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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Will hitching posts at Sunset & Alvarado make Echo Park more beautiful? *

Sunset & Alvarado – without hitching posts

Hitching posts at Sunset and Alvarado.  Click here for more details. Rendering from Bureau of Street Services

The city has secured about $750,000* in federal money to spend on beautifying Sunset Boulevard through Echo Park.  Last week, residents got a peek at some of the initial plans and ideas about how that beautification grant might be spent. In addition to new benches, pocket parks and and decorative patterns stamped into the pavement, one of the ideas includes what looks like at first glance like a pair of chess pieces (see rendering above) installed at the four corners of Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado Street.  However, these are not super-sized knights ready to make a move on your queen or bishop. These are decorative bollards or posts meant to evoke Echo Park’s horse and buggy days.

A brief note on the rendering provides a hint at what the engineers are thinking:

Hitching posts/bollards mark the street corner and recall Victorian-era of horse & carriage.

Are engineers expecting equestrians to hitch their horses at the corner of Sunset and Alvarado while they savor a machaca burrito at Burrito King?  Anyway, other elements of the plan include adding solar-powered trash cans, street trees  and building a pocket park at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Park Avenue.

Engineers are scheduled to return to Echo Park  in January to make another presentation and get more responses from residents. Construction would not begin for another year.  The Eastsider will publish a date and meeting time when those details are confirmed.

* Correction: A previous version of this post had said the city had received a grant totaling about $1 million. That’s wrong. The project will cost an estimated $750,000, including $678,000 budgeted for construction and $75,000 for design work.

Related Post:

  • Pizza but not pedestrians will be safer following Echo Park accident. The Eastsider

65 comments

  1. Solar powered trash cans!? I can probably throw my trash away without the subs help, but What about free solar powered charging stations for phones tablets and laptops instead?

  2. If nothing else, I’m sure we’ll be treated to videos of drunken revelers’ failed attempts to leap-frog over them.

  3. Perhaps that 76 Station could do a little landscaping under its sign there too. Something about that intersection always felt dirty and gross to me. Perhaps it’s the lack of trees/ greenery.

  4. I don’t see the purpose in spending $ for these posts. They should spend their $ on bike lock racks along Sunset Blvd to encourage more bicycle riding!

  5. The solar trash cans actually work really well. There is one at Sunset and Echo Park Ave and since it has been there there is way less trash blowing around downtown EP.

    I don’t know about the hitching posts — I would spend more money on street trees, bike racks and fixing broken sidewalks.

    • These solar trash cans are a nice way to prevent overflowing (the solar power is used to run a compactor), and they’re cost effective because they reduce the frequency of required pickups. One thing I’ve noticed in hollywood is that because they have no place to dispose of cigarettes, they tend to get a lot of abuse on the top, which surely reduces power to solar panel. Wish the BigBelly company would address this design flaw.

  6. How about giving 100,000 to Central City, So they have the funds to help them keep our neighborhood graffiti free?

  7. First, that is NOT all federal money. Matching local funds are ALWAYS a requirement.

    Second, I see this as an incredible waste of money that could be far better spent on restoring such things as our ambulance service that has been cut back! And $1 million for what is no more than $50,000 of upgrade is not very wise spending — especially when the City Council wants us to vote to raise the sales tax by a whopping half percent — so they can waste ever more money!

    A quick checkers painting, some idiotic horse heads (that’s just plain stupid), some ridiculous solar-powered trash can (like that’s a really important thing we need!), a few cheap benches, and planting some saplings just does not justify anywhere near $1 million! Even this pocket park — what, throw some grass seed around on a vacant lot and that’s worth $1 million?! And just one block from Echo Park anyway — as if there were no park anywhere around there — why is 1¢ being wasted on that?

    This is an incredible waste. If its not going to be spent to restore important things like ambulance service, it should at least be spent on something worthy and that really should require $1 million to do! This is neither worthy nor can it come anywhere close to justifying $1 million.

    The saplings are a good idea. The rest is a complete waste of money.

  8. Beautification is sweet!
    How about solar powered escalators that pull you across the street!!

  9. How about fixing the sidewalks and removing some of the visual clutter of big signs and billboards?

  10. How about go catty corner and put the protective rail up that Pizza Buona requested years before that car crashed thru, scooping up a pregnant woman, and crashing their restaurant in the recent past? Not pretty but pragmatic.

  11. robert moreno jr.

    realy i guess it couldn’t get more trashy than it already is with the bohemian crowd that just seems to be meandering around crossing where ever they please. not to mention the big influx of pan handlers that seem follow.echo park has become hollywood east.

  12. Oh the visual clutter! Has anyone researched if these zigzagging colored sidewalks (not crosswalks) in already cluttered and busy intersections, actually make things safer for the pedestrian?

