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Friday, September 30, 2016

What does the future of Glendale Boulevard look like? Just think big

70+ unit retirement apartment complex at Glendale Blvd. and Park Ave.

544-space Angelus Temple parking garage

Residents, urban planners and neighborhood leaders gathered in Echo Park last Saturday to toss around ideas and share their dreams about how to remake Glendale Boulevard, the wide, often-congested and noisy street that is lined with neighborhood landmarks – Angelus Temple and Echo Park Lake – as well as shabby warehouses, recycling centers and strip malls. Under his ideal scenario, Councilman Eric Garcetti, said he  would turn Glendale Boulevard into a winding road and expose the underground streams that flow into Echo Park Lake. Others dreamed of a boulevard with petting zoos and skate parks. But no one had to attend a workshop to imagine the future of Glendale Boulevard. New and recently completed projects along Glendale show that more big buildings and traffic congestion is on the way – especially in light of existing zoning.

At the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue, a nearly 500-foot long senior retirement complex – three stories of stucco planted on a parking deck – is rising where smaller, Spanish and Craftsman-style apartments once sat across from Echo Park Lake.  Across the street, next to Angelus Temple, a 544-space parking garage is so big that it nearly dwarfs the silver dome of the landmark church. Further south on Glendale Boulevard at Rockwood Street,  construction will soon begin on another large structure, a 45-unit apartment building.  Meanwhile, on the north end of Glendale Boulevard at the tip of the 2 Freeway exit, a developer is planning to build about 70 homes.

All that development does not leave much room for a winding Glendale Boulevard and trickling streams.



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28 comments

  1. The church has destroyed that section. They could care less about the neighborhood- all they care about is cramming projects in as big as they can be… and the money that goes with it.

  2. The hideous parking garage and new oversized, eyesore called “retirement” housing have both completely ruined what was once an interesting cultural area of Echo Park. It’s so sad to waste such great opportunity for growth in our community with both of these wastes of space that contribute absolutely nothing to the area.

    • You sound ignorant along with a lot of these people. A retirement home doesn’t have to benefit you and the area it was built for retired men and women to have a place to live which benefits our retired elderly women and men. The parking garage is for a church where many people go to change their lives and find god and who are you and anyone else to complain that a church has a parking garage for the people who attend Angelus Temple which is a big church with a lot of people. The 45 unit apartment was built so more families can have a place to live and not be homeless. A lot of these places that are such an inconvenience for you spoiled stuck up people are changing peoples lives and they are blessings to others. Me and my family are moving in that 45 unit apartment which we were blessed to get picked in the lottery for it and we have been homeless at the dream center. I believe you all are a bunch of complainers and no one is truly being affected by these changes and i hope they continue to build because then maybe there wouldn’t be so many people on the streets and i care more about the people’s lives being changed over people who want to complain about every little thing they can complain about. The only thing sad and disgusting is how selfish and inconsiderate the world is and i really can’t believe people are complaining about something so unbelievably stupid because i see no big deal at all and in fact i see it as a blessing to many many people and just because it’s not a blessing for you in specific doesn’t make it useless. Grow up and if new apartments and buildings are such a huge bother to you and the others complaining why not move away and go complain somewhere else?

  3. @xtian, Cultural area? the lake, streets and surrounding houses are a s** hole! sure the church has added nothing of value but this is LA, this city will never have the architecture, history, refinement or cosmopolitan attitude of cities like London, Paris, NYC, Milan or Montreal, this city and the people that run it dry heave at the very word culture, there’s no money to be made in things being nice.

    • Sure, if you keep ripping down every single old building and replace it with the cheap eyesores that developers build now, how can there ever BE any history?

  4. @Gentrify, There has been culture around lake- or what you call a “shit hole” for the past 120+ years. It might not be the same as your corny, cliched ideals of Paris, Milan and Montreal (?) but..
    120 years ago it was the center of something they called the oil rush, 10 years later a something they called moving pictures (silent), then came the Okies displaced by the dust bowl, the Cubans, Red Hill, the Salvadorians….
    It all might mean nothing to you
    But clueless idiots who long for Montreal mean little to me.
    May I buy you a bus ticket and an Encyclopedia Britannica?

  5. @ Charles Swan. Exactly Charles, there “was” culture, I read history, but no more, just traffic, empty and dirty side walks and four families stuffed inside every house from Alverado to Dodger Stadium. As for cliched ideals of the cities mentioned, have you visited any of them? reality and beauty can go hand in hand, it just isn’t happening here.

    • I guess if it’s so terrible, you could always find somewhere else to live, no? I’ve always thought it strange that people who have the resources to live anywhere in world still flock to Los Angeles and call it home. There just must be something good about it, don’t you think?

