In this post I say “path” and “loop” a lot, here is how I define them:
Path- wide, paved road that run through the park for pedestrians
Loop- anything that runs in a cycle, not necessarily a circle shape.
This post comes after riding some nice park trails in East SF Bay Area where parks (from my experience) have wide paths that allow pedestrians and bicyclists to share the same path without conflict. Granted my knowledge of LA parks is limited, but as far as Eagle Rock is concerned, the two major parks it does have – Yosemite and Eagle Rock Park – are not very considerate of recreational bicycling (or walking), at least compared to my experience in parks in Point Richmond, CA. In ER paths are often narrow, or go in a series of curves but with little notion of creating a “loop”. A loop, in my mind, should 1) run the perimeter of a park and 2) consist of a wide paved path that allows different types of users (such as bicyclists or other wheelers). This lack of holistic consideration in Eagle Rock Park is likely due to the equally low popularity of bicycling and walking in Los Angeles, poor planning, or negligence. I see this shortcoming however as an opportunity to get people active and enhance the opportunities and experiences one can enjoy at a park.
When I think “park in Eagle Rock”, I think “ playing basketball, playing tennis, playing handball, goofing in the playground, playing baseball or other ball sport on grass field, celebrating kids party and summer swimming”. All the activities that come to mind are energy intensive and truly have come to define an experience in our parks. But a park should also be a place where a person, family, or group of friends can relax and escape the madness modern life. I feel with the competitive spirit of all the sports we dedicate our parks to some of the serenity is lost. While I know a park can still be peaceful despite all the fierce ball sports, I feel multi-use paths should and could emphasize peacefulness.
I understand that space can be an issue as is the case with Lanark Shelby Park it simply doesn’t make sense to attempt any multi-use paths. However, certainly we could take the time to properly integrate wide multi-use in parks the size of Yosemite and Eagle Rock Park. Paths for people to push strollers, walk, jog, or bike in the community’s space dedicated to free people-powered recreation. How often do you hear someone saying “I’m going for a walk in the park” or “lets ride our bikes around the park” ? I feel these are relatively uncommon things to do, specifically in ER, because there is little in the way of accommodations for these activities.
Eagle Rock Park has much potential to strengthen its popularity and become a broader gathering place for locals with our own multi-use loop that isn’t the Rose Bowl. My dream is that with a proper integration, on any given evening a dozen Eagle Rockers can be seen at ER Park getting their exercise in while decompressing from the stressful city lives we lead with a walk or bike ride while feeling separate from the adrenaline fueled ball sports present. North of Colorado one could easily walk/jog/run/bike to Eagle Rock Park, take laps on a potential loop and go home in the same time it takes to drive to the Rose Bowl, do the same thing and come back while getting an equally effective workout. I say this haphazardly but many streets north of Colorado are nice enough to be even considered as part of the multi-use paths I would like to see in Eagle Rock Park.
Well if the streets north of Colorado are so nice why don’t the people just use those? The streets actually are used for jogging/biking, etc, especially Hill Drive but there is a certain benefit of a loop path in park that residential streets cannot provide to the same degree–
- Free of cars and unnecessary noise.
- You can go at own pace and not feel intimidated by external factors because people with same intention of walk/jog/bike/stroller pushing will mostly use the loop.
- It is easy to stop at any point and head back home.
- Parks have restrooms so if nature calls you don’t have to hurry home since the closest bathroom is just feet away.
- You can bring the kids or they can play on equipment while you take laps.
- Parks can also ideally provide shade.
These are just some of the “comforts” I enjoy when doing recreational walking or biking in Point Richmond and I feel ER Park can definitely provide the same.
So what would it take to integrate a multi-use path?
1) Create a route that utilizes the park space wisely, something that makes a loop and is as long as it can be within the park’s perimeters.
2) Officially designate the route with signage and a map showing all the ways one can go and still be on the multi-use path. Name the loops/sub loops if necessary. In conjunction to naming routes, signage can show how much of mile has been covered on a particular loop.
3) The work. Widen the areas that are too narrow for two to be side-by-side comfortably with room for someone to pass. The widest parts of ER Park meet this criteria and this approximate width is popular on loops/trails like the SF’s Bay Trails project. Beautifying areas around path would also be a nice detail.
If these three objectives/parts are met, ER Park could attract more locals, and wean the number of drives to the Rose Bowl. Most importantly, we can encourage a certain use for the park that is available to everyone. With the power of google maps and the distance indicator on mapmyrun I have taken the liberty to create my proposed route, which would run one mile. (More information about my map in the link)
Eagle Rock Park is privileged with more space than one might expect for our little suburb. New York Times ran an article saying the whole city Los Angeles lacks park amenities and the cityscape itself is our gym. This is certainly true. We do lack park space. However, I think we can easily enhance our parks to better serve communities with the park space we do have by implementing ideas such as multi-use park loops.
What passes for bike parking at ER Park, the rack isn't even bolted into the ground
these kind of barriers along certain parts of Eagle Vista to protect bike/peds could be a nice addition
If the barriers were moved a little further away this would be great fun to ride down on
widening the sidewalk along Eagle Vista would make it easy for bikes/peds to share when strolling around the park
Add a paved path alongside this dirt path?
Nice, wide paved path in the park. Easily can be shared by bikes/peds
This is my first post, so I must ask– What do you think? Everything is open for criticism and thanks for reading, your feedback is appreciated.
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