“Necesitamos apoyo para casa de Teresita Alfaro, la policia esta alla hostigando. Puedes venir? Callejon atras de Whittier Blvd y Matthews (Street)”
I was leaving to Mexico City in two days, and I get this message at 4 pm Saturday, April 13. The Los Angeles Police Department officers stopped by the party and told the group to shut it down. But the police officers left, and didn’t return.
When I arrived, the party was still going strong. Kids played in the jumper at the top of the alley, as adults talked talked amongst themselves at tables on the opposite end. I had only reported on the alleyway a few weeks back, but I never got to see the place actually come alive.
Police have warned they would shut down this and other alleyway activities if they weren’t ended voluntarily. But despite the threats and harassment the LAPD have yet to close one, said Elizabeth Blaney, co-founder of Union de Vecinos.
The residents didn’t ask for permission or receiver permits to paint the ground or have a party in the alleyway, but they try to be flexible when cars are around. They coordinate with vehicles to not enter the half-block stretch and they also coordinate with residents exiting driveways.
“Having demonstration models, we want someone to tell us that this doesn’t work,” said Leonardo Vilchuis, co-founder of Union de Vecinos. “We have an alley that can be used in so many different ways than just for cars,” Vilchuis said.
So what impact does opening an alleyway for uses beyond moving cars? Look on after the jump to see L.A.’s Livable Alley.