By Foot, Pedal, or Car, Boyle Heights Voters Arrive At Polls

Polling place on Cesar Chavez Avenue at Los Angeles Wedding Chapel. Kris Fortin/LAStreetsblog

As the second wave of voters rushed to the polls last night at rush hour in Boyle Heights, voters arrived not just by car, also on foot, and some by bicycle.

There was no clear reason that made people come out by any particular mode. Ruby Gonzalez, 26, said that though she only lives three blocks away, she came to the Cesar Chavez Avenue polling place at Los Angeles Wedding Chapel after she left her job.  Leticia Torreblanca, 53, took the bus from her job in Glendale to the polling place at Los Angeles Wedding Chapel.

In the street parking strapped neighborhood, it was common to see people arrive by cars even when they only lived a few blocks away. At Cesar Chavez, cars were limited to metered and nearby residential parking.  At Hollenbeck Park, where parking was limited to the street and an adjacent lot, Alice Del Rio, 60, said that she found parking fairly easy and right in front of the polling place. While a wait to find a parking space didn’t take long, but it took her more than one hour to vote.

“I think it’s the worst that I’ve ever seen,” said Del Rio about her wait to vote.

While there always seemed like open parking stalls in the lot, space was so tight on the street and in the lot that cars would clog pathways in their search.

Even though cars crowded polls at Hollenbeck Middle School, Hollenbeck Park, at Los Angeles Wedding Chapel on Cesar Chavez and Evergreen Recreational Center, pedestrians were making it out.

Amy Anderson, 55, said that a five-minute walk from her home on Second Street to Hollenbeck Park saved her time from looking for parking. Alfonso Escelante, 58, said that he didn’t mind the 10-minute walk from his home to the Hollenbeck Park polling place. Escelante still waited in line a half hour to vote.

And the rare bicycle sighting was extra refreshing because they came in groups. Issys Amaya, 33, rode halfway on her bicycle and walked the rest with her minature dog to Hollenbeck Park. Instead of locking up the bike, Amaya voted with her dog and bike in hand.

Mario Zepeda, 35 came with his wife and two children to the Hollenbeck Middle School polling place on their beach cruisers. Zepeda, who said that he drives to Anaheim and Rancho Cucamonga for work, thought that he could save some gas by going to the polls by bike.

Also, his kids were excited to go to the polls because of their teachers telling them about the elections. “These guys expend some energy and give them time to knock out,” said Zepeda