Saturday, October 22, 2016

Echo Park gas station poses a glaring problem

It’s after 7 p.m. and darkness has fallen across Echo Park –  except at the corner Echo Park and Morton avenues. Here, the corner is bathed in a bright-white light that bounces off the walls of nearby apartment buildings and condos.  The light is courtesy of the new Chevron station that recently opened in the former Echo Fuels – aka Magic Gas  – station – that had been closed for a year.   While some welcome the reopening of the gas station, some neighbors are not happy about the bright lights and signage.

An Echo Park resident who has lived near the intersection for eight years says the new gas station and all those lights are better suited for a location on a freeway exit and  not in the middle of a predominately residential neighborhood:

I am horrified. It looks like Glendale Boulevard. Nasty, bright, fluorescent, obnoxious.  Is all of this insane amount of light necessary? I almost want to drive into it as I come up Echo Park Ave, it’s so mesmerizing and everything else is thrown into shadow. Time to move, Echo Park is officially dead.

The lights and signage look like a typical Chevron station but perhaps it stands out more in a part of Echo Park where most businesses close in the evening and there are few illuminated signs.  According to building permits the station, has a total of 10 signs: 6 illuminated wall signs; four individual channel letter wall signs and two box wall signs.

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  1. When I turned up Echo Park from Sunset the first time this entire station was lit up, I was aghast. It stares at you all the way up the street. You’d think you were about to enter a freeway. It is hateful. I hate it hate it hate it. And if I lived in the adjoining buildings, I think I would be forced to become a vandal as well. What the hell is all this light necessary for? Hate it. I will never use it. Srsly. Arf.

  2. How can this be allowed by building and safety! knowing the City they did not look at a map and had no clue that this is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I will be making a complaint. I hope that all you Eastsider readers will do the same. It can be changed but we need many loud voices and letters.

    • Echo Park resident

      Where’s the best place to send a complaint? I finally was able to find an affordable house in this part of Echo Park and I’m so happy to move into the hills — but definitely wasn’t expecting this atrocity to basically destroy the integrity of the neighborhood.

      This really isn’t a good spot for a gas station to begin with. This area of Echo Park isn’t a main thoroughfare — so why would anyone who needed gas past dark need to come up Echo Park Ave to refuel? There’s plenty of 24 hr gas stations nearby on main roads like Sunset and Glendale. Poor planning, poor treatment of residents, poor idea all around.

      • OK, I agree with everyone who says the sign is too bright at night. It definitely is.

        But before we all freak out and call city hall…

        Has anyone tried walking over there and politely talking with the owner? One of my neighbors went over there yesterday for gas and said the owners were very nice and friendly. Maybe a simple neighborly agreement can be reached here. Perhaps dimming or turning off the main sign after 9? I also noticed the sign was NOT lit up last night around 11:30. Maybe they already got the message? Either way I will try and go over there and and have a polite chat with the guy when I can.

      • If you could figure out how to buy a house, I bet you can also figure out the most appropriate way to make your complaint known to the owner of this new business.

        Also–could you list the 24 hour gas stations open on Sunset and Glendale? Because it would help me to know!

        • Echo Park resident

          Wow, thanks for the judgey comment! Where did I say I bought a house? All I said was that I found an affordable house — so how does that mean I bought it, exactly?

          There’s a Chevron and an Arco on Glendale north of Sunset. There’s a 76 on Alvarado and Sunset. There’s that new United Oil (??) on Sunset by the Shortstop with the mermaid/ocean theme.

          Not good enough? What about the Chevron on Glendale immediately south of the 101? Or the Arco on Alvarado and Temple? Or the Chevron on Alvarado and Beverly? Or the Mobil on Silver Lake?

      • I was always a gas station.

      • On October 8th at 7pm there was a Planning and Land Use Committee meeting. The PLUC is a committee of the Neighborhood Council, GEPENC.

        These concerns with bright lights are EXACTLY the kind of issue the Committee and the Neighborhood Council can help with.

