Westdale Avenue is one of Eagle Rock’s shorter streets, only about a quarter of a mile long according to Google Maps. The street is bisected by Eagle Rock Boulevard, cut into two distinctive sections.
Westdale Avenue as seen from Google Maps. Image credit: Google Maps
Two blocks east of Eagle Rock Boulevard, Westdale Avenue terminates by Occidental College where the street meets with Campus Road. Many residents in the area have probably traversed at least part of this section of the street between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Campus Road– perhaps to reach Oxy or to get onto or off of Eagle Rock Boulevard.
Westdale Avenue, “Not A Through Street”
The western portion is an unassuming a cul-de-sac, as signified by a “Not A Through Street” sign placed where the street intersects with Eagle Rock Boulevard, one block before the street terminates. Oddly, Westdale holds the distinction of being the only street in Eagle Rock that ends in a cul-de-sac one block immediately west of Eagle Rock Boulevard. Most streets that intersect with Eagle Rock Boulevard connect to Ellenwood Drive, if heading west. But what does this part of Westdale really look like? What is this unique cul-de-sac like in person, beyond what a Google Map street view tour can provide?
I find myself increasingly fascinated with the alleys of Eagle Rock. They are not so numerous but there are definitely enough of them for me to notice. Lately I have thought that if slightly reconfigured, some of Eagle Rock’s alleys can resemble Dutch bicycle streets. Dutch bicycle streets are narrow roads where cars and bikes share but cars are not allowed to pass cyclists and must go slow, partially because the conditions cannot accommodate speed. Sometimes there are diverters but most importantly the streets are often too slow and too narrow for a car to use it to bypass traffic. Bicycle streets are also frequently residential streets and perhaps more relatable to the Bicycle Boulevard concept pioneered in cities like Portland and Berkeley. If some of Eagle Rock’s alleys/parking lots were converted to Bicycle Streets I think cycling would be even more attractive in this town.
This being Eagle Rock, I spotted two friends while filming so you will hear me say ‘hey’ twice. Once to the banana-man and then again to a dark clad guy in the Super A parking lot. Throughout this day I also saw my ERHS counselor, a former classmate in his car, and was treated very kindly by the staff at Corner Pizzeria upon my first visit (I didn’t order anything, the friend I was with did). It is this kind of interaction I have while cycling or walking that can never be rivaled by car travel and leaves me confident that Eagle Rock remains a small town despite its spike in popularity.
In this video I mostly go through parking lots, but the feel is still very much like an alley. I also find myself thinking at times if we don’t stop the additions of surface parking lots, or amend parking requirements, perhaps parking can be planned so that a bike path is fit in. And if a street is completely lined with parking, it would be nice if there were a safe, direct path for cyclists to take like in this video.
Eagle Rock truly is a great neighborhood to live in, but we already know that. Thinking of parks specifically, we have Eagle Rock Park and the physical Eagle Rock Trail Park anchoring our Northeast end, a couple of the neighborhood’s most recognizable icons. Then on Yosemite Drive we have the popular Yosemite Park and its pool which is so loved during the summer months. There’s even the Lanark Shelby Park by the Eagle Rock/Pasadena border, just east of Figueroa, that is home to a community garden. Not bad for our little town.
I like to think we have room to accommodate more parks in our neighborhood though. Today I have a location picked out very close to Yosemite Park but would be a welcomed addition nonetheless I do believe. So where exactly is this potential park exactly? Let’s have a map answer first.
Hopefully we all know where this is. The land in question is represented by the blue line between Lida Rosa and Fair Park.
There’s a bit of an 80′s invasion in today’s installment of ‘Alleys Rock!’ but perhaps I have already said too much, too early, let’s zoom out…
View of the alley from Glacier Drive. The left corner is where a more popular alley is.
Today’s alley is nestled between Glacier Drive, Oak Grove Drive, and Ruth Avenue. It’s one of the shorter alleys, only spanning about 145 feet. Obscuring it, and likely making it more neglected than most alleys is not only the short length, but also its location: adjacent to a ‘Not a Through Street’ (better known as NATS!) part of Ruth Avenue and a curved section of Glacier Drive, and parallel to Yosemite Drive. This alley is even eclipsed by a neighboring alley which is far more visible!
Alleys are typically stereotyped as dangerous due to their lack of visibility and traffic. Until I started getting an itch to explore every single corner of Eagle Rock, I was unaware of how many alleys we actually have. There are a couple bloggers who sparked my interest in alleys with their fondness of these often lonesome paths so here is my take in a segment I have named “Alleys Rock!” In this segment I want to reverse the common perspective that alleys are either dangerous or useless. They are quite fun to explore and while an alley may be bare at first glance, it might have something to show upon closer inspection.