Today I went for a walk around town, something I have not had the opportunity to do lately for a variety of reasons. Most prominently, I twisted my ankle crossing the street about a month ago and I am just getting to the point where I can go with absolutely no pain during or after my walks.
A lovely Wednesday it was today, the weather almost ventured into the “too hot” category but stayed nice throughout with no sporadic changes in temperature, making for a smooth and cool transition into the evening.
3.78 miles according to Google
The initial intention of this walk was to snap pictures for an “Alleys Rock” segment but I ended up picking up a treat from Pete’s for frequent commenter, hippierunner, and I to share.
The starting point for this walk, Loleta Avenue/Oak Grove Drive. I walk down Oak Grove and appreciate the calmness of the street. I make this point often but by no means thoughtlessly, like a handful of other streets in ER, Oak Grove Drive could easily become a bicycle boulevard. It would be an especially convenient bike boulevard at that as students walking or biking to Eagle Rock High School could do so with ease and bypass the more hectic Yosemite Drive. As I toy with the thought I am lucky enough to actually cross a cyclist’s path.
A few minutes later I caught a skateboarder too, on the street, perhaps a testament to the calm, low traffic volumes Oak Grove has, further making the case for the street’s conversion to a bike boulevard.
Off in the distance, to the right
I turn North by Glacier Drive/Oak Grove Drive but instead of going onto Glacier, I take the alley running parallel to it. (I will save the pictures of this alley when I take a more detailed look on it in a separate segment of “Alleys Rock!”)
The alley is interrupted by Yosemite Drive and Neola Street. Beyond Neola the alley continues on until it meets a set of stairs which brings one up to Glacier Drive/Saginaw Street. As I transition from the stairs to Glacier I begin noticing charming little details.
The curb next to the stairs has been beautified and personalized with smooth stones inserted. From my limited experience I would say this is a unique sighting of anywhere. I have see custom mailboxes and street signs and street addresses, but an entire custom curb? Not until now!
Mosaic art in front of one residence
Looking East there are some nice, interesting, and undoubtedly unique views of Figueroa Street area.
More interesting details on homes
Found an empty soda can, and if I were in the mood I would bring it home to recycle it for cash, instead I opted to place it in the nearest blue bin.
When I reach Colorado all the peacefulness from where my walk started on Loleta Ave/Oak Grove Dr to the small portion Glacier Drive is lost. Cars zoom by and there is a significant drop in attractive aesthetics.
Crossing from South Colorado to the North side and continuing West lowers the pedestrian’s subjective/psychological safety as the island refuges are bare, and tiny in comparison to the space dedicated for cars traveling on Colorado as well as cars entering the 134 freeway. I personally did not really notice this before, but any area adjacent to a freeway entrance seems to have cars racing for the 65mph freeway speed limit before they are actually on the freeway. The cars not entering the freeway also decide to travel faster just because the surrounding cars are doing so. The on-ramp in this area is particularly long and there is no reason why cars shouldn’t slow down before they are on the on-ramp. Alongside other ‘radical’ pro bike and pedestrian tricks I wish to push upon the rest of Eagle Rock, I think it would be a good idea to have cars slow to speeds between 10 and 20 mph before getting on an on-ramp; this could be accomplished in the form of traffic calming devices such as curb extensions or round-a-bouts. It is awful enough that people have to live next to freeways, the on/off ramps should at least favor the pedestrians who frequent the area or live there. But I digress… Also not helping the pedestrian’s subjective safety are the chain-link fence and glass and other roadside debris that collect on the curbs or sidewalk.
Confusing location of sign
Can't imagine waiting for the bus here
Continuing, I pass the infamous housing project that never finished with an Occidental College sign on a street post. The immediate area does not give Eagle Rock a proper impression to first-timers.
Things that caught my attention on Colorado:
I guess dogs are a problem in this complex
Around Hartwick there are some signs rarely seen elsewhere in Eagle Rock, if at all
No parking of vehicles over 6ft
This is why the signage is necessary
Is this phone booth still in use? or can it become a book booth?
The result of one pedestrian wanting to cross the street, a block of traffic
Funny poster for upcoming movie
A narrow Mount Helena Ave
After I took a picture of Mount Helena there was a voice “what’s the picture for?” To my left I see a tattooed man with a beard smoking a cigar. Forgive my prejudgement, but I did not expect much in the way of conversation with this man. I simply told him I was taking pictures for a blog I just started and the street was particularly narrow, something I hadn’t noticed before. He responded “A blog just about Eagle Rock?” I specified it was from a walking perspective to which he said jovially “You can say you met a guy smoking a cigar after a 20 mile bike ride”. How did he know I love bicycling!? His ride length impressed me. I told him it was cool he did that. I asked if it was okay to take a picture of him with his bike. He struck a cool pose. I asked if he was informed with the LA Bike Plan. He was not aware of but mentioned the Mayor’s recent bike spill. I forget how the conversation exactly went but he pointed to his house, told me he submitted some comics to the Boulevard Sentinel, that he tries to arrange group rides, that the corner we ere standing on is subject to many car accidents and that he bikes to work when the weather is nice (he better bike often then!). His name is Matt and shook my hand with his left hand so I did not get smoke smell on my hand. In our brief conversation he also gave a friendly nod of respect to a bicyclist that went by. You just don’t get that kind of spontaneous interaction when trapped in your car.
Proud Matt shows off his bicycle
And so my walk continues…
Heather’s Store now sells jeans, not perfect for the summer but the price is right at 10$ a pair.
Sometimes I feel the streets are cluttered with signs which do little to compensate for poor road design, found this by Heather’s
I was not aware I was ever in a school zone, there was no change in street-scape and definitely no change in car speeds either.
The Beverage Shop at it’s worst… soon to come a branch of Delta Driving School
An opportunity to do something with this little patio area, too bad it isn’t being utilized.
Finally I arrive at Pete’s. As bicycles are always on my mind, I take a few pictures of where there is ample space to install bike racks.
Every time I go to Pete’s by bike I need to lock it to a street post. Taking the pictures I also spot two cyclists, both on the sidewalk despite Colorado Boulevard being an official Bike Route.
Maybe the city is doing something wrong in making the street attractive to cyclists?
Amusing find inside Pete’s
Receiving my order I walk on Mt. Royal Drive for about a second before spotting a super cool alley which I take for as long as I can, then it was up Townsend Avenue to Hill Drive and down on Hartwick Street where I met with hippierunner to start sharing the chocolate shake and fries I ordered. Back onto Colorado with nothing new and a left on Townsend heading towards Oak Grove. As we turned onto Oak Grove I was pleasantly surprised to see an old friend. Just had a brief word with him then hippierunner and I concluded our walk on Oak Grove Drive and Loleta Avenue.
Reason #3 to walk Eagle Rock: admire intricate details on the local streets, re-imagine the paths you frequent as you would like to see them, go from Oak Grove Drive to Colorado Blvd without taking Figueroa St, Genevieve Ave, or Wiota St. In fact do it with only being on an official street for a small fraction of the time! Notice signs you did not see before, meet new people and discuss common interests, discover new ways to get places, say ‘hi’ to an old friend, enjoy an other friend’s company and reward yourself with some Pete’s!
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