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The Tattered Radio Hill Gardens

By Eric Richardson
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2007, at 09:27PM
Radio Hill Gardens Eric Richardson [Flickr]

If you go to Google and search for "Radio Hill Gardens" you get just one result, a cyclist's casual remark about the destination for a training ride.

Unless you've happen to stumble across it while leaving a Dodger game or heading to the Police Academy there's little chance you've even heard of this City park that sits between Downtown and Elysian Park. I certainly hadn't until today. The main clientele seems to be the homeless whose encampments are scattered through the hillside.

More after the jump...

It's always struck me as sad how little attention the City pays to Elysian Park. It's a beautiful space, but receives little maintenance and has very meager facilities. From the looks of it, though, Elysian gets far more attention than the Radio Hill Gardens do.

I ended up coming across the park's Amador street entrance about nine and a half miles into a Saturday afternoon ride. I had been headed back toward Downtown on Broadway when I got fed up with the head wind and decided to veer off course. For some unknown reason I turned up Solano (because surely a steep uphill beats a head wind) and then turned from there onto Amador when Solano ended at the 110. The park entrance was just around the first bend.

DowntownGates currently prevent auto traffic from entering the park, and the amount of glass scattered around probably means that's for the best. It was quickly evident that the hillside was a popular camping site. At one point I even saw the blue evidence of a shopping cart that had melted into the road.

The roadway itself is potholed but plenty navigable on two wheels. The first steep hill gives way to a gradual climb and some great views of the Cornfield park and Chinatown.

The road splits midway, with one fork heading down to Stadium Way and the other rising to the hilltop. Up at the peak is the radio tower that the park is named for, and also the "gardens."

Hummingbird GardenThe hilltop is also at least a temporary home for a wide assortment of dumpsters.

The views could be better from up top. The surrounding trees block many of the possible vantage points. There are a few spots where Downtown sneaks through, and several that offer cool views of Dodger Stadium.

All in all, Radio Hill Gardens could be a fun place if given the care it deserves. It's immediately uphill from the new park at the Cornfields, and together with Elysian the three offer an opportunity to create an impressive set of green linkages. That's the sort of thing we here in Downtown need to agitate for. Sure, we want new parks as well, but we really need the City to step up and give some care to the spaces we already have.

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