  6. Doesn’t anybody notice that Garcetti is going to ruin Los Angeles with his dreams of big looming buildings everywhere and his dream to make Sunset a “canyon” of high rises?? Say goodbye to the single family homes if Garcetti gets his wish… I mean sorry. Say goodbye to the single family homes for the 99%– we only deserve small, high boxes to live in. He sees Echo Park as a developers dream– come in wreck everything and make it into the next Century City. Wake Up. Behind that charming smile are big dreams about big development

    • Last year, I’d have disagreed with you Karla, but I am now indeed noticing that. Especially, as you mention, with Garcetti’s most recent support for Hollywood high-rises. If he should be elected mayor I’ll be keeping my eyes wide open for any of those downtown-centric faux-Tuscan monstrosities that he might be too willing to move in to the area — now doubt to sit right alongside any of Rick Caruso’s latest Disney-fied live-shop developments.

      • Erics mantra for years now is “they are coming” we must build. His push for “density” on “transit corridors” has been laughable. Easily approving any project that comes in promising to cram more people into a building with no forethought to the necessary infrastructures needed for people to have some measure of quality of life.
        Using “it’s on a transit corridor” aka the bus, to dismiss parking requirements and put more cars on our heavily impacted side streets, in neighborhoods built before the car and the subsequent need for off street parking. If Eric is elected Mayor, then pity the people in urban enclaves like Echo Park. He swiftly left multi zoned EP for
        the R-1 Hillsides of Silver Lake . At least he’s safe from development.
        E.

        • Don’t forget that Eric has a single family home in the Echo Park hills he now rents out while he lives in his new abode, a single family home in Silver Lake.

          • And “developer” Garcetti pretty much doubled the size of that Echo Park house when he bought it, adding a second story — which itself required a zoning waiver.

            He now is renting it out at something like $4,500 a month! That is a astounding amount to rent a house and in that area. That’s not the top of a hill in Beverly Hills! That’s rent, not mortgage that you will get back when you sell — its money all down the drain, $54,000 a year! That is well above the typical price to rent a nice house in that area. I REALLY have to wonder who is actually paying that rent, and whether they got more than the house for the price. I don’t even like the appearance that it is a backdoor way to make a payoff.

    • Cities are required by state law to make sure that their zoning allows for growth.

      Every time I visit West LA, I am amazed that it’s considered more desirable somehow with its horrible hodgepodge of strip malls, unwalkable streets and single-family houses abutting skyscrapers. The ocean make can people overlook anything, I guess.

      At least on our side of town, we’ve inherited a more traditional cityscape and generally pedestrian-scaled business districts where single-families, multi-families and commercial buildings blend more organically.

      Of course, economic disinvestment has meant that our community hasn’t seen much new construction since 1940.

      But don’t be mistaken, growth is coming. And it doesn’t matter who the mayor or council member is. Our community’s profile has long been on the rise and is now on everybody’s radar as a happening area.

      Believe it or not, the two projects above were actually constrained/limited/improved by guidelines that the Echo Park Historical Society helped implement surrounding the lake. Called a Community Design Overlay, it actually helped spare a 1914 airplane bungalow, encouraged the developer to make the Craftsman 4plex available for relocation and kept the senior housing development from being even larger and more monolithic. Am I fan of the project? No. But the developer adjusted the project to be able to build it by-right.

      Similarly, the parking structure as proposed was supposed to go from street to street, Glendale to Lemoyne. The Echo Park Historical Society was able to persuade the Foursquare folks to keep the structure on the Glendale Blvd half of the block, preserving a string of 1920s and ’30s buildiings and arguably, the livability of that entire block of Lemoyne.

      While the area around the lake has some measure of protection, Sunset Boulevard is a free-for-all. Is that appropriate for such an intact, 1920s business district? Think about it now before the next project is sprung on the community.

      Want to shape the coming growth? Decide what’s important now. Read your Community Plan. Learn the zoning around you. Learn now what can be built “by-right”. Learn about Community Design Overlays. Make sure that buildings you value are designated as Historic Cultural-Monuments. Make sure that neighborhoods you value are designated as HPOZs.

      Don’t want Echo Park to look like West LA? Be proactive. You can help shape the coming growth, but you cannot stop it.

  7. Zoning is what causes the canyons. The only place multis can go is along those corridors and with people pushing for more r1s, you cant even build quads or duplexes in residential neighborhoods. Those multisthat would be of a much smaller scale would take some pressure off the transportation corridors but people dontwant to hurt their prop values and idealized notions of a residential neighbothood.

