Thursday, November 27, 2014

LA River: Marsh Park Nature Events Friday & Saturday

Photo: Diane Edwardson, August 16, 2014.  The gates from Marsh Park to the LA River depict some of the wildlife you can see on the river.

The weather's perfect for a walk or bike ride down to the LA River.  This is a great time of year to see lots of wildlife in and around the river.  There is a small parking lot at Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's Marsh Park, but the Red Car Property Neighborhood is close enough for you to bike or walk to Elysian Valley. (Before the freeways we were more connected to Elysian Valley).

Friday, November 28, 2014
10 AM 
River Life
Marsh Park
A ranger will lead a short walk, talking about the animals that call the river home. Presented by National Park Service. 1 hour, all ages.

Saturday, November 29, 2014
9 AM
Bird Walk
Marsh Park  
A naturalist will lead a bird walk & talk teach you how to ID LA River birds.  Be on the lookout for a rare osprey (a fishing eagle) that hangs out along that stretch of the river.  I've seen it a couple of times, but never seem to have a camera with me when I do see it. 
1 1/2 hours, presented by LA Audubon.

Then head on over to the Frog Spot at Benedict St on the LA River in Elysian Valley, sponsored by Friends of the LA River.

Click here for all our LA River related posts.

Click here for all our Elysian Valley related posts. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Red Car Canyon: Monarch Butterfly Bonanza Continues

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 23, 2014.  A Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) took a break on a native Coast Live Oak Tree in Red Car Canyon.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The wooded canyon between Lake View, Corralitas & Riverside Place has been the place to see Monarch Butterflies for the past few months.  The dappled light catches their wings as they flash brilliant orange flying between the trees.  On warm afternoons, you can see dozens of the majestic butterflies there.  The effect is magical.   

2014 has been an extraordinary butterfly year.  Click here for all our butterfly posts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Cotton Candy Clouds

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 22, 2014.  Sunset was particularly cotton candy-esque over Corralitas Drive Saturday.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Red Car Property: Someone's Idea of Cleaning Up Dumping Is Shoving It Aside

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 16, 2014.  This particular pile of dumping behind a Riverside Place home had been on the other side of the California Black Walnut Trees - you can even see the fresh semi-circular path of dirt where it was dragged to its current location.  Some of the pile had been in its previous location near Rose Scharlin Preschool for at least a year.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Photo: Diane Edwardson: September 23, 2014.  The first pile was joined by a second pile because dumping always attracts more.

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 23, 2014.  Right before Halloween, the second pile was shoved closer to the fence.  Here's a thought: if you're going to go to the trouble of moving piles of dumping around, load it in a truck and take it to the dump.

Click here for all our dumping related posts.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Red Car Canyon: Glass Tabletop Dumped

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 22, 2014.  What do they say about broken windows attracting more trouble?  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

A large, round, glass tabletop was dumped then shattered. It joined the pile of construction debris dumped in August.  A neighbor reports it was not there Friday when she walked her dog.  The same neighbor has been working on the pile of dumping, picking up what she can.   However, the Red Car Property owner's rep promised to take care of the original pile of dumping (along with others) months ago

We've seen piles of broken glass dumped in the vicinity before.

Recently, the Red Car Property owner resurrected a parking gate at India St to prevent dumping on the property.   We pointed out to the property owner's rep & CD13 that both India & Corralitas entrances to the property would need to be blocked to vehicle traffic to help prevent dumping by those driving onto the property. 

Click here for all our dumping related posts. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Taylor Yard: Metrolink Completes Health Risk Assessment

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2014, 7:48 AM. Almost 4 years after the community began organizing,   Metrolink blames the 5 Freeway for most of the pollution in the area.  (That's no excuse not to reduce their emissions - which their reductions seem to rely on a change over to more fuel efficient engines in the coming years.)  However the topography and atmospheric conditions trap the toxic brew including Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) & Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) close to the ground - particularly in the communities of Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights & Elysian Valley.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)  

Photo shot from Corralitas Drive, Silver Lake.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Red Car Property: India Street, Blue Sky, Power Lines, Open Gate

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 21, 2014.  Fall landscape, looking east from the Red Car Property on India St.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Corralitas Drive: Coming Soon
More Construction Hell

