Loving where you live

“The ultimate measure of sustainability is when people tell us they love where they live.”

–Eric Strauss, from his talk at the Southern California Academy of Sciences today, “The Frontier of Urban Ecology: The Challenge of Rejuvenating America’s Cities”

I suspect that our class of future Landscape Architects may have been the only non-scientists in the room. So I just loved that the example Eric gave of “loving where you live” was the one of local people working together to plant trees.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the south side of Mt. Fiji, April 11 2001 6:30pm

Towhees, shopping carts, wild cucumber, bedstraw vines, native scrub oaks, poison oak, and a 5-petaled purple wildflower I was unfamiliar with– I passed many things on my way to visit Boy Scout Troop 199 in Eagle Rock— but this rattlesnake skin was right in the middle of an asphalt road.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Long Road

Looking East along the new LA Railway tracks around 1909. The Edwards and Winters building which now houses Tritch Hardware is at left. The road to Pasadena, behind us and in the immediate foreground, has not yet been graded as part of the state system. (Photo courtesy of the Frackelton Murdock family and the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society)

I wrote this piece back in February. The idea was to throw a bunch of ideas onto paper with the hope that some of them could be used for a brochure about Colorado Boulevard for the Take Back the Boulevard initiative that TERA, The Eagle Rock Association is putting forth.

The essay itself is the result of an “interview” with Eric Warren, the Eagle Rock historian. I put the word interview in quotation marks because it was less formal and more enjoyable than that term would imply. The truth is I got to spend a great afternoon with Mr. Warren as he talked about the history of the Boulevard and we looked at a few of the many photographs he has documenting the history of our part of town.

Colorado Boulevard has a history.

When we in the twenty-first century look back on that history we are apt to see only the history that fits our rose-colored vision. The truth is more complex.

Whether the native Americans used the route will always be open to debate as they left no sign, an aesthetic we could perhaps emulate.

The earliest vision of the Boulevard may have come from the Spanish landowner, Jose Maria Verdugo. There is record of his buying up land along the route possibly as a connector between the San Fernando and the San Gabriel missions.

The reason that this earliest of real estate deals may have been in the making is simple: to keep one’s feet dry. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Automotive arrogance OR New Civility?

By pure coincidence, Mike and I simultaneously began drafting posts on the same issue– but from polar opposite points of view. Read our two posts below and tell us what you think….

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blessed by the recession

Is it my imagination or is there a new kind of civility on the streets?

When I bike to work, I notice that at any four way intersection, drivers actually seem aware of me and want to give me right of way. If I attempt to wait my turn as any other vehicle would, drivers get confused. They Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Automotive Arrogance

Everybody’s experienced some smart-ass cutting them off in traffic. It seems there’s a certain mentality that considers others as an obstacle to progress.

It’s damned irritating when it happens to you while driving.

It is flat out frightening when it happens to you while walking in the crosswalk.

I was coming back from downtown not long ago and looking to Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Narrow Streets Los Angeles comes to Eagle Rock

Narrow Streets Los Angeles is a great blog by David Yoon which recently published a couple great makeovers of some of our local streets.

Click to see Colorado Boulevard made over by Narrow Streets. The makeover of the intersection of Eagle Rock Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard is even more compelling…. Diptych prints are available from the website.

For readers that don’t like following links, here’s a tasty excerpt:

What strikes me about the “before” picture is the amount of effort + regulation such large intersections require — just look at all those dotted turn guides painted on the asphalt! Makes sense, though: the bigger the intersection, the less drivers are able to clue in on their surroundings, and the more guidance they’ll need. It’s all so formal + rigid, isn’t it? A smaller Eagle Rock Blvd. would be far more spontaenous. Infill it with shops + commerce — there’s plenty of room — and you’d have even more diversions to explore.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Stroll Around Eagle Rock

On this blog a great deal of attention has been paid of late to the goings on about re-working Colorado Boulevard. And that is certainly a worthy goal.

However, pedestrian advocacy is not the sole purpose of this blog. We also  celebrate our own two feet.

So I took a walk.

Using as a guide the book Secret Stairs I took a walk through back stage Eagle Rock, the part that has always endeared this place to me, the part that I live in. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Learning from Hermosa Avenue

David and Helen Gustavson are the powerhouses behind Wiota Circle, that little jewelbox of color and texture off the 134 on ramp. Helen chose the plantings. David masterminded the erecting of the Eagle Rock replica monument. This was a labor of love spanning many years, and utilizing the contributions of many volunteers.

David offered us some interesting thoughts on how Colorado Boulevard could be improved: Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Some Simple Facts

In California, every traffic collision is entered into the  Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, and that data is made available online.

These documents compile SWITRS data for Colorado Boulevard in Los Angeles, between Eagledale and Avenue 64. This three-mile stretch roughly coincides with the boundary of Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and the 90041 zipcode.

We are not traffic analysts, however, it seems clear that there has been approximately one reported accident a week over the past five years. More than half of the accidents involve injuries.

What should one make of this data?

We challenge others to digest the comparable information for Colorado Boulevard in our neighboring cities of Pasadena and Glendale, and share your results with this blog.

For printable pdfs, click on these links:



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments