Sep 14 2012
The California Science Center (CSC) in South Los Angeles will soon be home to the newly retired space shuttle, Endeavor. Throughout its 25 missions over twenty years, the shuttle has circumnavigated the globe roughly 4,600 times. After reaching its destination in LA on September 20th, the Endeavor will travel from LAX to the California Science Center in a much anticipated two-day procession on October 12th.
With a width of 78 feet, and a height of roughly 50 feet, engineers are voicing some logistical concerns about transporting the shuttle through the city. A number of methods and routes were considered but were ruled out for various reasons including fear of damaging tiles on the craft, weight issues associated with airlifting the craft and height constrictions in traveling under freeway overpasses. As a result, officials have decided on a path from LAX through South Los Angeles and Inglewood, going from Manchester Blvd to Crenshaw Drive with the final leg of the journey along MLK Jr. Blvd. Inglewood mayor, James Butts, has said, “space exploration events are like the Olympics; everyone just feels good.”
However, not everyone is equally ecstatic. In preparation for the shuttle’s arrival, the City has started removing nearly 400, 60 year old trees from Inglewood and South LA in order to allow for the enormous width of the Endeavor to maneuver through the streets. In addition, power lines and traffic lights are to be temporarily relocated. Although the Science Center has promised to replant two trees for every one cut down along the procession’s path – a pledge which is estimated to cost between $2 to $3 million dollars, many local residents have voiced their outrage. Journalist, Erin Aubry Kaplan, a resident of the area, astutely noted that “it’s hard to imagine other, more affluent neighborhoods agreeing to the barbarity of having…their trees annihilated in order to move something.” Activists are planning to push for a moratorium on tree removal on Monday, Sept 17 at 9:30 a.m. at the Board of Public Works in City Hall, Room 350.
GUEST: Erin Aubry Kaplan, a Los Angeles based journalist, who has worked for the LA Times, the LA Weekly, and other publications. She is the author of Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches From a Black Journalista
Click here to read Erin Aubry Kaplan’s article.