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What’s Happening On Vermont?

Some of my friends in the neighborhood have been asking me what was going on down Vermont lately, so I figured I’d blog about it.

Vermont Avenue has been closed since Wednesday evening to make way for the LAPD Rampart PAL Halloween Carnival this weekend (Carnival hours 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday). The LAPD organized a similar carnival for its Olympic Station last weekend; all of the rides and attractions were moved three miles north.

Though the street between Santa Monica and Melrose has been closed to cars, pedestrians, bikes, skateboards and others roamed freely on the streets. A few kids tossed around a ball by Vermont and Monroe. It was like a mini-CicLAvia after biking on it on Thursday evening, and the street will remain that way until Monday at 6 a.m.

There was an LAPD van at Vermont and Normal that sold pre-sale ride tickets for a sheet of 10 for $20. They officers selling the tickets said day-of carnival tickets would be double the cost (5 tickets for $20). That seems pretty pricey for this lower-income neighborhood. They said the rides would cost one ticket each but many of the attractions have “4 Coupons To Ride” signs on them, which might lead to further confusion.

The event is organized by the LAPD Rampart Division Police Activities League a youth crime prevention program. As a big supporter of community-based policing, I believe holding a carnival is an excellent way to outreach to the community. In the neighborhood council, we;ve talked about organizing a block party and having the LAPD involved. My main complaint was…why didn’t I hear of this event? Granted, I found out about it two weeks ago, but for someone who isn’t involved in the community (and the road closure), this event seemed to have just sprung up on them.

When i did find out about the event, it wasn’t from the LAPD directly, but through Julie Pasos from the Rampart Village Neighborhood Councilanother neighborhood council. I did include the news in the October edition of the EHNC’s  East Hollywood Neighborhood News e-newsletter.

Furthermore, there’s no information online about this event, save for this site, which was listed in the forwarded email I got from Pasos: https://local.nixle.com/alert/3682667/?sub_id=225901

Doesn’t say that much or look that inviting, does it?

Community-based policing is great, and this event adds more Halloween fun for our community, but the LAPD needs to go the extra mile. Or not even that, but just use some common sense when doing publicity. No website? No posters in local businesses? I live three blocks from the carnival and I had to find out about it from someone from another neighborhood council two miles away!

Lastly, as evidenced by the photo on top, the road closure signs do not explain the event. I hate when that happens, especially when there’s an event organized by a City-related entity. At least CicLAvia and last weekend’s Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon were sensible enough to put the name of the event on their road closure signage. If you want the community to come, let them know what is going on. “ROAD CLOSED” doesn’t say much, and would also drive away the very people you’d want to attend.

I did pick up a flier for the event yesterday evening, so here it is. I guess this blog is the default website for this event! If you go, remember to avoid traffic/parking hassles and walk or ride the Metro Red Line (Vermont/Santa Monica Station) there. please enjoy, but let them know they need to do better outreach.

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