Right after the sexual assault incident in last May near the Metro entrance, there was an outcry among the local residents on what to do to prevent such incident again in future. Some suggested to have a ‘neighbor escorting service’ to take riders to their homes, especially after the dark. Some talked about installing security cameras at the entrance of Metro – a move that very few thought was happening in near future. Others discussed having a blue light telephone system at the 53rd / Lackawanna intersection – the prospect of this realizing seemed better than that of cameras at the entrance.
Others advocated a cleaner, transparent area near the Metro entrance,e specially on the south side of the Hollywood Park. Some even went further discussing to have a community garden around the area. I hope to have another discussion on this idea sometime in future.
The City did (at least tried to do) its part too. They called (or rather summoned?) folks from the Metro in its June meeting and talked about stuff like cameras and cleanup at the entrance. Metro responded with some moves. Though the idea of having cameras are still in the air, their police department, Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) released a sketch of the suspect in the sexual assault incident. They also agreed to cleanup brushes in and around the area.
That cleanup finally happened last week, please see the pictures above.
The brush cleanup however has caused some concerns among the local residents. According to them, Metro’s cleanup was too aggressive and has probably destroyed the small stream that runs near the brushes. One resident who lives on a nearby street complained: “To me it shows the continued irresponsibility that metro is so good at. There are a number of problems with what they did. They removed the entire stream buffer which has increased the sediment in the stream, has decreased the shading of the stream, removed any remaining pollution removal capacity of the buffer, and removed any habitat that remained there.”
The resident was also concerned about the wildlife in that stream – “ I have spent many hours walking down there with my girls. We have seen turtles (that are apparently reproducing as I found a baby recently), muskrat, frogs, ducks, beaver, great blue heron, and even a juvenile black crowned night heron. Clearly local wildlife had been clinging onto this little stream.”
Other residents aren’t so appreciative also. “this sounds like a typical knee-jerk response to “safety concerns”. A good, strong neighborhood watch would be infinitely more effective than clearing critical urban habitat.” – said another resident.
Could Metro do a better job in balancing safety concerns against protecting environment? What’s your thought?