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.