Overlooking where the 134 and 2 freeways tie together– Downtown LA is visible off in the distance.
It may be hard to imagine today, but there was a time when freeways didn’t cut through Northeast LA. The land occupied by freeways today was not undeveloped: homes had to be demolished, hillsides flatted, streets removed altogether to make way for the massive automobile infrastructure that encircles the neighborhood. Large parts of Northeast LA were erased for freeways – lost in the name of progress – leaving residents with little more than memories of a pre-freeway Northeast LA, memories which will fade as those who lived through local freeway construction continue to age and become a smaller portion of the population. Old photos and local newspapers from the area documented freeway construction in Northeast LA, but there is little physical evidence one can encounter today that shows signs of the past; things were either destroyed or preserved–very few parts of the urban landscape were only partially destroyed for the freeways.
Maps offer good indications of how things used to be; looking at a map, one can see streets currently bisected by freeways, mentally “connect the dots,” and visualize how the streets used to run uninterrupted before the freeways arrived. However, every now and then, if one looks closely, one will notice subtle hints in the urban landscape – in addition to what maps and street names offer – from the time before freeways came to Northeast LA. In northern part of Glassell Park, close to the neighborhood’s border with the city of Glendale, there is a fascinating hint of the past, which now sits as a scar from the 2 Freeway’s destructive path through the neighborhood.
Back in Eagle Rock for a brief visit and Friday, my first day back, I was greeted with many positive sights, making me optimistic for a safer, livelier, more active, and more pleasant neighborhood environment. Here’s what I saw:
Just five minutes into my walk and I saw some kids with active transportation: skateboard and bicycle
I often mention how much I enjoy Spitz, if not on this blog, on twitter, or in person. An excellent restaurant and considered ‘healthy fast food‘. I absolutely love ‘not unhappy hour’, the veg sandwich, and the streetcart fries. I also declared Spitz as the restaurant with the best outdoor seating in Eagle Rock. When I visited Eagle Rock last week Spitz renewed and secured their title as I discovered that they made their exterior more pleasant. Here are some pictures
Greater physical and visual separation from parked cars for a nicer dining experience
Small touch yet still appreciated
Festive lighting for evening crowd
Spitz, you have outdone yourself, bravo!
I have enjoyed relaxing for most of this Saturday, taking things real slow as opposed to the school week where I only have seconds to spare. So how do I spend downtime? Walking to the market to pick up some fruits and veggies, catching up on blogs I read, writing emails, and of course watch a little bit of ‘The Office’ for a few laughs. Why do I mention this? Well, as I was watching the episode ‘Sabre’ from season six I noticed something as characters Jim and Pam were at a daycare center, hoping to secure a spot for their soon to come baby. The location looked a little familiar…
The address atop is 2030…
At 2030 Colorado Boulevard we have…
An other clue was here
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!
This crossing light has a long wait time
Today NATS (Not A Through Street) brings us to Casper Ave, a small, out of place street. It is parallel to Eagle Rock Boulevard and perpendicular to Colorado Boulevard, the life of Eagle Rock. Casper Ave is a short street, an especially short street running about a third of a mile from end to end, around 1780 feet long. This little street holds title as the only street that interrupts Las Flores Ave between Sumner Ave and Townsend Ave, a title I wish it did not have. Las Flores would be an excellent candidate for a bicycle boulevard conversion, if it continued through Casper. Between Figueroa Street and Live Oak View Ave, Casper is also the only street perpendicular to Colorado Boulevard from the North which does NOT connect to Hill Drive. These are the things that distinguish Casper Ave before exploring it as a NATS, so lets take a closer look.
Although Eagle Rock has historically been a suburban community of Los Angeles, it does not conform to horrid images of suburbs that may imply Eagle Rock is a sterile cookie cutter community. Perhaps this is partially because Eagle Rock was primarily developed as a streetcar community and was its own city for a bit over a decade, from 1911 to 1923.
However Eagle Rock remains suburban is certain respects nonetheless and because of this it is not uncommon to see a street sign reading “Not A Through Street” in the neighborhood. These streets are obviously of no interest to people unless they live there. It is for this reason that I am interested in these ‘NATS’ (acronym of Not A Through Street) as I will affectionately refer to them. What exactly is at the end of these not through streets? What is the unique character and feel adopted?