Yes, we love maps – especially old ones of Echo Park and Los Angeles. The latest publication on the Big Map Blog is a nice display of Los Angeles circa 1903, so we zoomed in nice and close on Echo Park (of course!).

The map shows a sprinkling of homes with lake views and some in “Angeleño Heights,” as well as neighborhood by the name of Sunset Blvd Heights on what appears to be Laveta Terrace (near now Scott Avenue/McDuff Street), and current-day Glendale Boulevard going north into Edendale.

On the Big Map Blog website you can zoom in and out while scrolling through Los Angeles, all centered around a surprisingly well-developed Downtown.

h/t CurbedLA




Google maps screenshot

It might only be March 31, but tomorrow is April Fool’s Day and Google has transformed its interactive maps into an 8-bit video gamer’s dream. Along with the retro maps, there’s a video about how they’ll be releasing a NES on those old-school cartridges. If only! Apparently there’s even monsters and Easter eggs, but Echo Park (shown in 8-bit above) seems to be in the clear. However, landmarks like Dodger Stadium, The Echoplex, The Park, and others are still indicated on the map.

8-bit street view of Echo Park Lake (before construction, of course)

All you have to to is click “Quest” in the upper right hand corner (by the Earth and Satellite options) to view the 8-bit format. To explore more, check out the street view! The above screenshot of Echo Park Lake reminds me of the old Sierra computer games from the ol’ days.

h/t Mike Fisher

CD13 shown in grey, the red areas are "lost" to CD1 (Click map to download the full PDF)

New maps uploaded to the Los Angeles redistricting website show a much different redistricting plan for Echo Park’s CD13 and CD1 map lines than previous proposals. And, according to the LA Times, the redistricting commission approved the new maps last week, which means the proposal will head to the City Council fore review next month.

While a lot of the redistricting news has been focused around Koreatown, here in Echo Park there are some minor changes that might be a hot button issue for residents as well as the upcoming council district elections in 2013. GEPENC president Jose Sigala (also in the running for City Council in District 13) expressed on the Echo Elysian Neighborhood Council Forum his concern that the Echo Park Farmers’ Market will be no longer be in CD13, and is asking everyone to sign his online petition.

Whatever happens, it’s all about politics. It doesn’t look like Echo Park will be combined into one council district, and will continue to be divided into council district 13 (currently Eric Garcetti) and council district 1 (currently Ed P. Reyes).

CD1 borders in Echo Park

Looks like we’ve got another candidate for the First District of the LA City Council – Gil Cedillo announced his aspirations two days ago in a press release to fill the seat of soon-to-be termed-out Ed Reyes in the 2013 elections, joining Reyes’ chief of staff Jose Gardea. Cedillo is currently our state assemblyman in the 45th district, a seat which he can’t run for again due to term limits.

Cedillo has a couple of good things going for him, including the California Dream Act, which was recently signed by the Governor. We also saw him rubbing elbows with the general public and press in September at a Northeast LA foreclosure fair. Mostly, we hope if he wins the election, he’ll be an involved and responsive representative of the First District, which includes parts of Echo Park, Elysian Park, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, and other surrounding neighborhoods (click here for a full map).

In the press release, Cedillo said he was running “because we need bold and experienced leadership to strengthen and protect the Los Angeles Dream.”

“Gil began his crusade for change and social justice over three decades ago as a young student leader right here in Los Angeles,” said El Centro del Pueblo Executive Director Sandra Figueroa in the press release. “Since those early days, Gil has remained one of the most effective and passionate progressive advocates in Los Angeles.  Now is exactly the time to bring Gil Cedillo’s determined and forceful leadership to City Hall on behalf of the diverse neighborhoods that comprise City Council District 1.”

Click here for the full map (PDF)

In case you’ve missed it, there are not only covered fences up around Echo Park Lake, but it’s also looking a bit… lower now. That’s because the rehabilitation project has finally (and sadly) begun – phase one of the draining having started at the end of August, pumping about eight feet of water out of the lake and into the storm drains.

The temporary pools have been installed, and with all the muck in the lake water already it seems the wildlife is taking advantage. The fish and other water wildlife (turtles, etc.) will be relocated once the lake has been drained a few feet (supervised by a wildlife biologist), after which the lake will be completely drained and the Odor Monitoring Group will be called upon to monitor.

