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Caltrans Cleans Up Roadside Woodlands

June 2014 the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council heard a presentation by Caltrans Deputy District Director of Maintenance, Deborah Wong on her plan to remove trees infested with the bark beetle along the 118 freeway in Porter Ranch. Read the 2014 Plan. The plan included replacing the trees with drought tolerant trees to restore our roadside woodlands and to replace a broken irrigation line.

We followed up with Ms. Wong for an update on the project. She reports that about 75% of the trees have been removed, and more are slated for removal. In light of the drought and the Governor's water reduction mandate, Caltrans has suspended all new plantings, since plant establishment requires frequent watering. Planting efforts will likely resume when the Governor lifts the ban.

The irrigation project is moving forward and the work has been awarded. In fact, due to the drought and extensive leaky pipes, Caltrans is pursuing replacing all irrigation over 15 years of age in the Los Angeles and Ventura County areas with new systems in an emergency project. The new systems will include state of the art sensors that take into consideration the types of plantings, dew levels, and whether the plants are getting established or are established to determine the amount of watering to be done. Of course if it is raining, they will turn off on their own. Porter Ranch will be part of these overall replacement projects as our system is over 15 years old. Our part of the project should start this fall once the contractor has been checked out for bonding, licensing, and other city requirements.

Wong also reports that dead brush has been removed along the freeway and mulching is a way to keep the dry slopes from eroding and maintain moisture in the soil. Further, Caltrans has a mandate to mitigate debris and pollution entering stormwater runoff and the mulch complies with that effort.

In related news, PRNC Board Member Alex Kim has been working on requesting clean up of trash along the 118 freeway and off ramps. He took a field trip to inspect the off ramps in our area with Victoria Saldivar of DOT. Mr. Kim characterizes the ramp landscaping as reminiscent of a third world country. Ms. Saldivar reports that her crews have been focused on brush removal in the mainline road area and have not been able to tend to the ramps recently. She has worked out a schedule for September, shown below, when crews will be on hand to remove trash, clear dead brush, and trim existing shrubs.

Regarding street sweeping, we are pleased to report that sweepers went through at the end of July and normally sweep the right shoulder monthly. Should you have a non-emergency service request for Caltrans along the 118, such as for trash, graffiti, fence repairs, or road issues, you may submit it using their Service Request Online Form.

At the August meeting of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council there was a discussion about exploring the possibility of some local businesses and organizations adopting the 118 in Porter Ranch. Board member Sean O'Rourke will be exploring next steps in that process.

September 2015 Ramp Clean Up Schedule:

1st= W118 Balboa on ramp

2nd= W118 Reseda on ramp

3rd= W118 Tampa on ramp

8th= W118 Porter Ranch on ramp

9th= E118 Porter Ranch on ramp

10th=E118 Reseda on ramp

14th= E118 Tampa on ramp

15th= E118 Balboa straight on ramp

16th= E118 Balboa circle on ramp

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The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council is an organization that is officially certified by the City of Los Angeles to increase our influence with City lawmakers and departments to improve our community.

The PRNC came about as a result of Los Angeles City Charter Reform and interested stakeholders in our community. The Board is elected by stakeholders and holds monthly meetings, usually on the first Wednesday of the month. The agenda is emailed to those who subscribe (see the green box in the upper corner), on our website here and posted at 11280 Corbin Avenue, Northridge, CA 91326 on a bulletin board facing Corbin street.

The Board is comprised of volunteers who want to help you make Porter Ranch a better place to live, work and grow. We can't do it for you, but we can do it with you.

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