Town Square

Urban Forest Master Plan looks to the future

Original post made on Nov 15, 2013

Named for a tree, the city of Palo Alto is challenged to sustain its urban forest in the midst of development and a changing arboreal canopy.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 14, 2013, 3:16 PM


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Posted by rebugging
a resident of Los Altos
on Nov 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

I favor such planning in Palo Alto and other nearby cities. However, the story gives no link to the "suitable" and "unsuitable" trees and why they were so characterized. I think the allowance for solar is very important and seldom considered in choosing trees. Palo Alto has often been an environmental leader. Let's hope it continues now.

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Posted by Tree Lover
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I have watched with dismay as the canopy in our neighborhood has been reduced year after year by the city's efforts to protect the overhead wires running through our backyards. Where pruning was once sufficient (albeit often done haphazardly by ill qualified subcontracts), it appears most of my neighbors have now been frightened into having their trees removed entirely, leaving us a new "canopy" of ugly poles and tangled wires. What happened to the plan to underground these wires? Was that only something for the toney areas of town? In our area, once the leafy canopy in Crescent Park was protected further undergrounding work stopped, never to return. I sure envy those big beautiful trees and fall color on my walks through Crescent Park. Wouldn't it be nice if all the neighborhoods in town had received the same attention? If we're going to talk about the value of a city wide canopy, let's talk first about finishing the work to underground wires in all, not just a few lucky residential neighborhoods, and let's pick up where the city left off years ago rather than allowing it to hopscotch the work all over town to the benefit of special interests rather than its ever-patient long term residents.

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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Great comments, Tree Lover.

I still mourn the absolutely unnecessary clear cutting on California Ave.

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Posted by neighborhood advocate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

As the recent election dramatically underscored, the priority of Palo Alto residents is to preserve the character and scale of our neighborhoods, which certainly includes the preservation of our urban forest. In recent years city planners have spent much more time granting building code exemptions for commercial and office development that has increased downtown density, traffic on residential streets, created parking problems, and resulted in a legacy of incredibly ugly architecture, than on solving problems that will improve our neighborhoods. Tree Lover's comments deserve a thoughtful response from our City Council and appropriate action from Public Works -- or more reporting from our local newspapers.

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Posted by Hugger
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm

In our neighborhood, they ever trim trees until a large branch breaks off and damages someone's car, and that person's insurance company demands repayment from the city.

For the last three years, we have complained to the city arborist about a dangerously dry and long branch that was in danger of breaking off and damaging any parked car underneath it. Earlier this year it finally broke and damaged someone's Prius. The car owner's insurance company sued, and a few months later, the city workers finally trimmed the tree we had complained about for so long.

Go figure

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2013 at 9:57 pm

The City has no regard whatsoever for the aesthetic qualities of our
residential areas, doesn't care, doesn't relate to this. There is a long
list of issues in this regard. Needed ordinances and regulations are not passed and existing ordinances are not enforced. The over-building in the Downtown of course, with its own negative effects, has the spillover impacts on the already degraded residential areas. As for the trees, many are in very poor condition from drought and poor soil, also along arterials such as University Ave probably suffering as well from auto emissions from backed up traffic, and in some cases probably affected by dewatering from
nearby basement construction.

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Posted by Holistic sense
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 17, 2013 at 1:32 am

Our City Council has all these grand ideas but they never walk the walk.

The orchard at Maybell has 100 established trees that seem fine without watering. Many neighbors felt the best use of that site was parkland, especially on this side of town that has faced so much densification, and at that site which so impacts the school commute corridors. It could be cultivated as a park like Gamble Garden House, but for trees. It's doable. As with Bol Park, we residents over here seem to have to pay for our parks ourselves, but we could do it if the City will give us the chance.

(Put the public money into saving Buena Vista - let the neighbors save the orchard, too.)

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Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Why all the bashing of the tree dept? These guys take pride in their work and work very hard. They have been pulled off of tree trimming a lot this year to plant a huge quantity of new trees. Without our normal fall rainfall, they are also taking time away from tree trimming to water these newly planted trees. With many of these quick growing trees maturing and coming to the end of their life span, many new trees need to be planted. Pull on your big girl panties and quit your complaining.