        You absolutely should start a petition at change.org about the bright lights. Get at least 50 people to sign it (not difficult) and come to the next Neighborhood Council meeting posted on the GEPENC website and make public comments. Present your issue and your signed petition. You can also call 213-221-7052 to talk with them. You will get results!

        We have started a petition to set limits on over-sized development in Echo Park and in just one day we’ve had 80 online signatures and another 50 hand written.

        Specifically we are focusing on the 70 Ft tall, three-blocks-long corporate apartment towers they want to put next to Guisados, where the Do It Center is now. Our petition is to keep the project under 45′ tall, in accordance with the Community Plan for Echo Park.

        Please sign it if you believe– and as Mitch O’Farrell has suggested– 45′ is tall enough in Echo Park. No more height variances and density bonuses: Follow the rules as written.

        http://chn.ge/18KtS7r CLICK ON THE LINK TO SIGN

  3. A Homeless Gentleman

    Where are the gangsters when you need them? They care so much about their neighborhood and should do something! This is why the injunction was wrong! This sign is racist!

  4. Light Pollution is horrible and dehumanizing as it robs us of the dark and night. Whoever put it in can tone it down. This is not the place for such glaring signage. The creative question now is how to install a new kind of lighting that insures safety and doesn’t SHOUT ALL NIGHT LONG. There are solutions fitting this precious part of the neighborhood. It might start with toning back and warming the light, and aiming it downward where it is needed. Perhaps a local gaffer from the film world can help out? So far this is a corporate canned response, but this area deserves and is capable of providing a creative one.

    • Dehumanizing, ha.

      And for all you scared of the cholos I would think some bright lights would help you feel safer walking down the street. Always gotta find something to bitch about tho right?

      I don’t know what time they turn off the lights but when I drove by it after leaving Dodgers Stadium (by the way, WOOOOOOOOOOO!) at 1145pm-ish they were already off.

  5. You people are pretty ridiculous. Put up some window blinds or curtains. Would you rather walk down a darkened street where no one will see you if you get attacked by one of your gangsters?

    • Abbey, you are absolutely correct. Dont you guys have blinds, shutters, curtains?

      • Blinds and curtains can’t keep out absurdly bright lights. We’re not talking a neighbor’s porch light or holiday lights — these are industrial strength, super bright lights suited for placement on a MAIN street, not smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

        I’m guessing you don’t live near this gas station. Why don’t you swap houses with someone who does and see if you’re still OK with the lighting.

        • U need to used black glassess or go where is no iight just darkness !!!!!!!!!! Why people waite for mornin !!!!!! Sun shine very bright to complain about to city hall also

  6. I’m glad to finally have the gas station re-open, but they seriously need to install a dimmer switch on those lights.

  7. It is VERY bright, but partly that is because this part of Echo Park is so terribly dark. I’m happy the place is open, instead of an ugly blight on the street corner. I think if the city could add a couple more street lights to Morton Ave, this place would be less glaring, and residents could walk the streets at night without tripping over uneven pavement or debris.

  8. Are these comments for real?

  9. All i hear is crying..if it was another coffee house with full bright lights, there would be no complaints.

  10. Jejeje hahahaha LMAO…. FIRST ITS TOO DARK , its so scary, the cholo’s gonna get me . WA LA ,.lighting not costing the city a cent. I’m reading this and say awesome karma for chicken corner.
    This Indian feels safety frm. The Pilgrim’s …love the bright lights.
    Could it be your mad you lost a parking space?? These posts are too funny. Damn if ya do famed if ya dont.

  11. For a bunch of vegan ,gluten free, dog friendly ,gang-injunction loving , priius driving , almond milk drinking floppy hat wearing place Echo Park has become , What a bunch of cry babies at the stupidest things…………..”oh the lights ” when there are starving people in the world ! Get over yourselves ! UGH!

