Sun, Jun

Smooth, Dark and Functional – Resurfacing One Way to a More Beautiful Corridor


MUSE WITH ME - Since towing a life’s possessions past that tall desert thermometer 19 years hence, my Palms/Mar Vista stomping grounds have been mainlined by Venice Boulevard, curiously robust as a scorched and disintegrating, pallid corridor of civic ignominy. Countless volunteer’s and professional’s hours, and grant money too has been devoted toward, and finally stalled around, efforts to beautify this iconic thoroughfare. 


Who knew what a big difference a simple coating of blacktop could make? Two weeks ago, working right through several nights, a half dozen steaming, bleeping and heavily trundling behemoths, resurfaced the roadway between Lincoln Boulevard and the 405. What results is smooth as, well, nearly as smooth as the new metro’s roadbed. 

But a little surprising to me, this structural improvement is not the sole benefit. There is a great boon for the peace of mind conferred when all vehicles, from two-, four- and more-wheeled, no longer bounce about in lanes. There are so many bicyclists crammed into an inappropriate strip between speeding vehicles and the opening of parked car’s doors, that the mental relief from better transit control is considerable. 

There is a third civic enhancement effected by this project in the simple visual relief of its clean surface. Maybe it’s even just the dark color that mitigates the blasted out feel of the Venice corridor. 

But for whatever reason, it is astonishing to experience any relief at all of the perennial visual blight running through the middle of our community after so many years spent scrabbling about among fruitless political solutions. 

It’s a wonderful thing that an effort as simple as resurfacing the roadway can make such a big difference in improving the feel of a whole neighborhood. 

Certainly there is an awful lot more that can and should be done to beautify Venice Boulevard. But it is a very welcome sight to witness the big gain of even this one small step. Hopefully it will inspire our new political governance to match local efforts in improving our neighborhoods: strengthening and broadening functional bicycle lanes, supporting local parkways as green oases, aiding renovation of more public gathering space, and respecting local efforts at urban planning. 

Superficial improvements are an important foundation for community pride and betterment.


(Sara Roos is a politically active resident of Mar Vista, a biostatistician, the parent of two teenaged LAUSD students and a CityWatch contributor, who blogs at redqueeninla.com






Vol 11 Issue 71

Pub: Sept 3, 2013

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