Embrace Occidental College

Eagle Rock is very proud to be home to the humble and increasingly well-known Occidental College, or Oxy as it is known among the college’s students and locals. The sign that welcomes people at our town’s eastern end, at the  intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Wiota Street, reads “Eagle Rock, Founded 1911. Home of Occidental College”. Every year when Occidental College starts the Fall semester a banner hangs at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Eagle Rock Boulevard that welcomes Oxy students back to Eagle Rock. These are literally signs of the affection and positive relationship fostered between the College and Eagle Rock.

There is no doubt that Occidental College has had a positive impact on our community, and that Eagle Rock has been good to Oxy. Though perhaps Eagle Rock can be more welcoming to Occidental College, particularly to its students, and equally benefit to the community at large through ways that embody the messages we put on our welcome sign and the banner that hangs over our town’s major intersection.

While Eagle Rock has always been home to a handful of Oxy students, about 60% of the school’s students are not from California, which demonstrates quite clearly many students are seeing Eagle Rock for the first time. Eagle Rock being the lovely and cool neighborhood that it is is definitely worth exploring, but is our community accessible and inviting to the many car-free college students who’ve never been here before? Our residential streets are typically relaxing and nice to walk along, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of our car-centric commercial corridors– which is a shame because that’s where our local businesses are! But things can change, for the better.

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Some Thoughts on Outdated Bikeway Designs

(This is a non-Eagle Rock specific post mostly consisting of thoughts on bicycle infrastructure design standards that dictate bikeway design in Los Angeles)

When bicycling on the streets of Los Angeles I am expected to ‘share the road’ with motorists. On quiet residential streets this is rarely an issue, cars seldom go above 20 miles per hour. But even on residential streets there is the occasional pressure to speed up or move aside when a motor vehicle approaches from behind. However, residential streets are pretty manageable and subjectively safe for myself, and the many people I see who simply enjoy to go for a ride around the block. Intersections are not an issue either as residential streets are usually narrow with little traffic.

However, the comfort utilitarian and recreational bicyclists feel on residential streets quickly disappears when traveling on major, commercial streets. One of the biggest hindrances to people choosing the bicycle for travel is how dangerous larger streets with greater amounts of traffic feel.

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Can Separated Bike Lanes Save Colorado Boulevard?

Colorado Boulevard, the commercial center of Eagle Rock, will undergo a transformation if the initiative Take Back The Boulevard can maintain the momentum it is experiencing at the moment. A lot of ideas about how to improve the boulevard are being circulated– everything from angled parking to sidewalk extensions, to increased greenery, to bike lanes, and more! Just the other day Eastsider shared the idea of reversed angle in parking as solution.

While there are many popular ideas, I feel that it is important to reflect on the mission of this worthy effort to reclaim our main street from the dangerous freeway it currently resembles. Take Back The Boulevard seeks to transform Colorado Boulevard into a safe, sustainable, and vibrant street in order to stimulate economic growth, increase public safety and enhance community pride. Given that we cannot accommodate all the possible ideas being discussed due to limited space on the street I would like to share why I believe a solution that includes protected bike lanes, also known as cycle tracks, could fulfill as many of the desires of this initiative and is perhaps the most promising solution available.

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Flooding on the Streets of Eagle Rock

I have only been back in Eagle Rock for one day and already my visit starts with a splash!

Unfortunately Eagle Rock, along with the rest of Los Angeles, isn’t very well equipped for rain. The streets, aside from being poorly maintained and excessively wide, are made even more dangerous and inconvenient when it rains due to poor flood control.

Not the worst puddle in Eagle Rock, but still inconvenient

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A Look at Cycling in Malmo, Sweden

Recently my father took some pictures of bike infrastructure in Malmo, Sweden at my request. Malmo, along with neighboring city Lund, has some of the highest cycling rates in all of Sweden. Both of these cities are close to a cycling city a little more well-known, Copenhagen

Here’s some of what is offered for cyclists in Malmo, courtesy of my father:

Tree lined bike path by the central station

Biking shirtless with sandals, probably came back from the beach.

Even at intersections cyclists have some separation from cars

Very pretty bike parking area

Some of the bike parking by central station.

Bike parking at night…

Bike/Ped path

Cobblestone street reduces speed

Bike racks that keep bikes upright.

Tree lined bike path, separated from sidewalk and car lanes.

Walking path along the docks

While we see car access, parking-lots, stripmalls and the like as normal parts of city life – after all, we live in LA – this is not necessary. This kind of streetscape and bike mode-share can happen anywhere.

A More Pedestrian and Bike Friendly Yosemite Drive: Part 1

I hope to add a part two, perhaps part three in this series of ‘How to improve Yosemite Drive’.

Just a Note: In my posts where I re-imagine streets explaining the current situation always sounds similar, LA has long favored private car transportation over any other kind of travel and to no surprise, the streets reflect this car love. What we are constantly faced with day in and day out are streets that more resemble race tracks and anyone daring to cross a street or just get close better be careful. I know it can take a lot to change habits and standards,  but these kind of posts are fun ways to imagine “what if”. This isn’t quite escapism, I just want to show how there are several ways we can reconfigure our otherwise “one size fits all” way of making streets. Having said that…. enjoy!

Dear Readers,
I have recently been interested in obsessed with re-imagining our streets as a better place to walk and bike, but can you blame me? One would think that will so much packed into The Rock we wouldn’t have such a massive reliance on cars but we do! The furthest distance anyone needs to travel in our town, from end to end, is about 3.5 miles (this is the approximate distance from Delevan Elementary to Eagle Rock Park). This is the absolute longest distance any single one-way trip can be in Eagle Rock taking a direct route. Why are the majority of trips still made by car?

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