    • Let’s see … I am an unrepentant carnivore – bbqed some bacon-beef burgers last night on my patio … gluten schmuten – I don’t have Celiac disease and I don’t care … I have walked from my home down to businesses on Sunset for 12 years at all times of day and esp. night and I have never been scared and I have no opinion on the injunction … I drive a gas-powered 95 Honda and have no intention of buying a Prius or similar … almond milk is ok but I can’t even remember the last time I drank some and I sure didn’t buy it … floppy hats? I don’t own one (and I think knit cap would have been a better stereotype) … but I own two dogs. I guess getting 1 outta 7 ain’t bad, is it peaceout? I moved here before the scene sucked and the gas station still sucks. You betray your intelligence. Arf.

    • Stereotyping like this doesn’t help our community.

      You’d probably label me a “hipster” or a “whitey” or whatever the insult du jour is. In reality, I’m half Hispanic, the daughter of an immigrant from a Latin American country. I live in Echo Park, sure — but I don’t own any dogs; I am not (nor will I ever be) a vegan; I think people who eat gluten free diets are nutty fad followers; I’m way too poor to even afford a Prius so I drive a 13 year old car with 200,000 miles; I’m not vegan, so I don’t need to mess with almond milk; I had a floppy straw hat I would wear when I was gardening, but it fell apart; I do not support gang violence or intimidation.

      Instead of being so insanely ignorant and judgmental, maybe you should talk to some of your neighbors and start being a productive member of this community.

      • You definitely are the ignorant one if you can’t see the message in my post is that there are other more pressing issues in the world then the brightness of lights …
        Signed, Happy business owner ,home owner,3rd generation Echo PArker , since 1965

        • You might have missed the point that this is a COMMUNITY BLOG and not the New York Times.

          You wanna talk about global issues? Then go comment on a publication that covers those topics. We’re free to discuss issues that affect the neighborhood and community here.

    • So, anyone who doesn’t live in a third world hellhole has no right to complain about anything? Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic.

  12. An online petition should be started. I’m happy to have a gas station but the bright sign isn’t necessary.

  13. Echopark neighbor

    No one is crying wolf here! I’m happy they finally opened the gas station I hope they do well but those lights? Man are they glaring and totally not necessacery. Yes Morton needs more lights, but not the type of lights you can see from blocks away. I hope we can find a friendly solution to this issue.

  14. I used to live near a 7-11 which had massive lights tilted up that put glare in the windows all down the block all night – it was a real problem to cover up the windows at night, because it was also the East facing window – natural circadian rhythms need this cycle. As you can see in this picture in the adjacent apartment complex those aren’t televisions, those are Chevron lights. Unintelligent lighting design is a real problem, especially in poorer neighborhoods and the kind of willful stupidity found in several above posts should be ignored – these are just kids testing their ignorance against real social concerns. It isn’t difficult to light neighborhoods safely and minimally without ruining homes. It just takes getting past a certain amount of apathy and ignorance. It’s usually even cheaper.

  15. Just wait 2-3 months for a few bulbs to burn out and not be replaced.

    “community action through in-action” 😛

  16. Way, way too bright. Don’t mind the gas station but the lights have to go.

  17. I love it. The lights make the area safer. Plus they are red white and blue. Reminds me I’m American, and we make the world safer. Just like the Chevron station. So im proud to be a Chevron customer just like im proud to be an American and I will continue to fill my tank there.

  18. The sign is definitely too bright and completely obnoxious. Confused why it’s even allowed in such a densely residential area.

  19. I haven’t talked to the new operators of the gas station but did think it was agreeable that they let people park there during the early part of the re-construction. Quite aside from the night lights, however, I was dismayed to see the number of large signs that Chevron installed at the station. Surely a small gas station in a largely residential neighborhood needs only a couple of modestly proportioned signs. And surely Chevron has the resources to design stations that fit their neighborhoods. Just the sight of these many signs made me resolve never to get gas there. I hope others will do the same.

    As to the lights, yes, speaking to the operator is probably a good first step and I will do that. But even if the lights are dimmed or turned off, something needs to be done about the signs. What’s with the City’s permitting process? It seems Chevron was required to get permission for all of these signs. Either the person who approved the permit has no sense of what signage might be appropriate or the City needs to revise its rules on what’s allowed in commercial areas in small neighborhoods.

