One step in the right direction for an Echo Park stairway

The stairway that zigzags up a hill from Bellevue Avenue and Glendale Boulevard west of Echo Park Lake is not a pretty sight, with the steps and handrails covered in graffiti and tires and other trash filling planter boxes.  Making matters worse, the stairway, a handy short cut from Belmont Street on the hill above to Echo Park Lake below, had been left in darkness for several months after a trio of lights went out.  A nearby Echo Park resident named Cameron said he had submitted two requests via the city’s website to get the lights repaired but he had received no response. The darkness has made a bad situation worse, said Cameron in an email last week:

Since it is so dark a lot of shady things go on there at night.  Lately there’s been people smoking weed there almost every night, and sometimes I see men lurking behind trees … We’ve lived here since December of last year, and have grown tired of the scary passage from Belmont to Glendale Blvd.

The Eastsider contacted the city’s Bureau of Street Lighting on Tuesday to find out what was going on. Later that day, a crew appeared to start fixing the lights. A bureau spokesman said the broken Bellevue stair lights were “on our schedule to repair.”   On Wednesday night, two of the three lights were working (the third, which had suffered major damage, had been removed for now).

Cameron reports that his wife had spoken to the workers, who said they would be finished in a few days.  “They said that they just fixed them 8 months ago.”

Of course, the light now reveals the broken glass, litter and graffiti on the stairs. But those are projects left to be taken care for another day.


  1. The city is broke, in my street it took them 3 requests to pick up an old matters…and it is only the beginning…

  2. I meant “old matress”

  3. Sometimes a call to your city council person speeds up the process and/or well they do the leg work & phone calls for you. And keep you posted on the progress as well.

    great to see your blog got a mention by city maven today

  4. While this will not pertain to the lighting, as far as the cleanliness of the path goes, the neighbors may just have to band together and clean themselves if they want it kept up. That is what the neighbors on my street do with our two stairways (one stairway actually, bisected by my street). Once or twice a month several of us get the trash bags out and hedge clippers and brooms and just clean it ourselves. It’s honestly not that much work after the initital cleaning if you keep it up and it makes a big difference. If you have the spec it can be complimented by some urban guerilla gardening. Waiting for the city is sadly likley almost a guaranteed disappointment.

  5. Alexis Montague

    Yeah but, how do we blame this on hipsters?

  6. jerk with an i-phone

    First of all, credit where credit is due: a million kudos to the resident and to the Eastsider for getting some movement on this lighting issue. You are providing a real public service, Jesus. Thank you, thank you.

    Also, I’m 100% in favor of the community banding together to clean this up (or any other neglected staircase), and I agree that that’s what it will take for large scale cleanups and regular maintenance like SL-er describes.

    For smaller-scale things, though: say what you will about Councilman Garcetti and iphones, but the “Garcetti 311” iphone app works–and it works way better than any calls I’ve ever made to the relevant city departments. I’ve had great success using it for things like mattress removal, potholes, abandoned shopping carts, and tons of tagging removal. They usually get to things in 1-2 weeks. They even seem to respond faster when there is a cross-out war going on. Sometimes Garcetti’s office sends LA Street Services, sometimes it’s the Hollywood Beautification team (a non-profit), so they’re realistic about the need to work around city government logjams. The best thing is, they NEVER complain that “we just fixed that.” If something is broken or tagged a week later, then it needs to be fixed or cleaned up again. No sense whining about it; just do the job. Garcetti’s people get that, and I appreciate it.

    Obviously, not everyone has an iphone, and there are unpleasant class implications to the fact that this method works better than a regular phone call, but I just wanted to report objectively that it actually works. People without access to the app should call the Garcetti field office in Hollywood (323.957.4500), and ask them to expedite an issue like Keith suggests above.

    They’ll only respond to complaints that are in CD13, Garcetti’s district, but that’s most of SL and EP, and certainly should apply to this staircase.

    The only part of this post I really don’t agree with is: I really don’t care at all if people “smoke weed” on the staircases. Lurking behind trees in a dark narrow area: yes, that creeps me the f*ck out. I also really don’t like turning the corner to start going up or down a staircase only to find someone pissing (or worse) on the stairs. But a little pot isn’t going to hurt anyone.

  7. agree with jerk with an iphone – thank you to the reader and to eastsider for pointing out this crap to the city.

    this is the kind of stuff that needs to be addressed if LA really wants to be a 21st century city, with urban living environments hospitable to all. just got back from nyc where i used to live, and they are doing a much better job of cleaning themselves up.

  8. Thx for the info, Mr. iPhone!
    I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to have an abandoned/broken Target shopping cart removed from in front of my house (in SL) for more than 2 weeks. Sanitation does not pick them up, and a message to the voicemail they transferred me to got no action. Neither did a call to a private retrieval company. I just called Garcetti’s office (no iPhone!) and they were very responsive. Hopefully it will be gone by Monday.

  9. Going forward as services diminish folks are going to have to literally pick up the slack, with dust pans and brooms, clippers and rakes. But you know what? I’ve seen people around the world do this, from Scotland to Japan, people taking care of where they live. Not waiting on gubmint, taking action.

    Discarded sofas or cheap computer tables are another matter, but why not taek the bull by the old horns and spruce and tidy up where we live?

  10. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the city in general has hit a new low in dirtiness. (I know, it’s LA right) But take a fresh look at onramps and freeways lately. Where is CalTrans and the usual community service batters?

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