Metro Magazine

JUN 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 63

Transit systems planning rail lines, such as Honolulu Authority for Rap- id Transportation (HART) and Califor- nia's Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), are working with their com- munities to preserve trees in the paths of proposed routes. HART received high marks from The Outdoor Circle, a nonprofit environ- mental group, for measures it is taking to preserve up to 900 trees that will need to be removed to make way for a 20-mile rail line. Marti Townsend, The Outdoor Cir- cle's executive director, told KITV4 that HART has done "an excellent job" ensur- ing that the trees they transplant survive. In the first phase of the project, 300 trees have been removed and 250 of those have been transplanted elsewhere with a 90% survival rate, according to a report filed last month with the Honolu- lu City Council. Additionally, some trees determined to be too valuable to lose have resulted in HART moving rail columns by a few feet to accommodate them. "Some of the trees initially slated for removal or relocation were able to re- main in place by making slight chang- es to the rail design and tree pruning," Jeanne Mariani-Belding HART's direc- tor, communications, said. HART's planning team meets regular- ly with The Outdoor Circle's local chap- ter to go over the proper and safe reloca- tion of trees. The working relationship includes group discussions and on-site visits, Mariani-Belding added. HART's Environmental Impact State- ment identified which trees would be af- fected by the rail alignment. From there, the transit system's project arborist eval- uated the health, size and species of each tree to determine the best course, including which trees could be success- fully transplanted, Mariani-Belding ex- plained. The arborist also prepared a regularly updated plan that provides the status of each tree. "The environment is a special part of Hawaii's beauty, and we take special care to do all that we can to protect it," she added. Meanwhile, in March, SMART sus- pended the removal of a rare, green and white Chimera Coast Redwood tree lo- cated within a planned railroad right-of- way as it explores other options. The community's interest in the tree prompted the move, Matt Ste- vens, community and media relations, SMART, said. An arborist hired by SMART con- ducted a study and identified the tree as a Chimera Redwood Tree, which has some chromosomes without chloro- phyll, making it partially albino, Stevens explained. The study also determined the tree is not naturally-occurring; it was raised in a nursery. The redwood was planted in the right-of-way of the historic 1850's- era Northwestern Pacific Railroad ap- proximately 45 years ago by a private individual, likely as a landscape orna- mental, according to SMART. Reviewing an option to meet the safety clearances through extensive pruning, the study concluded that in addition to requiring removal of all branches and foliage on the east side of the tree, the tree's health would be undermined by the track construction and it could not survive in its present location. It would also become prone to wind throw, within falling distance of both the track and adjacent pri- vate property, creating a public safe- ty hazard. SMART will consult with addition- al independent experts to verify the re- port's conclusions and continue to look at options to save the tree. One of the options is to move the tree to another location. The City of Cota- ti has volunteered to accept the tree if moving it is the most viable option, Ste- vens said. SMART is still making good progress on the project, he added. "Our contractors are working in other areas while we evaluate our options. While it has slowed down construction in that area, it has not slowed down project construction in general," said Stevens. 6 < m ETRO m AGAZINE JUNE 2014 metro news Transit systems work to preserve trees along rail lines HART has transplanted 250 trees (shown left) along its planned rail line with a 90% success rate. SMART is reviewing options to save a rare green and white Chimera Coast Redwood tree located within a planned railroad right-of-way.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Metro Magazine - JUN 2014