Swooping Butterflies and Majestic Views: New SGRT Entry Node

The new San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT) entry node/parklet, off Todd Avenue appears to be finished, and it is a pretty nice little rest spot. If you go that way, you have seen the progress for the past few months. Maybe, like me, you had to take a detour once or twice to accommodate the construction. If you only ride by on the path, you might not have known what was going on, or even been aware a little parklet was being created.

There are at least a couple design themes going on - butterflies and the nearby mountains are obvious. One butterfly has been created on the ground plane out of stark white stone. It trails behind the more interesting of the two, which has seemingly taken flight out in front. The functional design of the steel awning butterfly will be welcome on hot days, but the shadow created by the mesh "wings", contrasting with the solid "body" and wing "ribs" is what caught my eye. There is an ephemeral quality very much like the more colorful wings of an actual butterfly.

From a design standpoint, and other than the butterflies, the remainder of the parklets features seem disparate, with little to tie them together. Individual objects set down in the space. I am not sure what the intent of the concrete conduit was. I guess small kids will climb atop it, and run through it; older kids on bmx bikes will take to the ramp (not that they got the idea from me). Its elevated vantage provides another perspective of the otherwise flat space. Three bike racks have been formed to resemble the mountainous background. Planting is minimal, but when the sycamores mature they will provide additional welcome shade and interest. I have to think that the rounded boulders relate to the nearby river, while the cut stone benches are a nod to the quarry and mining operations always in view along this portion of the river trail. The stacked stones seem to me an odd feature, regrettably asking to be knocked down by local vandals. The large circular plaza, and particularly its score lines remind me of a bicycle wheel. But maybe that is just my biased view.

I didn't notice any drinking water source, but with other parks nearby, perhaps the designers figured that was an unnecessary expense. Nor were there any trash receptacles. Anyway, even with whatever design deficiencies it may have, the node is a welcome addition to this part of the trail.