    And as to the Chevron eyesore being a good way to make gangs less threatening — come on!

  20. Listen you sh!T HIPSTERS i have been living here for more than 25 years
    U complain about stupid lights wait till they dimm them u might get robbed or mugged IDIOTS I THINK WITH BRIGHTER LIGHTS IS SAFER F’n “RICHARDS”!!!!!

  21. This place is an atrocity. Only in L.A. would they put up another gas station! Echo Park Avenue is a beautiful residential street – ruined by this giant flying saucer that landed out of nowhere (yes, I know there was a gas station here before – but it wasn’t this bright).

    In any other city (Portland, NYC, Seattle), the neighborhood would have gotten together to put in a park or something.

    Pathetic. I feel for those who have to live next to it. If I was a nearby resident I’d start a petition to get this thing torn down.

    Why can’t L.A. have decent neighborhoods without them continuously being threatened by awful development that caters to the automobile?

    • The biggest problem is that gas stations tend to leave behind lots of leaked fuel and oil and other pollutants in the soil. That sort of ground contamination is legal under a gas station or other car-focused business, but if you want to turn the land into anything else (especially a park), you have to do a whole lot of remediation. That’s probably a good requirement, except that it means that once a neighborhood has a gas station, it’s nearly impossible to make the land useful for any other purpose.

    • A Homeless Gentleman

      How crazy are you? If you like Portland move there you dummy.

      • Um… that’s the city of LA’s current policy on soil poluted grounds, so before you ask the guy to move to portland, might want to get the facts straight.

  22. I am happy this gas station has opened and find many of these comments extremely rude and passive aggressive. If you have the time to vent your complaints so bitterly here, surely you have time to walk over to a new business in the neighborhood, politely greet the owners, and straightforwardly voice your concerns.

    That corner has been an eyesore in the neighborhood for the past chunk of years, with its rotating series of short-lived businesses. It was nice of the owners to let people park there for the last few months, but it was also dangerous and annoying when walking by to have constantly move around people cramming their cars into that space as tightly as possible.

    If the light level is such a problem for you, pull yourself together and approach the owners politely.

    Personally, I am really glad we have another gas station to go to and think that it will prove to be very convenient for the neighborhood.

  23. I’m glad that the gas station reopened and I’m sure with all of this complaining the owner will address the problem of the glaring light. The biggest downside is that with all of the bright light, I can see that ugly townhouse development across the street. Look on the bright side, with the lights and security cameras, we won’t see any crime on that corner.

    • EP|EchoPark|kraPohcE

      oh be nice hillster I live in that ugly townhouse, as do 50 other folks and what’s uglier. the vacant weed strewn lot with the unfinished foundations and cracked sidewalks that sat for 2+ years or a finished occupied townhome community with landscaping and a color palate that takes it queue from the neighborhood, olive, maroon. And while I agree the lighting isn’t very dark sky friendly (and I admit even too bright for my tastes).. what street do you feel safer walking down? that one or the stretch of echo with zero lighting. If there’s any downside to the bright lighting it is illuminating the rundown apt buildings like the one behind the Chevron on Morton..

  24. I went by there tonight and mentioned all the online bitching to the owner, who was mortified. They’re super nice, aim to be accommodating, and were (apparently) previously asked by neighbors to ADD MORE LIGHT (which they have already done) because people said it was still a dark and creepy corner.

    People need to calm down. I think it’s nice to have a 24 source of light and safety on what was a pretty iffy corner at night just a couple weeks ago.

    And maybe this place can persuade Chango and Cookbook not to close so damn early and light up the other side of the street for some balance.

  25. Dr Reginald Harris

    After reading all these comments I kinda hope Chevron installs brighter lights.

  26. Los Angeles Municipal Code

    Several Los Angeles Municipal Code chapters govern nighttime illumination as summerized below:

    Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 12.21 A 5 (k) All lights used to illuminate a parking area shall be designed,
    located, and arranged so as to reflect the light away from any streets and adjacent premises.

