Over the long X-mas holiday weekend, the Central City East Association-the BID for much of Skid Row- trimmed the giant Ficus trees on San Pedro Street. I was out-of-town, otherwise I would most definitely have gotten some photos of the actual trimming. Speaking of photos- the ones I am showing are not the greatest- but taking pictures around here is not something to be done without care. Exploitation of the homeless, through photographs, is something I want to be careful to avoid. Also, I have been yelled at for doing so before I became conscious of what I was doing.
This tree trimming is much appreciated by me personally and a welcome and fortuitous start to the New Year. These trees are beasts- totally the wrong tree planted at the wrong location. See my previous blog posting about them here. They had gotten completely out of control, not to mention the havoc they are continuing to wreak on the sidewalks.
The CCEA has chosen the tree trimmer well. From what I heard, the same one used to trim many Ficus trees in other parts of downtown. I admire their precise craftsmanship and careful selection of branches deleted while still maintaining a full crown. It is an art form I believe- knowing which branches to cut and which to save-like giant bonsai. I’m so glad that this did not happen.
One of the primary beneficial outcomes of these trees being trimmed is public safety. The trees, before being trimmed, were so large that they were blocking out almost all the street lights at night (the functioning ones that is). From 5th St. south to 7th are some of the highest concentrations of people in all of Skid Row, with many large groupings of mostly men hanging out under the trees at night. Perfect gentlemen they have all been to me I might add, with only one exception (hey, there are jerks everywhere, this is not a knock on Skid Row folks who are by far the friendliest in all of LA) but speaking as a woman, I did not feel completely safe walking down San Pedro after dark under these trees. Unless you live in the immediate vicinity, or are coming here at night to get your goodies (What? Please. If you don’t know what I’m talkin’ about you’d better ask somebody) chances are these overgrown trees would not affect you either way- but as someone who lives here, I can testify that this is a welcome improvement.
Now- the light at night is filtering through the branches. Much better. Much safer.