    When I commuted, I used to spend a lot of time sitting at this light, waiting to turn left onto Alvarado, contemplating how to improve this intersection. There are no easy answers. This intersection has soooooo may distractions for drivers.

    And really, how long before those horse heads are stolen for scrap metal sale?

  13. Just more objects for all the taggers to wright on, give it a couple of months and those ponies will become eye an eye sore. Another rocket scientist must have came up with this idea! The city should do something more productive for the youth or something. Common man!

  14. I like the posts, they’re really cute on Carroll street in Angeleno Heights, but i agree, more trees and bike racks (maybe that recall the victorian era in design?) would be more practical and make life better for residents!

  15. beautification brought to you by engineers. no wonder it looks like ridiculous nostalgic crap.

  16. I would rather they spend the money to help Pizza Buona reopen. A landmark and anchor to that corner for over 30 years – That’s how long I’ve been going

  17. No, no, no, no, no!

    Not aesthetically pleasing and a total waste of money. No one is going to care if there is a checkered-patterned sidewalk with chess piece posts. It’s corny and will look dated in a week.

    If the city $ is to be allocated for a beautification project to that specific part of Sunset, then spend the $ on regular trash cans and native trees along the sidewalks.

    • Agree, sad half-hearted solution. More planting, color, beauty — not ugly. Work with businesses to encourage them to improve their sites.

  18. ….put those stupid horses up and we will be the laughing stock of neighborhoods. plus it will encourage a bunch of fugly “site specific” art work that will only make matters much worse. that will spawn t-shirts, and posters and some boring festival (great for kids!!:)) or brain melting art contest. pleeeeeze!!!! doooon’t doooooo iiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt………

    • Yeah! I can here’em now!!! HAHAHAHA LOOK AT THAT ECHO PARK WITH THOSE DECORATIVE HORSE HEADS!!!! HAHAHAHA

      Just pointing out the derisory outrage.

      C’mon peeps really?

  19. Thank you Eastsider for keeping us informed on this and yes please be sure to notify us of the meeting date for public input. Everyone who commented here, please pay attention and attend that meeting so that better ideas like yours are listened to! Horse head posts, how ridic! Gah.

  20. Protective bollards: good.

    Horse heads and zig zags: not good.

  21. How about solar-powered speakers that scream,”FUCK YOU” when people run out in front of my car on Sunset?

  22. How about planting a tree or two (big ones, equivalent to the cost of these decorations) and providing for their maintenance. Right there, at that intersection.

  23. I’m ALL for beautification of our neighborhood, and I second what some folks are saying: More trees (native preferred), bike racks, trash cans, benches, CLEAN SIDEWALKS! In regards to Alvarado and Sunset, it could certainly use some love, but the brickwork and the horses don’t belong in Echo Park!

  24. Yes. Big trees.

  25. I vote for the trash cans that vanished from b/t the corner and the library on Alvarado and security cameras to help stop the thugs who are messing up, tagging, stealing, etc. from the area.

  26. Wow – this sounds promising.

    How about rad bus stops – and downtown echo park needs more benches and places to people watch and enjoy the neighborhood! And def more trash cans (and ones that get emptied daily!)

    And how about planting some trees! Losing that one by Fashion of Echo is so sad. I’d love to see your bus stops get some dignity and places in the shade to sit and enjoy EP! Look forward to the meeting in January.

  27. And what about some wayfinding signs – esp to our newly rehabbed Echo Park Lake!

  28. How about a bus shelter? Oh yeah, that would block the gas station’s cigarette ads

  29. How about making sense and starting on the ground and working up? — the road that is.

    Pavement is terrible on LA streets, and at that intersection there are always small but deep trenches and pot holes on the corners.

    • Agreed! I believe there is a portal to the earth’s core in front of the carwash when turning onto Sunset from Alvarado. Traffic often backs up because no one wants to use that lane and get their tired trashed.

  30. For the sake of context, I would like to add that this projects “Scope” is more than just the intersection of Alvarado and Sunset. It extends from Alvarado west to Elysian Park Ave. The funds are specific to Sunset Blvd., however, other “call for projects”, could dovetail on the momentum this fund produces. Hopefully the “scope” documents can also be posted to show the clean, green and pedestrian friendly elements. Multiple tree wells will be filled, new ones created, and the very successful “Big Belly” Trash cans first introduced by EP TAP will be added in numbers. Broken sidewalks will be repaired, and green spaces added. It is a start, but please don’t let a very preliminary rendering of one intersection”s possibilities detract from the overall scope….a community meeting will be held in January
    for further input and updates. You can also attend the December 19 meeting of the EP Improvement Association, which has this item on their standing agenda.:
    . I hope that helps to some degree, however please see the “scope” documents to gain a better perspective. As a member of EPIA,EPHS, and The Chamber I have participated in “drafting” sessions, so also looking forward to seeing the next evolution in January…

    Thanks!
    CP

    • This plan is quite mediocre. And as many others stated, it is not worth at all close to $1 million — that price for this plan is just plain shocking. For $1 million, we should get something really good — yet this is not even close, this is a zero. This reminds me of those toilet seats the federal government bought for what, $900 each — they should have checked the price at Home Deport first.