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 19, 2014.  At least they left us access to the communal lemon tree.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Building & Safety issued permits to build a duplex at 2612 - 2614 Corralitas Drive, a substandard, approximately 3900 sq ft lot, cut in 1961. (That's on this side of the Corralitas Public Staircase.)  You're supposed to have a 5000 sq ft lot for a duplex.  No variance was applied for.  No lot tie is indicated with the adjacent lower lot.  Neighbors are extremely concerned about parking on our No Parking on Red Flag Days Hillside Street.  (Inquiries have been made to CD13.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 22, 2014. The lot on the opposite side of the Corralitas Public Staircase was almost completely cleared of trees several weeks ago, including a  spectacular African Pencil Plant, a tremendous, fire resistant, tree-like succulent.  The property was denuded & fenced in, despite no building permits even having been applied for.  And developers wonder why neighbors hate them?  Don't cut down the trees until you're really ready to build.  

So maybe in a couple of years, by the time the first duplex is finished, the second lot will have their permits finalized - if everyone knows what they're doing.  If you haven't built in the hills before - you damn well better hire people who have.  We've chronicled neighborhood stalled development far too often.  It's not something we enjoy living with. 

In the last construction boom on Corralitas Drive, we endured 5 homes under construction at the same time.  Two builders knew what they were doing & completed construction in about 18 months each.  The other 3 homes sat in varying stages of half finished, unsafe, stop & start construction hell for the better part of 5 years.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Riverside Place: Sinkhole At Silver Lake Ave Patched - Sort Of *Corrected

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 18, 2014.  At some point, a pothole became a sinkhole at the large stormdrain at the corner of Riverside Place & Silver Lake Ave.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Not only is this a very large storm drain, there's quite a bit of water on the street when you consider there are no lawns, no front yards to speak of, and we had bone-dry weather for 3 days.   
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 18, 2014.  It is risky to walk across the street at this corner.   It's going to be dangerous to drive through in the rain, since the hole will fill with water and you won't be able to tell how deep it is.  From the looks of the surrounding pavement, it looks like it will only get worse. 

Word from a Riverside Place neighbor is the DWP fixed a broken water main just around the corner on Silver Lake Ave in 2009, that may have contributed to the decline of this sinkhole. 
Photo: Riverside Place Neighbor, November 18, 2014.  Around 4 PM yesterday, I submitted a photo to MyLA311, the City's service request app.  By 5:30 PM, a neighbor sent the above photo of a partially patched now barricaded pothole.  I've never seen such a quick response from the City.

(Enlarged from previous photo.)  At first I thought Bureau of Street Services had just put the safety marker up.  Closer examination reveals they did a an old minimal patch on the pothole, while leaving the degraded asphalt surrounding it, which should will only perpetuate the problem with each passing vehicle and every rain.

There are a number of elderly people who live within a few houses here - this is not exactly safe for anyone, let alone someone unstable on their feet.

Related stormdrain note: more than 10 years ago, Elysian Valley activist Rey Dominguez & I toured some international landscape architecture students through the area as part of an LA River design charette.  When we reached this stormdrain, one of the students from Japan stopped us & pointed out they had never seen stormdrains so large as ours in residential neighborhoods.  They took photos of this one in particular, blown away over the amount of storm runoff we must have warranting such large stormdrains.  (This one has since been obstructed by repaving.)  Yup, when it rains in Los Angeles - it pours - a lot.  Whatever the  BMPs (best management practices) are for stormwater runoff - triple it in this hillside neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Red Car Canyon: Chicken Of The Woods 1 Week Later; A Full Dinner Platter

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 18, 2014.  The Chicken of the Woods mushroom that had just sprouted so colorfully last week, flattened out to its full size and faded considerably.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 18, 2014.  The mushroom is a good 2 feet across.  (My boot measures 11 inches heel to toe.)

Click here for all our neighborhood mushroom posts.

Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity. MykoWeb is the resource everyone seems to refer to for mushrooms. The Los Angeles Mycological Society has a recommended reading list

If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Red Car Property: Sun Dried Mushrooms

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2014.  We've seen similar polypore mushrooms on this particular log before, just not so crispy.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity. MykoWeb is the resource everyone seems to refer to for mushrooms. The Los Angeles Mycological Society has a recommended reading list

If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Red Car Property: Dead Hawk Alert

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2014.  Late yesterday, a neighbor told me about a dead Red Tailed Hawk at the base of the slope going up to  Lake View (& Silver Ridge). (Click on photo to enlarge.)  

