during the many
warm days we have in this area? How much "cooling effect" will be lost since the removal of this foliage has taken place?

Oh Well. When I bring my own bag to Whole foods, I will no longer donate the nickel to the tree (Canopy) fund.

Where were the mothers and fathers eyes and ears when these trees were removed? Why did no one speak up and call 911? Where were the tree huggers?

I will leave out any mention of carbon monoxide removal in this comment since there are so few cars in and about the Downtown University Area.


Like this comment
Posted by Love it!
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

I love that the editor managed to fool the usual vitriolic posters on here. Ha!


Like this comment
Posted by Charlie B.
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Ya sure kno what buttons to push. Best thing to preserve in this universe: sense of humor.


Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Whewww! Amazing the anger that just pours out! Happy April Fool's Day everyone, and good job PA Online -- ya got 'em!


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm

It just shows how people read a headline and react without reading the article. As someone posted on another April Fool site, the most vitriolic postings are those of the non-readers.

Editor: Please be careful when writing headlines. We have too many people who can only absorb small bites (bytes?) at a time.


Like this comment
Posted by Sheri Furman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm

The hysteria of the comments was even better than the story! John Doh? Did any of you notice the bylines on these stories? Ambar Maple for this one. Simba Felidae for the Peet's mountain lion?

Good on you, PAW.


Like this comment
Posted by Very Funny
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

How could anyone think this story was anything but an "APRIL FOOLS" joke? Hey guys wake-up, it's April Fool's Day!!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Native Plant Lover
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Given city budget cuts, rising water costs, and California's inability to provide enough water to sustain population growth, a prescient city arborist and Palo Alto City Council will replace the trees with the world's largest native California cactus.

The species is the cardón cactus (Pachycereus pringlei). Since it is estimated that there are only about 1200 of this rare native plant, city staff is considering applying for grants to help offset procurement and planting costs.

Some of the largest cardones have been measured at nearly 21 meters (70 feet) high and weigh up to 25 tons. These very slow growing plants are extremely long-lived. Many specimens live well over 300 years. They require virtually no maintenance, have no leaves to shed, and can be transplanted if necessary.

Shop owners along University Ave are thrilled since these gigantic native plants will not obscure store fronts, and no street sweeping will be required for 300 years.

The city manager is in agreement that the planting of this rare native species will save costs, and help with water conservation.
He also remarked that that these would make Palo Alto a *True Destination* as people would flock here from all over the world to see these remarkable rare trees lining our main street.


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 2, 2011 at 12:14 am

Does anyone think that all of the "real-named" posts are really posted by the individuals named? More pranks?!


Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2011 at 3:51 am

John DOH.

Thought I was in a Simpsons episode.

Nicely done.


Like this comment
Posted by Chuckles
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

@Native Plant Lover

Giant cactus? LOL! Now *that* would be a sight. Thanks for the added laugh.


Like this comment
Posted by Relieved
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm

That was great- scared me for a second- and amazing how many people didn't read to the bottom....:)


Like this comment
Posted by sallydtn
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 3, 2011 at 5:03 am

We could have plastic trees made from recycled milk cartons. That would really save on water usage too!


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

Sally

Or, fake trees disguising cell towers, all decked out in pretty lights!


Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Too funny. Kudos to PA Online. The sad part is that it was all too believable. Chuckle.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 69 comments | 6,691 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,034 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 899 views

Populism: A response to the failure of the elites: Palo Alto edition
By Douglas Moran | 1 comment | 833 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 798 views