by David Lewis III
Readers be forewarned! The newsletter may be expanding or shrinking in size and content this year. We need enough ads for the newsletter to roughly pay for itself, e.g., a four-page newsletter needs about a page of ads. If there are more ads than this, we have to go to an eight-page or twelve-page newsletter due to the way the newsletter is printed (a multiple of 4 pages), so be prepared for some longer newsletters. We also have upcoming elections for City Council, and hope to include information on the candidates’ platforms, and records, some charming photos of the candidates, and other articles of interest about the elections. That is why the OMVNA newsletter may be like an accordion this year. We owe a huge debt of thanks to our new editor, Sally Porush, for managing all this.
While our Vice Chair, Robert Cox, is keeping us informed of the changes in ongoing construction projects in Old Mountain View, there are some other points of interest. Recently, some friends mentioned the large trees that make Mountain View so unique, and wondered about the rules for cutting down these heritage trees. You can look at the City codes to find out how protected these trees are. They also wondered about the trees along our streets in the planting strips. Some blocks have only one kind of tree, while others have a hodgepodge. I learned some interesting facts from Mr. Jakob Trconic of the Parks Department. Blocks with the same trees everywhere were typically developments, all built at one time. If some of these trees die subsequently, the city then offers the resident a choice of trees in an effort to work with the aesthetic wishes of the homeowner, but requires trees with desirable root systems, disease resistance and suitable for the climate in Mountain View. That is the reason why some streets have only one variety of trees while others have several. The City is allowing us to preserve the eclectic nature of Mountain View, by not imposing standardized street trees on everyone, as the developers do.
You may have noticed all the construction work on El Camino and Shoreline recently, rebuilding the sidewalks. This was done by the City to keep the large street trees on these roads alive and healthy by enlarging the underground space (tree well), allowing more room for water to get to the roots, by eliminating bothersome roots, and “lifting” the sidewalk to provide more room for shallow-rooted trees. In addition, unsafe areas of sidewalk were replaced and improved for pedestrian safety. On Shoreline, all but one of our many wonderful Magnolias was saved from perishing from cramped root space. If you’re one of those with new street trees from the City, try to take care of them. The City only has one water truck and depends on residents’ watering systems for the newly-planted trees. If there is no system in place, the lone water truck is used. A new tree can take 10 gallons of water a week until it’s established, so do your part if necessary! Help preserve the unique character of Mountain View, a city that takes pride in and care of its trees.