After a July 20, 2011 Echo Park Lake Rehab public meeting, a couple of improvements were made after residents spoke up:

  1. A portion of the sidewalk on the west side of the lake along Glendale Boulevard will be closed after residents complained the sidewalk was too narrow, and thus dangerous, for pedestrian use. They will install alternate route signs.
  2. Parking restrictions along Echo Park Avenue have been slightly relieved – instead of No Parking between 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, it’s 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Residents more recently pointed out that the parking isn’t even being used by construction workers. According to one resident, who contacted the project managers, the parking will be used by construction workers since the Lady of the Lake statue was removed (apparently she was in the way of construction access).

Read more

Bing Maps has us scratching our heads when we searched for our Echo Park neighborhood. Is “Enendale” code for something? Last we checked the historical name for the area is Edendale, but even that isn’t really used. Does Bing know something we don’t know…?

Apparently, very walkable!

With an average “walk score” of 75, Echo Park is #19 of 95 neighborhoods scored by the website The green highlights in the map shown above indicate a high walkability zone (where “daily errands do not require a car”), while the red areas are less walkable (where “almost all errands require a car”).

Now, we love the walking thing – in a beautiful neighborhood like Echo Park, it’s wonderful, free exercise and we get to explore the many hidden stairways.

You may notice that the map, however, doesn’t show ALL of Echo park, missing the neighborhoods west of Alvarado and south of the 101, but you get the picture.

Click here to check out the full map and details from the Walk Score website.


Another great post by The Big Map Blog recently shows a map of Los Angeles’ 1906 railway systems. Those systems weren’t lacking in Echo Park, so we’ve zoomed in on the BIG map to show you a little bit of our ‘hood back in the day.

The Glendale Line, which you can see in green, is a” Los Angeles Inter-Urban RY Co.” line that took people between Glendale and Downtown, and possibly even up to Burbank. The Glendale Line ceased to run in June of 1955. The path made by the Glendale line went past Echo Park Lake on the west side of the lake, through “Edendale” and then they had to cut through the hills creating what was known as the “Edendale Cut” (where the 2 freeway is now) and next to Max Sennett’s studio.

The black lines, which you can see going along Sunset Boulevard then up Echo Park Avenue, were the “Los Angeles Pacific R.R.” There’s an old Three Stooges episode of note that shows Echo Park Avenue and the old railway tracks on the road, and you’ll note a lot of existing stairways in this area so that people could easily access the trains from their hilltop homes.

The red lines note the path for the “Pacific Electric Railway Co.” lines, which on the east side of the Los Angeles River took passengers up to Highland Park and beyond to Pasadena.

And finally, yellow – the “Los Angeles RY. Co.” lines, which had a lot of lines into East Los Angeles and up into what is now Elysian Valley.

However, apart from probably different sized trains between each line, I’m not certain on what the exact difference was between each company that handled the different lines. LA Taco has a little more insight on the matter:

At that point, LA was an underdeveloped but rapidly growing city, and rail was the dominant form of intra-city transportation. The yellow and red lines on the map show the two main competing streetcar systems, Los Angeles Railway (Yellow Cars) and Pacific Electric Railways (Red Cars). At this point, both systems were only 5 years old. The Yellow Cars carried more daily riders, but the Red Cars extended farther from the downtown hub. At the height of the Yellow Car’s operations, the system had 20 streetcar lines and 1,250 trolleys, and served the core of LA in addition to Echo Park, Westlake, Hancock Park, Exposition Park, West Adams, the Crenshaw district, Vernon, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights.

Either way, it’s disappointing that in the mid-50s and into the 1960s and ’70s these tracks were being dismantled. Surely there were politics, power and money involved, but you also can’t help but think about the emerging car culture in those times. People were probably more keen on that new Mustang than getting on a dusty old red car!

Click here to download the full map or visit the Big Map Blog website.

This is a really cute commercial/advertisement featuring the Fallen Fruit guys on their search for public fruit in Echo Park. Though not all of the shots are Echo Park itself, you can see them building the map of Fallen Fruit in Echo Park using social media and other technologies, specifically this “Samsung Galaxy Tab” device and what looks to be similar to the iPad.

