By C.J. SALGADO
EAST LOS ANGELES — The L.A. County Department of Parks website describes Atlantic Avenue Park as “inviting for leisure picnics and strolls.” It certainly seems that way because many local residents do visit the park. With a cool splash pad, six-lane swimming pool, a Veteran’s Memorial, and picnic tables, locals come to enjoy the park regularly, and at all hours. In fact, some even visit early morning or well into the evening hours, despite official park hours being “sunrise to sunset.” However, there is a problem with the lighting.
The park, particularly the walking path around the park, generally has poor lighting for pedestrians. Many can be seen strolling around the park, but it can be a bit unnerving in the dim early morning or evening. Although, there is street lighting around the park, there is no dedicated pedestrian lighting. So, areas around the splash pad and along Amalia Avenue on the east side of the park, for example, are too dark at times.
This poor lighting creates a problem, not only from a safety concern, but also in not appealing to walkers. More would surely walk, which is good for the health and well being of the community, if the park were better lit. More would also visit the Veteran’s Memorial. Unfortunately, the poor lighting is conducive to suspicious activity, when cars and individuals can be seen to gather under cover of the darkness.
How can this be fixed or at least improved? Well, one option would be to install new solar lighting fixtures to specifically provide pedestrian lighting. Another idea would be to keep trees well trimmed to improve the reach of available natural and street lighting onto the walking path. Yet another option would be to reposition existing floodlights at the outdoor pool so they face and light the adjacent walking areas. The pool is rarely, if ever, used at night, so those floodlights stay remain unused for the most part and could be better utilized to address this problem. For the long-term, a permanent and specific fix is best.
The County has been made aware of the issue and already has dispatched a representative to evaluate the lighting. Of course, making funds available to improve the lighting at Atlantic Avenue Park is needed and key to solving this problem once and for all. With park space rather limited in East L.A., no doubt, this park should be well supported and designed to maximize its use and positive impact on the community.
Interested community members wishing to comment on this issue can call the Department of Parks at (323) 260-2341 or the new 1st District County Supervisor, Hilda Solis, at (213) 974-4111.
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