Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trees to be felled on Memorial Drive are marked with orange ribbons

Marilyn Wellons reports:

It is simply not true, as a DCR official has claimed yet again, that the hundreds of trees to be cut down on Memorial Drive between the BU and Longfellow Bridges are dead, diseased, or dying.

Following the DCR's own plans filed with the Cambridge Conservation Commission, I have marked trees to be cut down with orange surveyor's tape.

The plans include trees to be removed as part of the BU Bridge repairs that have destroyed most of the goose meadow. Consequently the trees adjacent to the BU Bridge and along the Mem Drive sidewalk presumably to remain, at least for now.

Continuing with the plans east from the stairs into the goose meadow to the BU Boathouse, individual trees and then the entire woods between the river and the sidewalk are to be removed, with one exception. It is a black willow at the water's edge, not visible from the sidewalk.

These official plans note that all trees 6" in diameter at breast height [dbh] have been inventoried, and that the plans mark all such trees. This is not the case. The plans are also inaccurate because they fail to show trees that have already been removed. Such inaccuracy would allow the DCR to claim the total number of trees ultimately cut down is less than that projected -- but of course that would be another lie.

From the BU Boathouse to the Longfellow Bridge are perhaps three or four dead trees and about the same with dangerous dieback that should be removed.

The plan is inconsistent for removal of some trees with dieback, either in the crown or elsewhere. I did not tape trees to be removed that I could not accurately locate from the plans. There are several of these.

What is consistent is the removal of hundreds of healthy trees, including most of the cherry trees and I believe all of the crabapples. Many tall, mature, healthy shade trees are also to go. Again, these trees healthy.

Healthy zelkovas, planted at public expense within the last twenty years or so, are also to be removed. Zelkovas are commonly used as replacements for elms as city street trees. Look, in particular, for ten or so east of the Mass. Ave. bridge and more around the boathouse entries.

Most of the trees in front of the MIT president's house are to be removed, presumably to improve sight lines to the river. I do wonder how much time she has to gaze either at the trees or the water, and if she does, how offensive she finds the elms and cherries to be cut down. I do know how much pleasure those trees' flowers give passers-by eager for color in the spring, and how colorful their leaves are in the fall.

In short, the vast majority of trees to be removed are those that offend the DCR designers' eyes and provide money for the DCR's true constituents' pockets. Apart from removing the few truly dead or diseased trees, the public benefit asserted is less than zero.

Please take a look between the BU and Longfellow Bridges for the orange ribbons, to see for yourself.

Marilyn Wellons