A Lot of Green


The triangular surface parking lot outside of Delevan Elementary (visible in background). A row of trees planted in the parkway along Wawona Street visually obscure the park lot’s bleakness. Image via: Google Maps

Surface parking lots are seldom thought to be aesthetically pleasing. In fact, whether they are empty or cluttered with cars, the oil-stained asphalt areas are often considered downright ugly. Residents of Northeast LA – newcomers and old-timers alike – upon seeing photographs of beautiful buildings that once stood where strip-malls and surface parking lots exist today frequently lament the architectural losses. The damage can be observed throughout the neighborhood but there is no turning back to prevent the mistakes of the past.

Nowadays, locals are much more tuned into local development plans and it is difficult to imagine any existing buildings being demolished to create strip-malls or parking lots. Along  much of Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock such development plans are explicitly prohibited thanks to the Colorado Boulevard Specific Plan. But there is no denying that we must live with many of the surface parking lots we have today into the foreseeable future, either out of necessity or because development can take decades to transform an area since it happens incrementally on a case-by-case basis.

Continue reading

Not A Through Street: Delevan Drive/Range Road

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?

Continue reading