  8. Garcetti’s idea of exposing the “underground streams” (he’s referring to storm runoff!) along Glendale Boulevard is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard. And I’ve heard a lot of stupid ideas in this town, but this is just flat out the stupidest.

    Is he at all in touch? Does he have the slightest idea of the reality all around him? Here they’re talking of somehow adding a traffic lane to help the flow of traffic down Glendale, and he proposes a stream going down there instead? A stream for who to gaze upon the beauty of the countryside – the drivers in rush hour traffic? Did you think taking out a traffic lane to show the filthy storm water runoff would somehow make the traffic-clogged street into a wonderful park with picnickers and families strolling the grass? I suggest instead it would do little other than make the street into a obstacle course, with no beautification gain whatsoever.

    Hey, if Garcetti has money to throw around on waste like that, why can’t he come up with the money to help the reservoir in Elysian Park be turned into a nicely landscaped park area rather than an industrial covered, horrible wasteland? He literally REFUSES to do anything to help Elysian Park, yet proposes this for a heavily trafficked major thoroughfare?! That reservoir is about to be covered with a horrible industrial style roof that will ruin the ambiance of that entire area for lack of funds provided to instead make it underground tanks covered by nice parkland! Where is Garcetti on this!? He ain’t no environmentalist.

  9. The problem on Glendale is not so much the scale of these buildings (although that ugly church parking tower is unnecessary, considering the amount of unused weekend parking nearby)… it’s CalTrans/LADOT’s design of Glendale Blvd. as a street-level freeway — that’s the real issue.

    This article (and others on Eastsider) have neglected to mention some of the more positive ideas brought up during the workshop, such as ending the 2 freeway at the 5 and rerouting much of that heavy traffic away from our neighborhood. Or the idea to re-purpose that stub of freeway as park space for the community. Or wider sidewalks, bike lanes and traffic calming.

    Glendale Blvd. should be zoned as a multi-modal corridor. Bring back the median rail lines to Glendale, lower the speed limit, add wider sidewalks and more signalized crossings, paint some bike lanes, and how about a road diet along the lake to calm traffic and add more parking (angled like in Atwater). The current road design, and all those huge surface retail lots are much larger traffic generators than senior housing.

    Simply put: Until we start inconveniencing commuters a little, our main streets will continue to be dangerous cut-through highways… widening roads is a zero-sum game, traffic just gets worse and worse over time, and other options for getting around the neighborhood (walking, biking) become less and less desirable.

  10. All that Jazz ~
    With many regards to The Old Post Office, The Spanish Style, Hispanic Identification/Need/and Patronage, Community Aesthetic. Who speaks for the Deer who once roamed Elysian Park. Echo Park must Decide if it wants to continue as a Cultural Entity; Or, as a Refuge for Proposition 13 West side Bargain Hunters.

  11. Well said, Kevin and Corner Soul.

    I’m dismayed every time I look at that church parking structure – even with the negotiated reduction in size, it dwarfs the Angeles Temple and has diminished its iconic and historic status.

    As for Glendale Blvd, it’s too much of a freeway already for there to be any quality of life for pedestrians, cyclists, or business owners. The only traffic calming that exists from the 2 to downtown is congestion and the fact that the park is now inaccessible has only made this more apparent. I can’t recall ever seeing any enforcement of the speed limit in the 20 years that I’ve lived in Echo Park.

    • Every time i look at that parking structure and the soon to be completed monstrous “Sr. Living” complex across the street I cringe.

      The Angelus Temple is a National Historic Landmark–so when they painted it ,of course it occurred to me, perhaps they needed to get permission. The answer from Cultural Heritage? We don’t legislate ugly. They were determined to make the Temple match the Parking structure and now it does. I guess we now what color scheme the Sr. Living Monster will be!

      cp

  12. If Angelus Temple eventually takes over EP beige will dominate as Scientology blue in Hllyd.

  13. If you want 99% of people to live in single family homes, then you’ll have to bulldoze the mountains and deserts and farms and wild spaces. If you want to preserve nature, then you have to allow people to live with other people. If you allow them to live in larger buildings (and plenty of them want to, even if you don’t!) then they may even be able to walk and take the train, allowing you to have your precious road space in the suburbs to yourself!

    • Im sure less Cultural Aesthetic went into the Development of This “Structure” than into your Post. The Orsisni wasnt bad. Aesthetic, Jobs, Opportunity ? Its all a matter of Honesty.
      Alois Saint-Martin ” For the People “

  14. Hiw about the apartment complex theyre proposing on the 1800 block of Glendale. Proposing two giant apartment complexes…. Not too into it! It’s going to be mayhem.

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