la puente del sereno

*new* bridge in El Sereno. Long overdue in a much neglected neighborhood.

*new* bridge in El Sereno. Long overdue in a much neglected neighborhood.

This train crossing has long filled with ire the community.  The train companies would often leave their trains stopped on tracks, blocking the way.

There are rules against the trains staying immobile for a certain amount of time.  To circumvent these rules, operators often would slowly move their trains back &  forth. (Not to speak of the pollution these trains leave in their wake in the neighborhood.) I have heard stories of drivers getting out of their cars and throwing rocks at the trains. I think this is great. Direct action gets the goods. A local newspaper said that people should tray to stay within “legal” means, but apparently for years-years-and-years that didn’t work. Maybe those rocks reached the offices of the city finally putting up this bridge.
I lived in this neighborhood and I know first hand how long this was overdue.  An elderly former neighbor of mine told me that the apparently the money had been there to build this bridge for years and years  but never had been built.  He worked for the City, and specifically for the Los Angeles Public Library since the 40s.  He often commented on how Alhambra already had the bridge running below grade for years while we still had to deal with this railroad crossing.
[note: I had originally posted to my own blog, but I thought it’d be fitting here as well.]

10 thoughts on “la puente del sereno

  1. Gracias a Dios! I must have spent a whole year out of my life screwing around waiting for a train moving at 5 miles per hour, usually one locomotive and one car, to pass that crossing at Valley and Mariana.

  2. I have to throw in my two cents on this one: I think that bridge is a horrible mis-allocation of money.

    Do you know how much it cost to build?

    $60 million.

    That, coincidentally, is the same cost of making the entire City of L.A. a bikeway network. The money was awarded in the 2007 MTA Call For Projects to the City of L.A. because the mayor was looking for something to help Jose Huizar get re-elected.

    It has done a lot to create jobs in East L.A., no?

    (No, it hasn’t)

  3. it’s great the bridge is up and running now but i find the smaller population who turn left onto Alhambra Rd instead of crossing the tracks is now screwed. you either have to detour onto Eastern to Druid into the allies before turning back onto Alhambra. or take the bridge then cross the tracks to make a right onto Alhambra.

  4. I understand your feelings ubrayj02, but I too am a bicycle-commuter in the NELA. On my way to school (which is when I took this picture) there have been many times when this train crossing has hindered my getting there on time. There have been times when it would take to so long that I would have to do a 8-mile detour just to get around.

    And I see plenty of everyday bicycle commuters getting ’round this neighborhood.

  5. I think the thing that ticks me off the most is that projects like this do not create jobs in the area. This type of proejct only allows even more people to rapidly move THROUGH the eastside, and not TO the eastside.

  6. Waiting for the train here is something I will miss. Trains are something that distinguishes the east-side, from the west-side. There ARE NO TRAINS west of downtown. Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Culver City, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Venice, Santa Monica -none. They got rid of them all. The Eastside is where rail lives!

    Oh and, that whole $60 million price tag is just ludicrous!

  7. WALT! – for real?!

    I think you’re the only dude I’ve seen that likes waiting for a train to pass the tracks.

    Grade separations are all good and everything – but this one just helps more cars drive through the Eastside of town.

    Part of the history of this portion of L.A. has to do with the negative after-effects of regional, car-based, transportation planning. I didn’t see any local contractors working on this project – just a bunch of guys from way out of the county.

    There bridge doesn’t make the area better for business – it just makes it easier for people in the SGV to quickly pass through El Sereno and Lincoln Heights going from work to home. All we get it more air pollution, noise, and blight.

    $60 million is a lot of money. A fraction of that could have improved a lot of sub-standard, narrow, and destroyed sidewalks on the Eastside – something that would have measurably benefited local (Los Angeles-based, locally owned) businesses.

    That money could have built a community center and a library, or a big park somewhere for the community to use for years to come.

    Our city fathers are always cash-strapped when it comes to meeting our needs as citizens – but when it comes to helping us drive more and consume it’s one huge subsidized day dream.

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