Recap: Urban planning workshop brings over 40 residents to “Rethink Glendale Boulevard”

by Josh Post

I recently teamed up with urban planner James Rojas and to organize a community workshop to “Rethink Glendale Blvd.” The workshop followed a neighborhood clean-up I spearheaded with Echo Park Improvement Association in November to raise awareness for the need to beautify Glendale Blvd., a car-clogged corridor one block from my home in Echo Park.

When planning the workshop, I had reviewed Rojas’s techniques by searching online for articles and YouTube clips. The clips were great, but I had no idea just how special our workshop would be.
On January 14, 2012, between 40 and 50 people crowded into Echo Country Outpost on Glendale Blvd. (at the corner of Branden St.). The idea was for adults and children alike to join together using colorful blocks and recycled objects to create small-scale models of their visions toward a revitalized Glendale Blvd.


Get the flash player here:

An overarching theme from the workshop was creating a more community-friendly zone. Participants built small models featuring bike paths, green space, sculpture parks and historic preservation. Other, more detailed ideas, included building a park-and-ride lot at the end of the 2 Freeway and using light rail or a trolley car on Glendale Blvd. from Silver Lake into downtown. Another idea was to make Glendale Blvd. one-way while utilizing a large portion of the existing road for bike lines and green space.

The ideas were extremely creative, yet practical. And, not to diminish the smart and able folks inside Los Angeles City Hall, but what we saw at the workshop likely could not have been replicated in a bureaucratic board room. The workshop produced real-life ideas from people who live and breathe Glendale Blvd. every day. And, in my opinion, the ideas were exceptional and innovative.

The workshop was an incredible example of the good that can come from giving community members a voice. This same premise was what motivated me recently to file papers to run for Los Angeles City Council in the 13th District. We have to reduce bureaucracy and utilize our city’s most valuable resource—our community members—when it comes to our city planning and functionality. This is going to be the focus of my campaign. And it applies to all areas in city governance, ranging from improving small business policy to finding more effective and efficient ways to clean and repair our streets and sidewalks.

As was evident at the Rethinking Glendale Blvd. workshop, we are all hungry for “a sense of community.” And, after hearing from the workshop attendees about self-sustained neighborhoods and walkable communities, I know it’s possible. The first step may be simply listening to our neighbors.

The Planning Lady: Preliminary Redistricting Maps made available

by Christine Peters

After many weeks of deliberating and holding public hearings, the volunteer Redistricting Commission has revealed its recommendation for the new boundaries for our city’s 15 Council Districts.

The Commission is tasked every ten years with redrawing the boundaries to balance population and demographics amongst the 15 Districts. In the last Census cycle, population in the Urban Core reduced significantly, while population growth in the Valley grew.

What does this mean for the Echo Park/Elysian Park area? Well, very little so far. At the center of the “Urban Core” area needing to take on population, Echo Park is currently divided between CD1 and CD13, currently helmed by Councilman’s Ed P. Reyes and Eric Garcetti, respectively. Both Councilman are termed out due to 12 year term limits, and leave an opportunity for hopefuls who live in the Districts, or ones who conveniently move into the districts, to vie for the council seat.

The recommended maps did not change the boundaries in our area, but did suggest moving CD13 further north into most of Glassell Park, while losing a portion of Silver Lake by the Silver Lake reservoir to CD4, currently represented by Tom LaBonge. LaBonge meanwhile could stand to lose a significant portion of his Hollywood outposts, Hancock Park, and the Wilshire District as the maps recommend moving CD4 further into the Valley. CD1 loses a gem in Debs Park, but gains a significant stronghold in Mt. Washington.

Screenshot from the LA Times website

What does all of this mean? Well it means five weeks of public comment and more input before the maps are fine tuned and submitted to the City Council for final approval. Then, the real fun begins!! Incumbent Council members who are not termed out will jockey to keep what they consider “theirs.” Bill Rosendahl has already thrown down the gauntlet to keep LAX and Westchester amongst his neighborhoods, and Bernard Parks is adamant about keeping Baldwin Hills.
Termed out Council members may try and fight to preserve the District as they know it for various reasons: Some as simple as “nostalgia” or historic boundaries, and others to pave the path for their endorsed replacement. This, oddly, could mean pushing to change or expand the boundaries to accommodate that successor who may live out of the current district, or may need a different voter demographic to get elected. Others will just wait for the maps to be finalized and move into whichever district they think will “go their way.” It’s called politics for a reason!

So tune in for more “musical chairs”, as the elected push and pull to hold on to what they had, or what they perceive as a bonus to their newly redrawn boundaries.

Click here to download the map PDF of the proposed redistricting.


There are two meetings coming up regarding the redistricting recommendations:

Downtown Region
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Los Angeles City Hall
John Ferraro Council Chambers
200 N. Spring Street, Room 340, Los Angeles, CA 90012

East Region
Monday, February 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Occidental College, Thorne Hall
1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, CA 90041

EPIAn Ways: April-May 2011

The April-May 2011 EPIAn Ways is ready for download!

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EPIAn Ways: May-July 2010

The May-July 2010 EPIAn Ways is ready for download!

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