LA residents mad at loss of trees, parade

Oct. 5, 2012 at 10:42 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Residents of Los Angeles neighborhoods where hundreds of trees were cut down to bring the space shuttle through will not get to see it moved, police say.

The decision has angered many along the route where as many as 400 trees were removed to allow the spacecraft to be moved from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had promised "the mother of all parades" during the two days of the shuttle Endeavour's 2 mph commute, which had been scheduled to begin Oct. 16.

That parade has now been called off over concerns about security for the shuttle and the safety of parade-watchers.

Most sidewalks along the route will be closed off, the Los Angeles Police Department announced this week.

The shuttle, at 79 feet wide and 170,000 pounds, needs the full width of the roadway to pass safely, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said. At some places, the craft will be right at the curb.

Many residents said they feel short-changed by the change. The parade was viewed as a trade-off for the loss of the trees, some of which were 60 years old.

City officials now plan two shuttle "celebrations" along the route. One in Englewood can accommodate as many as 14,000 spectators, and another that includes a performance choreographed by dancer-actor Debbie Allen can handle 3,000.

Thousands more were expected to have been drawn to the now-canceled parade.

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