Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Red Car Property: Tales of Trail Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 2004. Red Car Property (south of Fletcher) includes City Historic Landmark #770, Pacific Electric Red Car Viaduct Footings. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


I received a forwarded email with, "We've lost the Red Car Trail" in the subject line. So I felt it necessary to clarify the two parts of the "Red Car Trail" to readers who may not be aware of the different portions of the Red Car Trail corridor through our Silver Lake neighborhood.

The email was from Friends of Griffith Park, who supported the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's (SMMC) appeal of the 120-unit condo development on the Menlo Property (north of Fletcher), for failure to include a trail per the Community Plan. We spent much of the last few weeks talking about the Menlo Property on this blog.

Friends of Griffith Park referred to the Menlo Property as the "Red Car Trail." Long-time community activists remember when the trail corridor was chosen by community leaders because the old Red Car right-of-way made a good trail through the community.

JUST TO BE CLEAR: We have NOT lost the trail on the Red Car Property, south of Fletcher to the 2 Freeway at Corralitas Drive - yet. We have lost the trail north of Fletcher, on the Menlo Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 19, 2009. The Big Parade toured part of the Red Car Property between Adelbert and the historic viaduct footings. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Both the Menlo Property and the (Corralitas) Red Car Property are part of the El Pueblo Trail. Both properties were in the Pacific Electric Red Car Trolley right-of-way for the Glendale Line. Both properties were connected by the Fletcher Viaduct.

Last week, the City Council denied the SMMC's appeal for the Menlo Property. (There is still another appeal pending for related approvals on the Menlo Property, at the East Area Planning Commission on June 9, 2010.)

Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 20, 2010. Red Car Canyon shows what 50 years of growth can add to a park-like setting. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The Red Car Property (south of Fletcher) is also private property. Since 1955, the community has used it as a trail. CD13 continues to support our efforts in creating a public trail on the Red Car Property between Corralitas Drive and Fletcher, as it links a large part of the neighborhood to the LA River and eventually the 18-Acre Elysian Park Parcel. There is also potential to connect via a bike trail to the planned park at the 2 Freeway Terminus. Plus, the trail on the Red Car Property stands alone as a well-used recreational resource.

Between 1955 and 1987, the Menlo Property was used similarly as a trail. However, the history of neglect of the Menlo Property prevented all but wildlife from making full use of the trail corridor since 1987. (The Menlo Property is currently in CD4.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 24, 2009. The Red Car Property meadow at Corralitas Drive and the 2 Freeway. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The Red Car Property and the Corralitas Red Car Property are the same piece of land. For decades, developers only wanted to develop the southern end of the Red Car Property at Corralitas Drive. It was often referred to as the "Corralitas Property." Once we learned of the history of the neighborhood, we rebranded it as the Corralitas Red Car Property.

Corralitas Drive is still the easiest access to the property for people driving to it. If you're on foot, the neighborhood connects via sidewalks and public staircases at numerous places along the mile-long property.

See also: The Legacy of Failed Development