Neighbors Gain From Block-by-Block Plans

Sam Hall Kaplan's column "Hamilton Goes . . . " (July 28), was most timely in urging "block-by-block neighborhood (planning) involving those who will be affected." Namely, neighbors.

Central Los Angeles used to contain many fine residential neighborhoods, with distinguished architecture and manicured landscaping. The wreckage of many of these neighborhoods, their blight and decay, is unfortunately still visible.

One cause of this devastation was a lack of pride and peer pressure of the residents. Some slight regression would be tolerated and allowed to set in; unless it was instantly and zealously curbed, it would gradually spread to a point where the residents gave up and moved away. Planning is analogous to cancer, where the bad, unless resisted, invariably, inexorably gobbles up the good.

The residents of gracious Hancock Park, bounded on north and south by Melrose Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, and east and west by Rossmore and Highland avenues, are determined not to play host to decay and degradation. We have banded together to fight two major problems: Incursions by criminal elements intent on feasting upon what local police call "the candy store"; and those impatient motorists who pull off the major thoroughfares to race through our quiet residential streets to save an imaginary few seconds at red lights. One Hancock Park residential street is carrying an overburden of 600% more autos than it was designed to carry.

So the residents will soon petition City Hall to be permitted to create culs-de-sac at certain points to discourage these incursions and getaways. The citizens are prepared to pay the costs to restore Hancock Park by modernizing it back into what the original subdivider intended. It is interesting that private traffic engineers hired by our homeowners association have said that if Hancock Park were being designed today, its grid of straight streets would be contrary to current practice and that culs-de-sac would have been employed at most of the points we now proposed.

So we say, "Don't move. Improve."


Los Angeles

Byrne is chairman, improvements committee, Hancock Park Homeowners Assn.

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