      Saplings, benches, some painted checkerboard, none of this should cost anything like that. And for god’s sake, why do we need to spend money on some super high priced solar powered garage cans for on-spot compacting?! Toys! That’s all it is, toys. You could put an awful lot of trash cans around in convenient locations for the price of one of those!

      Yet, even money aside, when this is all considered and done, it still amounts to nothing but waste when we should have had something really good. This is not “momentum,” it is actually nothing in particular but for a lot of money.

  31. Why does this design need to look ‘victorian?’ The zig-zags are just clutter, and don’t relate to anything else around the neighborhood or in close proximity. I like the idea of a pocket park; trees, native plants, etc. but the zig-zags, and horse heads are laughable and pathetic and would actually make that corner worse.

    There should’ve been a competition held where architects could submit their designs.
    Since Echo Park has such an abundance of architects and artists, it’s inexcusable that something so ill conceived as this could get approved.

  32. i wanna get hitched!

  33. So……….
    So a few unnamed few spoke to each other and planned for all of us,
    the nameless?
    Mind boggling exclusionaries……..
    Soon they will want us to be in period costume to go with the flow…..
    Shackling corsets, feathered hats using feathers stolen off birds taking
    refuge on Echo Lake…oooooooo so Echo Lark ……

    The time line and expenditure are already set. The meetings are merely a formality.

    One is grateful to Congressman Becerra for the work put in to secure these funds
    that a few have now thoughtlesly squandered.

  34. The LA River and the ocean are getting polluted as a result of urban trash, storm
    water run off etc. that is carried via storm drains. Closer to home is the pollution of Echo Lake described as one of LA’s most polluted bodies of water! The clean up of Echo Lake via Prop O funds cost a tidy eighty five (85) million dollars.
    Stopping trash and pollution before it gets into the storm drain system is key
    to reducing the contamination that gets into the LA River and ocean. Until a
    better system is available, a single Solar Big Belly such as the one on the corner of Echo Park and Sunset has the capacity to keep some 4,000+ gallons of trash from entering the adjacent storm drain this past year. This is a fact from the readings taken off a chip embedded in the Solar Big Belly. Technology is not the only answer, however, the Solar Big Belly has encouraged residents and businesses to be better stewards by keeping trash contained, secure and out of sight. With less trash and less rotting food left open to rats, a potential health hazard has been addressed as well. This collaborative project with
    assistance of grants ( Keep LA Beautiful & Office of Community Beautification)
    allowed this community to tackle the urban blight of trash. Shelter Clean
    assisted with weekly trash removal and LA Conservation Corp and Echo Park
    volunteers with trash clean ups in adjacent locations. A cohesive plan to
    incorporate tested solutions that benefit both the immediate area and environment enhances the quality of life for all in a meaningful manner. It is also cost effective in the long run.

    Ida Talalla
    Coordinator – Echo Park TAP ( Trash Abatement Project).

    • Wow, you sure stretch it, don’t you?! Consider how many normal trash cans could be spread all around for the price of a single one of those overly teched out trash cans. A lot more trash will end up in the trash can if the trash cans are all around and convenient wherever you are as compared to if people have to take a walk to go to one. Being techy doesn’t mean it is better. It certainly does not mean it is worth its high price.

      • plus, all you need to service a regular trash can is a hammer. how will the fancy solar power compactor get serviced, a whole new employee? what about lifespan compared to those regular cans?

        • Also, you’re assuming that people around here even use trash recepticles…most trash is thrown on the streets and sidewalks.

  35. Interesting. I imagine it won’t be long before those posts are scratched to hell and tagged up. Seriously it would be nice to resurface the sidewalks on Sunset esp all of the sidewalks around Echo Park. Give everything a steam pressure wash. Clean all the dust off those buildings. Take some pride and clean Echo Park from end to end. Don’t slap a horse head on it, call it done, pocket the rest.

  36. Whipping posts have no place in a civilized society.

  37. Ida — thank you.

  38. That’s just fugly. Clean sidewalks would be nice.

  39. hitching posts?! mix in some trees and or possibly pressure wash the filth off of our sidewalks before adding such tacky, meaningless tiling patterns, and posts. I couldn’t agree with @Improvedments more.

  40. I think they should make more useful public art on that corner, like a bus shelter/bus stop right there behind the ugly horse post they r proposing. there is only one uncovered bench and when it rains there is no protection. seriously. love public art but more when it serves more than an aesthetic function.

  41. who do we email/call to make sure this is not approved? waste of federal money.

  42. $75000 for design? That designer is laughing all the way to the bank. A design class at LACC could do better.

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