It looks like the hawk died a few days ago.  It appears something decapitated it after it was already dead (the head is about a foot away).  The hawk does not appear to have been eaten by other animals.  

Since it is very unusual to find a dead hawk in the neighborhood, I submitted a report to the State's Dead Bird Hotline for West Nile Virus, now online.  They are not currently picking up dead birds in our area so per their advice I also submitted a request to the City's MyLA311 app for dead animal pick up.  (Not counting on that to happen - so keep your dogs on a leash.)  Maybe one of the migrating Turkey Vultures will take care of it. 

According to the State's FAQ on West Nile Virus, you cannot catch West Nile Virus from contact with a dead animal, only from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Without a necropsy there is no way to tell what killed the hawk.  Considering we once rescued a Red Tailed Hawk that had been shot with a gun, you just don't know. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase: Sunrise

Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, November 12, 2014.  Clouds rolled in like waves with the sunrise earlier this week.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Lot C: Film Shoot Blocked Access To Red Car Property At India Yesterday

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 13, 2014.  A film crew who had earlier taken over the cul-de-sac at the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property (I witnessed that), later took over the India Street entrance to the property.  (Click on photo to enlarge.) 

I received emails from several neighbors, including the following from a neighbor: 

"Came through the gate about an hour ago. Bunch of twenty-somethings (that didn't want to talk to me) were letting more of their group in and asking/telling neighbors that they couldn't park on the Red Car."

Another neighbor said LAPD showed up & the crew left shortly thereafter.  For once, the lawlessness of the Red Car Property did not prevail. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Echo Park: In Memoriam, Judy Raskin 1934-2014, Community Activist

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 14, 2013.  Red Tailed Hawk.

This morning, a memorial took place at Echo Park Lake for Judy Raskin, a tireless community activist & active birder.  Judy organized the annual bird count at Echo Park Lake for the Audubon Society.  She was active in Echo Park advisory board (which did not include the lake), Echo Park Improvement Association (EPIA) Neighborhood Issues Committee & was an animal advocate helping care for & find homes for animals in need.  

I've know Judy for at least 20 years as a fellow community activist.  She was a natural leader & strategist, who saw the big picture, not just the NIMBY issues.  Our shared projects were first the Glendale Corridor Project (south of the 2 Freeway Terminus) & the 2 Freeway Terminus Project in which Judy managed to sustain community interest for almost 20 years as chair of the Echo Park Community Action Committee (Echo Park CAC).   

As with any multi-year/decades long planning process covering such a huge area with multiple individual neighborhood issues, revolving door politicians & constantly changing project managers, it's about as simple as herding cats.  Judy used her skills as a retired publicist, finding leaders in individual neighborhoods, tapping their skills & organizing abilities, persuading community leaders with specialized technical knowledge into taking active rolls creating alternative plans and finding flaws in what was being sold to the community & mercifully, only calling big community meetings when really necessary to hold CalTrans & Metro accountable.    

Judy saw the Glendale Blvd Corridor from the 2 & 5 Freeway Interchange all the to Echo Park Lake as pieces that had to work together rather than individual projects existing in a vacuum (which is how projects are approved).  

Judy & Echo Park CAC created a plan to put a park on the 2 Freeway Terminus flyover ramp that was supposed to be taken out of commission when the 2 Freeway Terminus Project first started 17 or 18 years ago.  The community driven plan put a park on the current (soon to be removed) northbound exit to Glendale Blvd at the Terminus.  One option included plans for a bike lane from the Terminus to the Red Car Property on the Silver Lake side of the southbound 2 Freeway.  

The community driven plan for the 2 Freeway Terminus was considered among the variety of plans in the Environmental Impact Report in 2009 - this itself is an acheivement.  The community was overwhelming in support of it.  A year or two later, CalTrans came back with an entirely new plan, calling it a "Hybrid Plan" ("people like hybrids - they'll like this plan"), deeming the environmental review complete & no one is happy with the plan we're getting as a result. However, after the length of time, you have to commend Judy for the high level of work, professionalism & organization that got us to this point.  

