When my mom arrives at my house for her weekly visits, she is often somewhat frustrated. The source of her frustration is either the traffic in Glendale, the unfriendly drivers or the overly lengthy red curbs on tight residential streets.
To make a simple visit, she has to drive around the block a few times to find parking. The sight of those red curbs stretching the length of a few cars can look unnecessary at times.
Friends also experience the same feelings. The patient ones will drive around the block a few times, only to call me and say that if they had found a parking spot they would have been on time.
The not-so-patient friends will call me as soon as they get to my house and say: “Where do I park?” To be completely honest, the question itself is a bit frustrating. I certainly cannot create parking spots on the fly, and anyone who visits an apartment building in Glendale should come with the understanding that parking can be challenging. Patient or not, the source of frustration is still understandable.
Of course, even if those red curbs were shortened to resemble their counterparts in other cities, it would not mean they’d be reserved for my mom or any of my friends.
There are many such measures in our city that may seem problematic to some of the residents. Unreasonably long traffic lights, slow speed limits stuck in the past and lengthy red curbs are some of the ways we want to keep fighting the growth of our city. Consciously or subconsciously, we may feel if we maintain some of the standards or guidelines of the past, things will somehow snap to the days when our city was less populous.
Once you build the shopping malls and the grand apartment building, anyone has the right to shop or live in them. Yet, to have parallel measures in place that directly or indirectly discourage or annoy the growth we have authorized is disingenuous.
The traffic and congestion are an effect of some of the developmental policies encouraged by our city and business leadership as well as elected officials. Residents are not the cause of the problem.
Last week I noticed several large new apartment buildings being built around where I live. They are immediately south of Glenoaks Boulevard and are apart by a few blocks. I have already witnessed the construction of at least two in the last two years.
The problem will not be as much the new tenants who will have designated parking spots, but their guests who will flood the already busy streets in already congested neighborhoods. Where will they park? How much frustration can the residents stand before they choose to move to Oregon or Washington?
Some of our priorities may be misplaced.
We pay so much attention to small details of architectural styling for family-style homes, yet when it comes to anything below the hills the rules seem to be much looser. Understandably, homeowners on the hills are probably more organized and have a much stronger voice. A few strong voices make a big difference there. Yet we should also be concerned with how our city develops to the south of Glenoaks Boulevard. Congestion, crime and unclean streets go hand in hand and can affect all residents.
Residents cannot be the ones responsible for long-term planning and wise, controlled growth. The city structure and elected officials also have a responsibility to make sure our city does not become just another overcrowded urban center.
City leadership should be ready to address the issues for the north, south and the middle with an even hand and a healthy perspective to the future.
PATRICK AZADIAN is a writer, Glendale resident and the director of admissions at Mt. Sierra College in Monrovia. He may be reached at respond@ fromthemargins.net.