The Eastsider reported on Friday that the city is planning a more aggressive effort to halt what’s become a popular Sunday afternoon swap meet around Echo Park Lake, where vendors sell everything from sweaters to sinks as the video above shows. The effort is being organized by the office of Councilman Eric Garcetti. Council office spokeswoman Julie Wong provided a few more details about the problem and what’s in the works.
“The presence of vendors means that there is less open space available for kids to play, families to picnic, and other intended uses for the park,” Wong said in an email. “Many of the street vendors come from outside of the city and take up all of the available green space, making it difficult for anyone to use the park for these kinds of activities.”
Wong said that vending on the street, sidewalk, park and the parkway – the strip of land between the street and sidewalk – is illegal, with vendors facing fines and even jail time. The police as well as officers with the city’s Office of Public Safety officers and Bureau of Street Services officers can also issue citations. But so far the efforts at Echo Park Lake have failed to deter vendors.
“For example, the LAPD Senior Lead Officer for the area has spent many Sundays in the neighborhood to deter illegal vendors,” Wong said. ” However, no department currently has the resources to devote an officer to the park every weekend.”
The plan now is coordinate the staff from different city departments to provide more consistent monitoring of the park on weekends to keep the swap meet peddlers away. “Our goal is to work with the community and city departments to curb illegal vending,” Wong said. “Several community members have already expressed interest in participating in this effort. Based on our experience with Echo Park neighborhood residents, we believe that a workable and effective
* A Boyle Heights block grows more crowded with vendors and tension. The Eastsider
Photo and video provided by an Echo Park resident who wished to remain anonymous.