Echo Park resident Josh Post contributed a great article in the most recent issue of EPIAn Ways, as well as organizing a cleanup of Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park. Read his full article below, and mark your calendars for Saturday, November 5 from 9:00 am – noon. Click here for the flyer!
Call 911! A street in need of life support.
The portion of Glendale Boulevard that spans from the end of the 2 Freeway through Echo Park was once a thriving thoroughfare. Now, the corridor is blighted to the point where commuters are afraid to take even the slightest detour on their way to downtown, unaware that just blocks from this untended street lies fantastic restaurants, coffee spots, boutiques and art galleries of Echo Park and Silver Lake. The time is now to revive this area.
This corridor of Glendale Boulevard through Echo Park and into downtown has a rich history. In the early 1900s, the area, then known as Edendale, was home to silent movie studios, rail travel and a large artist community.
This district today is an unremarkable, to say the least, zone called the “Glendale Boulevard Corridor” known mostly for its function as a commuter thoroughfare between the southern end of the 2 Freeway and downtown Los Angeles.
If you walk down the sidewalks of Glendale Boulevard today, particularly the same area that was booming with silent film studios from Berkeley Avenue to Duane Street, you will see what I describe as a “dead zone.” Trash clutters sidewalks, graffiti adorns dilapidated/empty warehouses, overgrown empty lots sit litter-filled behind chain-linked fencing and not one tree is planted along this four-block stretch. The area has become the antithesis of “urban renewal.”
Unfortunately, this “dead zone” is the only part of Echo Park and Silver Lake that thousands of commuters see each day. After exiting the 2 Freeway traveling to downtown, commuters won’t dare stray into the nearby neighborhoods. Instead, drivers travel with tunnel vision hoping to leave the area as soon as possible for fear that the “dead zone” is as dangerous as it is ugly.
Fortunately, for those of us who live and work in Echo Park and Silver Lake, we know there is more allure in the areas adjacent to the boulevard than meets the eye. However, as in life, it makes it extremely difficult to thrive and remain healthy when our main artery is terminally corroded. Instead of throwing up our hands, imagine a thriving Glendale Boulevard with art galleries, coffee spots, green space and, perhaps, even a silent movie theatre to pay homage to the corridor’s history. Now, imagine how beautifying Glendale Boulevard would benefit not only the Boulevard, but also the entire area from Silver Lake to Elysian Park and Echo Park to Historic Filipino Town. The point is not that we need to placate the commuters. We need to do this for our own well being.
The time is now to make it happen. Let’s make this “Gateway to Echo Park/Silver Lake” into a zone that truly represents what the area has to offer. While this area from Berkeley Avenue to the 2 Freeway will not be transformed over night, we are starting with a trash pick-up / clean-up day on Saturday November 5, 2011 from 9:00 am to noon. The initial phase will consist of trash pick-ups and graffiti removal. It is then my hope that outreach and community awareness will lead to future tree plantings, revitalization and eventually to a clean, green, inviting boulevard of which we can be proud.
Stay tuned for more details regarding the upcoming clean-up day and/or contact Echo Park resident Josh Post at firstname.lastname@example.org
This event is sponsored by CD13.