While we haven’t find the Echo Park map on the Echo Park map on the Fallen Fruit website yet, we’re sure it will pop up soon. Based on an old map it had a while back (click here to view that map) we started a while back creating a map of our own. Some items may be outdated, and we are slowly building more of the map, but that’s why you’re going to let us know if we’ve missed anything using the comments field below.

View Echo Park Fallen Fruit Trees in a larger map

Photographer Eric Fischer was inspired by a Chicago map created by Bill Rankin that displayed the city’s racial and ethnic divides. He created maps of other cities like New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles using the same techniques Rankin did, applying date from the 2000 census. I took the Los Angeles map and zoomed in on the  Echo Park area. Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Gray is Other, and each dot equals a total of 25 people. For some perspective, the little empty round area near the middle of the above graphic is Dodger Stadium.

You can check out the rest of the Los Angeles map by clicking here or on the image below. You’ll notice… there are a lot of white people on the west side!

Photo by Eric Fischer via Flickr

You may or may not know that when you upload your photo(s) on Flickr, you can “geo-tag” them, providing a location for each photograph. Photographer Eric Fischer has taken the geo-tagged information and turned it into maps that indicate tourists that have posted photos (the red lines and dots) versus the locals (the blue lines and dots). The resident photos are determined by those who posted photos in the city “dated over a range of a month or more,” while the tourists are “people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month.” The yellow dots and lines are those who can be either tourist or a resident, and it couldn’t be determined which was which.

The map above shows a zoomed-in view of the “Los Angeles and Pasadena” map. Quite a few tourist shots going on there! Click on the map to view the full map and more of Eric Fisher’s geo-tag maps for other parts of Los Angeles.

Also – shoutout to LAist for its article today on the maps!

“Are you an avid cyclist or looking to ride your bike more often?” Google Maps took a step in a more bike-friendly direction about a month ago when they added biking directions as a transportation option. One can both get directions for traveling via bike and view which streets are safest for cycling. The project is still in the beta phase, however, and the directions and the suggestions for the best biking streets are not definitive.

Click on the image above to view the interactive Google map

But, as you can see from the map above, Los Angeles is not exactly Amsterdam. The green lines translate as follows: a dark green line indicates a bike path with no cars, a light green line indicates a street with a bike lane and a dotted green line indicates a street without a bike lane but which is less busy and safer for cycling. Google Maps also takes into account changes in elevation and suggests routes that don’t feature very steep streets.

There are several other resources out there for fans of two-wheeled transportation:

  • LADOT has both a bike blog and a guide to biking in Los Angeles in PDF form that features rules, regulations and suggestions.
  • LA Metro has a guide to biking routes in LA (pdf).
  • Gmaps Pedometer is a great resource for cyclists who are also on a mission to burn calories. Just click on the map to create your own route. It will tell you how many miles you’ve traveled, how many calories you’ve burned (really?) and changes in elevation.
  • On the second Friday of every month (along with a variety of other rides throughout the month), Midnight Ridazz organizes a night-time bike ride throughout Los Angeles.
  • LA Streetsblog follows news and events in all things bike riding.
  • Echo Park Cycles is, you guessed it, a local bike shop where you can get new gear or a tune-up. Prices are reasonable and the staff friendly!

Map screenshots via Mailbox Map

I know most mail carriers will pick up your mail if you leave it in your box or outside your house. If you are like me and have had run-ins with Netflix bandits, you might feel more comfortable finding your closest mailbox. This might come in handy if you don’t want your outgoing mail sitting outside all weekend, since Saturday mail delivery may end soon. Ending Saturday mail delivery would save billions but would also cut jobs, so it’s certainly controversial. Read more about it here. Find more mailboxes here.

Laveta Stairway

With over 20 stairways around Echo Park, who needs a stairmaster? Now that the weather has warmed up, it’s time to get in shape!

With the help from the Echo Park Stairways PDF map from the Echo Park Historical Society, as well as from a website called Community Walk which has a map of Los Angeles Stairways (not all Echo Park stairways are listed on there, but there are a ton of spots around all of L.A.), we have put together this nice Echo Park Stairways map just for you:

View Echo Park Stairways in a larger map

This was, of course, before we discovered the Echo Park Historical Society’s interactive Google map of the Echo Park Stairways, which you can always check out here (we were having some technical difficulties sharing and embedding the map within our site).

Remember to wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen!

From the Echo Park Historical Society

Another kind of beautiful stairway in Echo Park: