Council District 14, Jose Huizar’s Office- which now has ALL of Skid Row, has recently begun what is currently known at the CD14 Working Group for Skid Row. Ms. Hernandez, who is the Downtown Area Director, is working with many local residents and activists to implement a new and improved sanitation system for the neighborhood, which includes a large swath not covered by any BID. This working group is going to begin to look at ways to connect with and tie into Operation Healthy Streets. The working group is the people connection, which often gets lost with large government programs. This group is not the only resident-based group pushing for change on the ground, but it is an important one. Another is the Skid Row Public Space Task Force. For the Working Group, the first order of business was more trash cans. Tom Grode has written about this working group and his thoughts about what is taking place here and here.
As of today, there are currently 10 spanking new white mesh trash cans on San Julian St. (I just counted). Looks like 3 more just appeared last week. These cans are the wire mesh variety, a style chosen after considerable trial and error and much debate. These cans are all chained to poles. Why such a focus on San Julian Street? Because San Julian Street has for decades been the heart of the “Containment Zone“, with thousands of people who use it daily, several permanent housing SRO Hotel units, the back or side of (2) large Missions and the place where every single day, dozens of well- meaning outside people and groups come to feed the homeless (and often leave trash behind). San Julian was also a Street without hardly ANY trash cans until very recently, and typically would be literally teeming with rats, insects, human waste and discarded food and litter. This Street was a health hazard as evidenced by the County Health report of 2012, which lead to Operation Healthy Street’s very existence.
Today, San Julian Street is…better. Still more trash cans are needed, but the 10 that we have now have made an impact and I am grateful to Ms. Herandez and the City of LA for stepping up and working with the local residents to try and improve the quality of life for all who live in the district of Skid Row (about 10k). I would say the most improved part of San Julian Street is the intersection of 5th and San Julian- where (2) trash cans are on either side of the corners.
If you look at the map up top, you can see that the south side of San Julian St. & 6th, still needs some trash cans. This intersection is critical because there is a steady stream of folks that drive by in their cars along this intersection to pass out food and other things to the homeless. Without trash receptacles it is usually litter-clogged most of the time. See pic below to see what I mean.
When OG and I were walking along San Julian Street yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to see a gentleman sweeping up around the northeast corner of San Julian & 6th. OG asked him if he was getting paid by the nearby restaurant @ the corner to do this, the man replied, “No, I’m just doing it to make the Street look better”. And this made our day.