In this issue: We have the latest on restaurants closures and reopening as the pandemic rages on. There's a proposal to create bus-only lanes on Alvarado during peak morning and evening travel times. And take a virtual tour of Echo Park's neon signage.
Also, check out the Echo Park Guide to support neighborhood businesses.
Now, read on!
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Echo Park Scene
If you're into L.A. streetcar history, then you certainly loved some of the recent notices alerting passengers to a service change on the Echo Park Avenue Line. But the black-and-white notices are not referring to the DASH bus. Instead, these are copies of a notice from August 1944 when a Pacific Electric street car traveled as far north as Cerro Gordo Street.
News & Notes
The right-hand lanes along Alvarado Street south of Sunset may become dedicated exclusively to buses during peak commute hours. Transportation officials are studying the feasibility of bus priority lanes Monday through Friday from 7 am to 10 am southbound, and 3 pm to 7 pm northbound. It would go as far south as 7th Street. That's only about 1.7 miles. But an average of 12,000 passengers ride along there each week, at least during pre-COVID times. Metro estimates the bus priority lanes would improve bus speeds by as much as 15%.
All lanes along the First Street Bridge are now open again after an extensive renovation. The span over Glendale Boulevard was widened by 2.5 feet on each side, and received an earthquake retrofit. According to the most recent estimate, back in May, the cost of renovation was $11 million.
Counterpart Vegan on Echo Park Avenue has announced it is closing and holding out hope to reopen in another spot in the neighborhood. A GoFundMe page has been opened to support the possible reopening. “My team and I worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep our restaurant operating, our staff employed, and our community fed,” said owner and executive chef Almitra Williams, who promised to return any contributions if the restaurant does not return. “Unfortunately, as is often the case in L.A., what is good for the community and small businesses does not always matter to those in control of real estate, no matter how dire the circumstances are.”
In the meantime, Cosa Buona at Sunset and Alvarado reopened Tuesday. They had been closed for a week after one of the employees tested positive for COVID-19. "We needed time to get our staff tested and our building sanitized," the restaurant stated in its Instagram. They also said the infected employee is doing well.
Restaurants are not the only businesses to have closed recently. The Bank of America and Citibank branches on Sunset were closed temporarily this week. Several other nearby branches were also closed or have had their hours shortened, according to information posted on the banks' websites on Wednesday. What's going on? The banks have not said but the closures come amid the biggest surge yet in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Dorian Electra has released a new full-length album, “My Agenda,” which the New York Times said “tangles together metal, dubstep and hard-core punk.” Originally from Houston, the gender-fluid pop star now lives in an Echo Park Victorian with nine roommates. The album was written in October, and addresses Internet toxicity with songs written from the perspective of incels — or “involuntary celibates,” who frequently complain online about women.
The Museum of Neon Art is holding a Zoom tour of Echo Park on Friday, at 6:30 p.m. "Evangelism, Electric Signs, and Early Hollywood come to light in this illuminated Zoom presentation," the museum's web site says. "Get a behind the bulb history of Echo Park's signage with Historian and author Dydia DeLyser, Neon Expert Paul Greenstein, and MONA Executive Director Corrie Siegel." Among other things, MONA is the current resting place of the old House of Spirits sign that used to be perched along Echo Park Avenue.
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Friday, Dec. 18: Echo Park Farmers' Market
Saturday, Dec. 19: Virtual Echo Park Community Parade
Crimes this week included a robbery in the 1500 block of Sunset, a burglary in the 1400 block of Alvarado, and a rape in the 1500 block of Scott, according to CrimeMapping.com.
What do you love about Echo Park?
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