Dept. of WTF: Gil Cedillo Paves the Park

It is becoming increasingly evident that Gil Cedillo does indeed possess the quality most necessary for a member of the Los Angeles City Council: and that is an utter lack of imagination. Coupled with demure subservience to his out-of-district campaign contributors and his pandering to the self-proclaimed elites of LA, mostly developers, and you have, to modify another Gilbert’s phrase, “the very model of a modern city councilman.”

His latest stupid politician trick is a real stunner—or it would be, except that we expect this now from this most hopeless of so-called representatives: He is planning to spend over $800,000 to pave over part of Lincoln park so that his beloved motorheads need not sully the soles of their Gucci shoes with soil or grass while slumming at the Plaza de la Raza.

Of course, they’ve already been arrogantly parking on the grass in an effort to avoid actually strolling when they visit the park. So what’s Cedillo’s answer? Pave away, of course! To paraphrase the words of Vietnam War apologists, “We have to destroy the park in order to save it.” This, in the most park-poor of major US cities, in a neighborhood desperate for recreation and nature.

This park is in 90031, a ZIP code where, according to City-Data.com, 13.5% of the households own no car at all, and 33.5% own only one, which is probably being driven to work, not to the park. Families in adjacent ZIP codes own even fewer cars: in nearby East Los Angeles, over 21% of households have no car. True, the roads around Lincoln Park are crowded with other people’s cars—but the incessant traffic is one thing folks go to a park to escape. They need relief, not more traffic in the park itself.

In the age of Über, does parking über alles really make sense?

Especially as there are vast parking lots just across Valley Boulevard from the park. As you can see in the map, there’s even a handy crosswalk leading to a pleasant stroll around a lake, which takes one to the Plaza de a Raza:

In the new sharing economy, it’s not just car and bike sharing that are big: “shared parking” has become a growing trend. Let’s try that here. Those lots are never full. They belong to the DMV, which has made lots available for public parking before, as in San Francisco.

Maybe Cedillo could devote that $800,000 to funding a shuttle for those who can’t, for reasons of physical or psychological debility, walk so far—counting the stroll around the lake, it’s about one city block. That might at least provide a couple of driving jobs for local residents.

What do you think of paving the park? Leave comments below or at Josef’s earlier post on this subject.

Or better yet, email Cedillo and Mayor Garcetti with your thoughts:

Arturo Chavez
Chief of Staff for Gil Cedillo
Arturo.Chavez@lacity.org

Mayor Eric Garcetti
mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

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7 Comments

  1. Mario Torres
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    In a community with the demographics you provided, a school of visual and performance arts that provides these services to clients of all ages when the public school system has virtually cuts their arts programs, is a great asset to the community. Children will not have to cross the highly trafficked boulevard. The new structure will include a safe drop-off zone away from traffic. Contrary to your statement, the majority of children attending Plaza De La Raza arrive there in cars. The availability of parking space around the lake is usually saturated with overflow cars related to DMV clients or visitors to the hospital complex on the other side of Valley Boulevard. Best regards.

  2. Raymond Rios
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    To respond to your criticism of Councilman Cedillo creating a parking area for Plaza de la Raza. What’s wrong with that? I am a long time resident and community advocate who still resides in the area around Lincoln Park, Hazard Park, and El Sereno and I’ve been around long enough to see both the good and the bad in our community. This parking area is a good thing for OUR COMMUNITY. It provides our community with a whole variety of programs in the arts that would otherwise not be available to our residents. We loved our old Boat House but if it were to be used for something else, Plaza fulfills it in a very positive manner. The video that you showed is so misleading to viewers about all the free parking space around the park. The truth is that there is little community parking on most days, especially weekdays. Between the DMV, Forever 21, and USC Health Science using up all the community parking and access to the park, their leaves no parking for the residents until after 6pm weekdays. So the loss of a little green space is certainly alright with me. Leave the few positive aspects of our community in peace. If you want to use your blog constructively, look at the other side of the park where all the community parking to access the Lincoln Park is being taken up daily by USC employees/students for free. Ray Rios

