Phase One of the Expo Line was landscaped with non-native plants and now the Expo Board may be voting as early as 2:30 today to decide if they will change course and plant them along Phase Two.
Native plant expert Lisa Novick makes a compelling case for their use in this recent Huffington Post blog, writing,
"To all members of the MTA and Expo Authority: Don't repeat the landscaping mistakes of phase one of the Expo Line. We have to do better. Here in Los Angeles, we should model the kind of urban and suburban practices that are needed planet-wide."
Novick encourages anyone concerned about this issue to sign a petition at www.lanative.org.
You can also email Expo Board members directly.
Here is what the folks at Light Rail for Cheviot had to say in an email they sent to their mailing list today.
"The landscaping of the Expo Line, planned as a Transit Parkway, presents a perfect opportunity to create a green corridor of native habitat through the Westside. Native plants require no fertilizer; irrigation can be decreased over time; and natives require less ongoing maintenance, making this a cost-effective solution. This corridor would provide a vital strip of habitat for birds and butterflies and a welcome respite from the city for adjacent human residents. It would also serve as a public education showpiece of our native plant varieties. As the corridor passes adjacent to our neighborhoods, we will be able to experience the spring blooms of the California lilacs, the year-round scent of California sages, and the sounds of life as birds and bees visit. Walking or biking on the path associated with the Expo Line will be like a hike in the mountains, but it will be so much more accessible.
The use of native plants on the Expo Line Right of Way also coordinates with the Department of Sanitation proposal for the Expo Greenway between Overland Avenue and Westwood Boulevard in the middle of our neighborhoods. This park will include native plants and a stream in the Los Angeles City land next to the Right of Way, and continuing the natives on the Expo land makes sense. It also coordinates with the existing planting on the Sara Berman Greenway which includes native Oaks, Sycamores, and Toyons.
A corridor of native plantings adjacent to the Line would be an asset to the project. We commend LA Native for spearheading this effort which is of benefit to our immediate neighborhoods as well as other communities along the Line. They have received endorsements from Palms Neighborhood Council, Westside Neighborhood Council, Mar Vista Neighborhood Council, South Robertson Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles CD-11 Transportation Advisory Council, Theodore Payne Foundation, California Native Plant Society, Los Angeles Audubon Society, Sierra Club West Los Angeles Group, and others."
If you want your voice to be heard, make sure to sign the petition and email the Expo Board members today!
Rendering of the Expo Greenway from the Bureau of Sanitation's Watershed Protection Division's Concept Document