Demas Gutierrez and his three year old son, Demas, Jr., hopped off the Echo Park Avenue Dash bus this afternoon and crossed the street to visit to the playground at Echo Park Lake. Instead of watching his son play by the lake, Gutierrez watched the boy try and scramble up a six-foot high, chain-link fence to get into the park, which was sealed off beginning today for an approximately two-year-long clean up. “He couldn’t believe it,” Gutierrez said of his son when he discovered the park was closed. Instead of heading to the big playground on the north end of the park, the Gutierrez walked his son to a small playground by the 101 Freeway and planned a trip to MacArthur Park to enjoy a lake view. There were plenty of other people in Echo Park today who had to adjust or abandon their regular visits to the park after it was wrapped and locked up behind a green screen (which had already been tagged).
The installation of the fence, which began on Tuesday and was completed late Thursday, forced many joggers, walkers and other regulars accustomed to traveling on the wide path at the water’s edge to the narrow sidewalk on the perimeter of the park. Some folks contemplated new routes and routines as others stood on tippy toes and leaned against the fence to gaze at the park, where ducks and pigeons roamed the walking paths and lawns. Many referred to the closed off section of the park on the other side of fence as “the inside.”
“I don’t like it,” said 52-year-old Marcos Garcia, who was jogging on the sidewalk as part of a five-day-a-week ritual. “You don’t feel free. It’s better on the inside.”
Michela Musto, who can see the lake from her home, exchanged greetings with Garcia as she walked her dog, Venice, on the sidewalk. Not only is the sidewalk narrow, but there is also more traffic noise and there are no trash cans, an important amenity for dog walkers like herself. “It’s not as much fun,” said Musto, who might consider taking Venice for a walk in Elysian Park more often. “She will do fine. It’s me that will have a hard time adjusting.”
P.S.: Some vehicle owners who live near Echo Park Lake will also have to adjust their routine. Beginning the week of July 25, no parking will be allowed on the west side of Echo Park Avenue from Park Avenue to Laguna Avenue from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to an update on EchoParkLake.org
- Lake Cam: July 25, 2011. Patch