Sunday, May 9, 2010

Deranged Maps - SG Bikeway

(And you thought Thomas Bros. were bad!)

I sent this to :

You might want to warn folks that the Google map for the Mid San Gabriel River Bikeway ('Gateway Cities') area is seriously deranged.

The area around Santa Fe Springs includes a quite fictional 'Little Lake City' (more than a century ago, before the devastation brought by the explosive discovery of OIL at once was a garden spot and spa that had been sacred to the native Tongva, there was a 'Little Lake' miles to the SSE of this imaginary city, and various things, some of them on the long-drained lake bed, remain named after it: Lake Center Middle School on Clarkman Avenue between Jersey and Pioneer will give you an idea); this is what actually should be called West Whittier (unincorporated LACO area; old locals called it 'Whittier Downs') / Los Nietos (a section of SFS; old people called the riverbank part of it Cantaranas='singing frogs'). Nor is there another 'Los Nietos' around the intersection of Whittier and Beach boulevards. ...Nor an alternate world portal 'Norwalk La Mirada' northwest of Lakewood, nor an alternate Lynwood above the real Monrovia! Sheeeeesh...

Completely unaccountable are the names 'Evergeen' for the (popularly known as:) 'Five Points'- intersection of Washington Boulevard, Santa Fe Springs Road, Whittier Boulevard, La Cuarta Street and Pickering Avenue under the old Union Pacific Railroad bridge (now part of the Whittier Greenway Trail*), and 'Isantacogna' 'bout where Lincoln and Durfee Avenues met up with San Gabriel and Rosemead Boulevards - this notoriously haunted spot being Whittier Narrows and the site of the original SG Mission. Maybe da ghosties made up something with Latin words tricked to ersatz resemblance with Shoshonean placenames!

'La Habra' (nobody says 'La Habra City'), 'South Pasadena' 'Monrovia' and 'Mountain View' exist and thrive in Southern California, but far from those places listed on the map.

*Of good intentions but poor planning: Running along a section of defunct UPRR track, its western end, in shameful absurdity, does not extend across Pioneer and the 605 Freeway to the SGR Bikeway (FYI, the section of Pioneer here is cut off from other portions; stay on the river or Norwalk Boulevard if you want to go north or south without wretched double-backing). There is no decent or legal access at any portion of the former tracks except at on-the-flat intersections. The ramp on the east side of the bridge over Norwalk Blvd. is an idiotic waste of money: You have to go down El Rancho Drive nearly to Palm Park to reach the bottom of the ramp...Where you no longer need it, especially - and I speak as an elderly pedestrian crippled by many things, stumping along with a cane - if you wanted to go west (as I last checked, no legal access west of Norwalk Blvd). in which case would mean doubling back! There is no legal access anywhere about the 5 Points bridge... Which of course means much unsanctioned embankment-scaling and fence-hopping by otherwise law-abiding frustrated pedestrians, or even those who more dangerously struggle with wheels. The Greenway Trail is thus nearly useless to those who might want to access most thoroughfares and adjacent destinations along it. It runs from Pioneer west of Danby in the NW to the crossing of the Southern Pacific RR tracks between Gunn and Mills in the SE.

I dread to think how many other mistaken elsewheres may be presented on Google Maps!

Nice of them to have those park listed in the Puente Hills - however, at this time, some of them are just trails restricting bikes, doggies and wandering offtrail. 'Sycamore Park' is actually 'Sycamore Canyon Trail' and the entrance is very easy to miss: On Workman Mill (an extension of Norwalk Blvd. between Whittier Narrows / the 605 and the W end of the Puente Hills; conjunctive to Puente Avenue) between Strong Avenue and Rose Hills Memorial Park Gate 17. The vast cemetery is a triumph of pre-EPA contouring and irrigating of formerly very rugged, 'quaked and eroded hills. Sycamore Canyon Trail gives you, among other interesting things, a View to the Past (far from pristine: Whether we're talking about the mini oil refinery near the head of the trail -don't take the righthand trail toward it; you'll have to go back - or nasty invasive milk thistle, or the more-dollars-than-sense ricos whose big houses hang from the cliffs) exemplified by a peek at the Rose Hills Sign from its otherwise hidden aspect at the edge of a precipitous cliff.

There's a switchback path-let up the southern side of the canyon to Hellman (yeah, I know -snark- right next to the cemetery where 'Bank of Hell' grave-offering notes sometimes take the breeze, and to [the 'Net-originated 'old legends' of creepy stuff along the] Skyline Drive Fire Road... But it's a pioneer's name; some will remember the ice-cream-truck-style vending of delicious fresh Hellman's Bakery goods 'to your door') Wilderness Park. This trail is not for wheels or those unprepared for a longish steep slippery climb with poison oak 'n' scratchy stuff. Not for rainy or hot weather times.

Hikers should always dress protectively, including gloves and brimmed hat, have stick and water, lite quasi-med / first aid-y things & small tools - a 'multi-pliers', for instance - (carried so your hands are free); things like shades, gum. pens, etc., are also good. Cell phones if you have 'em, but don't rely on them in steep canyons! Paths in these trail-lands are often extremely deceptive, and trails badly marked if at all. You may end up having to slow-slide down hundreds of feet of hill on your be-hind. REALLY. A chair-cushion- sized disk of cardboard or some such thing might be a knapsack/bag item, bizarre as it seems!


Something really need to be done to make the west side of the SGR Bikeway 'through' and accessible from the bridge crossings. Downey is especially rotten about this (and crosswalks are 'waaaay off. I wonder if their ever-locked access gates are legal? Foot access to streamsides used to be one of those English Common Law derived RIGHTS.

1 comment:

  1. CORRECTION: The map actually said, ISANTHCOGNA (not 'Isanticogna' - it was partly effaced by something else on the map, and, at that time, I looked up both on Forestle and got no results), and it now has a very brief Wikipedia page as well as some other mentions, as a former Tongva village located at 'Mission Viejo': (not the present-day city of that name, famed for its Olympic swim champs, but) The original, flooded-out site of the San Gabriel Mission, at the foot and easternmost point of the Monterey Hills in Montebello, a shelf above the west side of the Rio Hondo at Whittier Narrows.