Rock the Boulevard is a new initiative to revitalize and improve public spaces and designs on Eagle Rock Boulevard, according to The Eagle Rock Association’s (TERA) president Greg Merideth. Although the initiative is in its beginning stages, the plan is to develop goals based on community feedback and participation that will contribute to the economic growth, visual appeal and safety of the Eagle Rock community. Rock the Boulevard is sponsored by TERA, Los Angeles City Council District 14 representative José Huizar and the City of Los Angeles, according to TERA’s website. Rock the Boulevard began in January 2017 as a brainchild of TERA and Los Angeles City Council District 14. Since then, Rock the Boulevard has hosted one community meeting and received contributions from Occidental College and other local street service organizations such as Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful (CERB).
The 2011 initiative Take Back the Boulevard (TBTB) focused on improving the safety and beauty of Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. According to Rock the Boulevard’s chair member Robert Gotham, TBTB inspired its creators — TERA, City Council District 14 and the City of Los Angeles — to create Rock the Boulevard.
TERA organizes meetings every month, inviting the public to give their input on the Eagle Rock community. The first launch meeting for Rock the Boulevard was Jan. 30 at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock on Colorado Boulevard. Rock the Boulevard plans to host future meetings to develop Rock the Boulevard’s goals.
“What is really critical is the involvement of the community in this process. It is up to us to engage the community to the point where we can say these are the things the community would like to see happen,” Gotham said.
Gotham led Rock the Boulevard’s first community meeting. During the meeting, Eagle Rock volunteers suggested installing more outdoor seating, bus shelters, lighting along the streets, zebra stripes on crosswalks, blinking lights, warning signs and bicycle lanes.
“These changes will make streets more accessible to pedestrians, protect them and slow down traffic by minimizing a vehicle’s ability to fiercely change lanes. This will force drivers to pay more attention,” Gotham said.
According to Rock the Boulevard’s launch presentation on TERA’s website, vehicle emissions will decrease once the initiative starts implementing its goals to make Eagle Rock Boulevard more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. According to Gotham, decreased vehicle emissions and increased walkability will improve community members’ health, contribute to economic growth and nurture relationships between local businesses, residents and visitors on Eagle Rock Boulevard.
According to Merideth, TERA received 12 million dollars in grants from its members, local businesses and the City of Los Angeles for community-driven revitalizations on Eagle Rock Boulevard for 2018-2019. Rock the Boulevard is looking to eventually obtain 10-15 million dollars from the federal government to complete its mission.
“With this money, Rock the Boulevard will improve and revitalize Eagle Rock Boulevard to make Eagle Rock a more safe, sustainable and vibrant environment to live in,” Merideth said.
Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful’s (CERB) is a separate community-driven organization focused on beautification and safety. According to CERB’s co-founder, past treasurer and current board member Ursula Brown, CERB is a non-profit Eagle Rock organization established in 2004. CERB consists of Eagle Rock volunteers that help beautify Eagle Rock Boulevard through environmental enhancements.
“Environmental enhancements are for your own pleasure, the community and others. We all want to live in an attractive, nice place,” Brown said.
According to Brown, CERB worked with Occidental student volunteers through the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) at Occidental College to install potted plants on Eagle Rock Boulevard’s medians Jan. 27 for CERB’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. CERB and Occidental students set goals to beautify Eagle Rock and plan to plant trees along Eagle Rock Boulevard in the near future.
TERA’s next community meeting takes place March 20 7–9 p.m. at the Women’s Twentieth Century Club. At the second meeting, they are looking to identify challenges in the Eagle Rock community and locations for enhancements to Eagle Rock Boulevard.