Community Interview: Big Lot, Little Space

Overflow of students waiting for the bus stop in front of vacant lot. Photo by, Lot Busters

Youth Voices is working with students from the Los Angeles River School to re-imagine the L.A. River and the surrounding communities as part of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. This includes conducting interviews with local residents and experts. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here, on Twitter (@lotbusters and on Instagram by using #kcetyv.

The Lot Buster's cause is to revitalize abandoned vacant lots, and restore them to become something that can benefit the neighboring members of the community. We are currently focusing on an empty lot that occupies space near a bus stop that many students from the Sotomayor Learning Academies use. The lot takes up a majority of the waiting area and causes students to crowd together as they wait. We would like to transform this empty lot into a rest area for the students as well as other individuals who wait for the bus at this location.

Miguel Castillo is a student attending the Sotomayor School, and resides in the Cypress Park area. He rides the bus almost on a daily basis. The Lot Busters chose to interview Miguel because he often has to deal with the problems the nearby lot often creates.

Miguel has lived in the area for his entire life and is constantly affected by this issue, with the overcrowding of fellow students who wait for the bus. On average, there are about 30 or more students along the sidewalk waiting at this bus stop every weekday afternoon. Miguel has not been active in confronting this issue, mainly due to him not knowing how.

During our interview, Miguel had mentioned that occasionally he has to deal with overcrowding of students at the bus stop.

How long have you been a resident of the area?
All my life.

What has it been like for you living in this area?
The area seems unsafe and there is a lot of eyesores, like tagging.

Over recent years have you seen any change or improvements?
Not much. It seems to have gotten worse.

Is there a certain area that you spend the most time at?

Have you ever had to take the bus at night ?

Has there ever been an occasion where you had a negative experience waiting for the bus?
Yes, I have been harassed by a homeless man waiting for this stop.

Do you feel safe taking the bus?
No, I don't

On average, how many people do you see waiting for the bus?
Usually 30 or more.

How often do you ride the bus?
Every day.

Can an empty space in Glassell Park become a public space? Tell us your thoughts here.

Idea for rest area in current vacant lot.


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Community Interview: A Clean and Family Friendly L.A. River