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:
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.
Note: In my part one post for how to make Yosemite safer I suggested some kind of barrier for private auto use yet still allowing buses and emergency vehicles to pass. If that is wanting too much, I still think there is much which can be done to improve the safety of the many pedestrians that use this street. Simply lowering the speed limit is about the cheapest way LADOT can promote safety for all. Here in part two I would mainly like to address speeds along Yosemite Drive.
What comes to mind when you think of Yosemite Drive?
Eagle Rock High School? Yosemite Park? Bilo’s Liquor Store? The Teen Rock Center? Fraternal Order of Eagles Center? 181 bus route? Rockdale Elementary? Connects North Figueroa Street to Eagle Rock Boulevard? Adjacent to Eagle Rock Elementary? a predominately residential street?
I personally have memories of cross country and track practice, running along Yosemite before navigating other streets to get to ideal streets for running, like Hill Drive or La Loma. I also think of walking or biking to and from a friend’s house.
Do you think of the street as one suitable for a 35mph street limit?
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!
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?