The community lost another tremendous asset. She will be remembered & missed by so many activists and friends.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lot C: Drought So Bad Even The Cactus Has Run Out Of Stored Water

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 11, 2014.  Seemingly overnight, the large patch of Mission Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) at the entrance to the Red Car Property at India St, looks like it was deflated.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Three years of record drought is taking its toll the landscape of Los Angeles.  When it's so bad, well established cactus runs through all of its stored moisture, you know the drought is serious.  The large pads of this cactus will get thinner in dry months, but I've never seen them this bad in the 24 years I've walked the Red Car Property.  Severe drought leaves this cactus more susceptible to insects, fungus & disease.  (The patches of white on the cactus pads are cochineal insects.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 11, 2014.  Luckily, cactus usually rebounds with rain, if fungus hasn't taken hold.  However, those dead trees are not going to return.  They've been dead for a couple of years now (documented on the blog: alive in July 2012).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Red Car Canyon: Chicken Of The Woods

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 10, 2014.  Measuring more than a foot across, a Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus gilbertsonii) mushroom is "fruiting" in its regular spot on a Eucalyptus tree on the path leading to the Red Car Property in the canyon.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

According to Mykoweb, you'll often find these exotic looking polypore mushrooms growing from the same spots in the same Eucalyptus trees each year in the fall.  The bright color fades after a couple of days.  Since Red Car Canyon has limited daylight year round, it tends to stay moist even in dry months. 

Click here for all our mushroom posts.

Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity. MykoWeb is the resource everyone seems to refer to for mushrooms. The Los Angeles Mycological Society has a recommended reading list

If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Red Car Property: City Councilmember O'Farrell Reaffirms Park Vision

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 1, 2014.  This is not Silver Lake Courtt, it's the Red Car Property at India St: private property on which we've all been trespassing.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

In a recent letter to Red Car Property neighbors, City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell reaffirmed his support of Trust for Public Land acquiring the Red Car Property "to become permanent parkland and serve this community for future generations." 

In response to the Red Car Property owner's recent attempt to fence part of the property to prevent dumping, O'Farrell adds, "I want to be very clear, I am committed to working with the entire neighborhood on a permanent parking solution."

Read Councilmember O'Farrell's letter here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Red Car Property: Trail In Plans Since 1968

Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 28 2012.  Dodging cars with kids & on-leash dogs, south of the Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase, is trickier in the rainy season.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 27, 2011. The exact same stretch of trail without cars is more inviting to walk.

The Red Car Property is not a park, it just looks like one.  A former privately owned right-of-way for the Pacific Electric Red Car Trolley Glendale Line, it is still private property that we've all been trespassing on since the tracks were removed in 1955.  

Due to it's unique length, shape, grade & location, in the middle of a residential neighborhood, it is an ideal trail for non-motorized use, connecting people to parks, schools & recreational facilities in a heavily freeway & topographically divided neighborhood.

Planners took note and, for decades, included the Red Car Property as a part of a larger trail system in various State & City plans, including the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's El Pueblo Trail (1983), a part of the Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor  in the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Zone (enabled by State Public Resources Code in 1979); Silver Lake - Echo Park - Elysian Valley Community Plan (1984); as a key link from surrounding community to LA River in LA River Revitalization Master Plan (2007).

It even shows up as far back as 1968 in the City of Los Angeles Equestrian Trails Master Plan showing a general alignment through the hillside area west of the 5 Freeway between Griffith & Elysian Parks. The plan encourages hikers' use of equestrian trails to increase trail safety.

Since its inception 6 years ago, The Big Parade LA has included The Corralitas Red Car Property as a key link in the Silver Lake Loop as part of a growing urban trails movement using public staircases and rights-of-way, encouraging walking our neighborhoods instead of driving between Downtown Los Angeles & the Hollywood Sign in an organized 2-day hike.  

The Red Car Property is not a park, it just looks like one

Friday, November 7, 2014

Viaduct Footings: Dead Eucalyptus Trees Gone

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 26, 2014.  All of the dead Eucalyptus near the historic viaduct footings were cut down last month, creating a rather large wasteland between Riverside Drive & Adelbert.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

Over the past year and a half,  more than a dozen Eucalyptus trees including some very large ones, died rapidly on this northern part of the property.  It has really changed the ecosystem on this part of the property.  It's a lot hotter & drier here than ever before.

Click here for all our dead tree posts.