Figueroa Street is one of the most historic streets in Los Angeles, yet now it carries a much different distinction.
While Highland Park’s transformation is noteworthy, the epidemic of tragedy on the streets have made the forefront of the news.
Leadership to confront the crisis is absent, as a growing death toll has no impact on change.
Mr. CiclaValley is very familiar with this stretch of Figueroa St., but truth be told, I have not been out on this street much at night. Then again, as a parent, there hasn’t been that much opportunity to venture anywhere once the sun goes down.
Last Saturday night, my wife and I took part in one segment of a Gold Line Birthday Pub crawl that happened to land us right across the street from Gil Cedillo’s field office.
The sun was coming down, but there was a lot of sidewalk presence on both sides of the road. It wasn’t until I had to cross the street an hour later to feed the meter that I noticed something.
A cyclist went by. Then another. And another. If I was a professional photographer, I would have started snapping away, but silly me, I had to identify a trend to start shooting pictures.
In the span of four minutes I was able to take shots of another five(not all in focus) going by. Since I’m still in the LA Bike & Ped count mode, I noticed a couple of characteristics. Only one of them rode in the street and just one other came by with a helmet.
That may indicate that the cyclists feel safe riding on Figueroa, but if you look up and down the road, you know they have no other option. The sidewalks are narrow and at that hour, full of people making it to lawfully ride there problematic.
My blurry collage of some of the cyclists coming by
Another distinction was that most of them weaved in and out of the door zone, afraid of establishing their position in the road as it is highly suggested.
Furthermore, these people were not of the spandex or the hipster, mustache variety. Most were working people, just looking to either get home or start their late night shifts.
It’s pretty much the same demographic Cedillo would find if he ever bothered to read the obituary column.
On our 8:30pm return from our late night out(remember I’m a parent), it was important to walk down the street to pay our respects to the latest victim, Yolanda Lugo. She was killed by a hit and run driver who failed to yield while she was in the crosswalk at Ave 55.
You could tell by the thoughtfulness and collaboration of this vigil that this person was very loved. It reminded you that each life is built up with richness and experiences that permeates others. Everyone should matter and feel celebrated.
Life should be precious and not to be treated as collateral damage. I can only imagine the horror Yolanda’s family must feel. I would hate for another family to go through this. We need leaders who care.