Hundreds of years old, the tree is a defining symbol in the city and of the University. Locals there are fighting to make sure the proposed high speed rail line steers clear.
"The tree stands within 10 feet of existing Caltrain tracks between the Menlo Park and Palo Alto stations, with commuter trains passing by 90 times every weekday. Initial plans by the California High-Speed Rail Authority called for widening the tracks to accommodate the new rail line, which would put the tree in jeopardy. Proposed alternatives included a trench or raised track.
To be sure, critics cite many reasons for their opposition, including the costs. But in Palo Alto and neighboring communities, the tree has become a budding symbol for why high-speed rail - approved by a majority of the state's voters in 2008 - needs to be evaluated carefully."