  3. Rick Risemberg
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Well, rather than assume, as we have in this country for seventy years or so, that the only possible hope is to pave more and more of our city, parks, hills, whatever, and wipe out communities for wider roads, to make room for ever more and more cars, I tried something else:

    I initiated a contact with LADOT to provide DASH bus service to Lincoln Park. There are two DASH liens in the area now, but both skip the park. DASH is extremely cheap–less than half the price of Metro–and is meant to have routes customized to community travel patterns. This is a small first step, but it will help get people to the park without forcing them to drive cars, and could not only increase park access for the many people in the community who don’t have a car, but free others form having to brave traffic and find that precious parking spot.

    Anybody want to join me in lobbying for this? Post a note asking Josef to give me your email address. After all, the real solution to parking problems is simply not to make parking cars necessary, by making cars less necessary. Right now we burden the community with the costs and inconveniences of cars, because of LA’s lack of imagination when it comes to access.

    Cars aren’t a mandate from heaven; they create hellish conditions on our streets ad in our neighborhoods (and now parks!). There are other ways to get around that don’t require us to sacrifice parks, health, safety, and community spirit.

  4. Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Raymond Rios,

    Proving you wrong about “the lack of parking” is already done – I’ve filmed, photographed, and documented the open parking in numerous free lots and on the surrounding streets around Lincoln Park.

    The question I have for you: how many folklorico classes do I have to teach before I can drive into the middle of a public park?

    Why can’t people in wheelchairs have the $5,000 needed to bring access to the park up to the bare minimum of access standards?

    The users of the Plaza are a nasty, entitled, group of snobs when it comes to their place in this community. You teach culture and the arts? Great! Please stop ruining the park grounds!!!

  5. Raymond Rios
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you have a personal issue with Plaza Richard. If you are so concerned with preservation of green space in our public parks, where have you been regarding the preservation of Hazard Park just on the other side of the tracks? We’ve been fighting that battle for over two years. Regarding the filming once again, try filming the streets on any given weekday along Valley Blvd. between 7am and 6pm and post it so that viewers can see the real lack of parking for residents. Anyone who lives in our local community knows the true story of residential parking being taken up by the powers of Universities and Corporations. Most local residents don’t have a problem with Plaza receiving a new parking area either. Maybe you should get involved with the park and see all the positive activities that are occurring on a daily basis. We are currently planning an Independence Day Fireworks celebration at Lincoln Park and Plaza is working closely with our community. Their staff has not struck me as “nasty, entitled, group of snobs” at all. You are also more than welcome to join us in our efforts to improve our parks via our Advisory Boards in Lincoln, Hazard, and Ascot Hills Nature Park in El Sereno. Thanks, Ray

  6. Rick Risemberg
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Just for the record, Mr. Rios, I did not write the comment you’re responding to above. “Admin” is Josef, longtime area resident and very involved with the park, where he frequently takes his daughter. Not by car, either.

  7. Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Raymond,

    Yes, I do have a personal issue with Plaza de la Raza. It has been outlined in a series of posts on my personal blog and here in this blog as well as in several YouTube videos. My personal problem is 100% due to illegal driving in the middle of my neighborhood park by Plaza staff and patrons. My problem also has to do with substandard pedestrian access to the park and removing of over an acre of park land for an unneeded parking lot at the cost to the City of $833,425.

    Regarding your other causes: no I will not attend your meetings. I am a private citizen with limited time and a limited budget. I will not become your, or anybody’s pawn. My posts, my videos, are not being done for any material gain and they cost me time and effort. I do them because this park is my neighborhood park, not because I have some savior complex or ego to stroke through certificates of appreciation or what have you. This isn’t extra credit, or “my civic duty”. This is me trying to keep people from abusing the park I rely on to find peace in this torn up worn down over run mass motoring neighborhood.