    Chapter 9, Article 3, Section 93.0117 No exterior light source may cause more than two foot candles of
    lighting intensity or generate direct glare onto exterior glazed windows or glass doors: elevated habitable porch, dekc, or balcony, or any ground surface intended for uses such as recreation, barbecue or lawn areas or any other property containing a residential unit or units.

    Also, check out City of Los Angeles, General Plan. Silver Lake-Echo Park-Elysian Valley Community Plan Chapter V Urban Plan (2004) V-6.

    A foot candle is a common unit of measurement of light intensity, or illuminance, used in the
    engineering industry and cited in building codes

    This is from a City of LA document concerning the Barlow project. City of Los Angeles Barlow Hospital Replacement and Master Plan Project Draft EIR April 2012 Part IV.A.2 Light & Glare

    • Sorry for typing errors, I was transcribing from a pdf document (couldn’t do a copy/paste) but I thought the info useful for this discussion and situation.

  27. Well, at least it’s not a Kenny Rogers Roasters

  28. It amazes me every time I look at this website there is something new that everyone is complaining about. I guess you all liked the abandoned gas station instead.

    Who pumps gas in the dark. You people are crazy.

    • This shouldn’t have been turned back into a gas station. It could have made a nice restaurant or shop.

      There are MANY gas stations in the area. This might have worked back in the 20s when a small, community gas station was needed for people who lived up in the hills — but with the way cars work now, and the location of gas stations in proximity to the EP Hills, this was just poor planning all around.

      • Well when you have enough to buy it you can buy it and turn it into a darkly lit restaurant.

      • Chevron would not have allowed the franchisee to open at the former Magic Gas location had they not been satisfied with the traffic and business potential. Chicken Corner obviously has enough traffic to support a major gasoline franchise. This means that other national companies will also be interested in opening on Echo Park Avenue.

  29. We use to live up Morton. I think I would be sort of shocked too since the neighborhood is quite dark, even when Magic Gas and EP Gas (?) was there.

    Don’t buy gas there and maybe it’ll close down. What is up with all the bright gas stations in EP in the last year?

  30. For the folks who won’t be placated by any lighting modifications the owner tries to make, I have a modest proposal: Candles. The owner could place a stand next to each pump that holds an artistic candle, preferably hand-crafted by a local. This would provide a warm, even romantic ambience and would fit more with the folksy, residential, and yes, slightly-irrational vibe of the neighborhood.

  31. Stop crying about a gas station getting put up with bright lights it’s not like they’re kicking you out of your home to rebuild something you can’t afford.

  32. Happy to have a gas station, but the look is unfortunately not in any way going to please the neighborhood zealots who appreciate the haphazardly curated look of EP.

    Station owners, we’re aware that you can’t really dim flourescent lights, so please just take the wattage down by 50% when you next replace the bulbs, you don’t need much lighting to stand out on such a dark corner…

    Also, the new townhomes across the street have horribly glaring lighting pointing off the sides of them, but seems no one minds. I think it’s the lighting plus the sterile basic color palate of chevron’s design that offend in unison.

  33. Please shut your Gentry pie-hole it’s called mix-use you mixed-nuts…

  34. Well, it is really said and there should be a proper check each time to avoid such problems further. But first it needs to fix this problem asap.

  35. I miss Magic Gas, sometimes I even pine for Echo Fuels. They might have been ripping off our credit cards, but I didn’t have glaring lights streaming though my heavy bedroom curtains every night. What’s a little fraud among neighbors?

    Those of you who are telling the complainers to shut up clearly don’t have a direct line of sight to Chevron. It’s not just a little annoying. It’s like living next to a border checkpoint.

  36. Not Another Neighbour

    ‘Time to move, Echo Park is officially dead.’ is the most clichéd hyperbole around.

  37. And soon we’ll all be used to it, and then expect it, and then like it and if the lights were turned off, people would complain about that.

  38. dunno if anyone has checked recently, but the lights don’t seem nearly as bright when it 1st opened. Or have I grown accustomed to your glare?

  39. I have contacted the Chevron corporation through its website. Urge people who have a problem with the lighting to do likewise.


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