Since 1972, the city of Vista has discussed widening Melrose Drive from two lanes to six lanes from California 78 to Rancho Santa Fe Road. And, from the start, there was dissent within the community; the widening meant the removal of a couple of dozen black pine trees, each 50 years or older, that lined the street from Hacienda Drive to Matagual Drive.
The street widening was stalled for years for lack of financing, but the work has now begun, with the recent relocation of underground utility lines and other preparatory work.
And, on Friday, the last of the remaining black pines--those that hadn't succumbed to disease over the years--was removed.
"We promised we'd plant a new row of trees," said Mayor Gloria McClellan, "but nothing will ever replace those black pines."
But Melrose, at least, will be six lanes wide by the end of the year.