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Thanks, Josef, for a great Streetsblog LA Fundraiser!

9:26 AM PDT on June 17, 2013

Friday night, Juan and I ventured out to the Flying Pigeon, a bike shop owned by livable streets activist Josef Bray-Ali in Cypress Park, a neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles.  Josef and his friends graciously hosted a fundraiser in honor of Streetsblog.

Thank you to everyone who came and made gifts to support Streetsblog and its mission of connecting people to news about sustainable transportation and livable cities!

About 15 people came out for a short tour on bikes of Highland Park, the neighborhood north of Cypress Park, led by Josef. This was a treat, as I have not spent much time in the greater Highland Park area since I was four years old, when I commuted by school bus to preschool at San Pascual Elementary in Garvanza. (And since I was four, the only thing I clearly remember was how the bus always turned left at Echo Park Avenue, past the former Pioneer Market, to go north into Northeast LA).

I got to ride in the pedicab with Josef’s kid and his kid’s friend – what a treat!

On our tour, we learned about Highland Park’s origins as a hub for rail-based surface transportation. It is equidistant from LA and Pasadena, and there were both heavy rail tracks for the transport of goods and rails for streetcars (to move humans). The legacy of rails still remains in bits and pieces throughout the streets of Highland Park.

Today Highland Park is a vibrant community on the way up. The Gold Line goes through Highland Park.  There is a movement amongst community members, including Josef, to install the bike lanes specified in the LA Bike Plan on Figueroa Avenue, the main drag through Highland Park, between San Fernando Road and Colorado Boulevard. Today North Fig is very auto-oriented. But I don’t think it has to be that way anymore, and neither does Fig4All, a coalition of stakeholders committed to the transition of North Figueroa into a complete street (or at least one with the bike lanes planned for that street).

Thanks to Josef and everyone for coming out on Friday! The next event for Streetsblog will likely be a summer party on our roof. We look forward to welcoming readers in the very near future.

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