The North Platform Fiasco – Scherzo

Dear Friends, in our painful relation of the The Great North Platform Disaster of 1993, we have already narrated the construction of a useless wall, non-functional canopies, and positively detrimental block planters on the passenger platform. And now we turn our attention to perhaps the most ludicrous aspect of the new additions. In musical tempo description “scherzo” means joke.

A group of four trees was planted on the platform, adding more obstacles for hurried commuters to negotiate. Trees. On a train platform.

An unwelcome addition to the urban forest.
A most unwelcome addition to the urban forest.

It seemed to observers almost as if the “designer,” local well-connected landscape architect Steve Rose, was intentionally trying to harass commuters by throwing up barriers in their path, not to mention obscuring the great southern elevation of a National Register structure.

Steve: I know. let's hide that historic structure! Terry: sure, why not?
Steve: I know. Let's hide that historic building behind some nice trees! Terry: well, okay, if you say so, Steve.

Well, Steve Rose wasn’t finished, and neither are we. So stay tuned, Friends…

13 Replies to “The North Platform Fiasco – Scherzo”

  1. Why would the Redevelopment Agency hire a landscape architect to design a railroad passenger platform in the first place, and what qualified Steve Rose to get this job?

  2. Hey Bill Lee, when your talkin Redevelopment there is no need to justify anything. Those people know what is best for every property all the time. Thats why they get paid the big bucks.

  3. This series lamblasting the Agency’s architect is not giving due credit to how the FRA operated. For many years, it was common knowledge that if anyone (architects, consultants, developers) wanted work in Fullerton, you could only qualify if you sucked up Galvin. He would then let you know exactly what he wanted, you would agree that he knew everything, you would do anything he said and he would find the money and no one would be the wiser.

  4. It gets very crowded on that platform when the Metrolink pulls up. I can’t imagine how chaotic it would be if those stupid planters were still around.

  5. That second photo shows it all: useless wall, trees and planter. But don’t forget those ridiculous benches.

    BTW, what ever happened to that Galvin guy? Seems like he screwed up a lot of stuff. And #1 asked a great question. Why in the world hire a landscape architect to do a train platform. They should have hired a civil engineer.

    1. HM, Galvin retired. I believe he became president of the heritage group!

      Yes, I agree. A civil engineer should have been hired. But this is Fullerton, land of squishy-soft thinking where landscape architect are actually admired. If you hire a landcsape architect you’re bound to get plants; and very little common sense.

      Rose had been around a long time and had been associated with other Redevelopment projects like the Harbor screw-up of the early 80s. He and Galvin went back a long way messing things up.

      As to the “street furniture” on the platform, tune in tomorrow for our next installment!

  6. I was out walking there last night, and one thing I noticed was the brickwork–everywhere! It was even in front of the Union Pacific depot that used now as the Spaghetti Factory. It looks like someone decided that using red brick everywhere would somehow unify the whole area, even if it was used in front of Mission Revival buildings, where it made no stylistic sense, and actually obscures the facades in low places. The hedges don’t help either.

    How about a comparison to Santa Ana’s depot?

      1. #8 – brilliant syllogism.

        Your tongue is firmly planted in cheek. And yet that has been the attitude of the Planning and Redevelopment staff ever since 1974.

  7. What is it about the bricks? There is some sort of attitude that identifies brick with the “lost” culture and ambience of the classic American downtown. The overly retro baseball parks of the past twenty years have adopted the same approach. In an effort to shore up the sport, owners created brick faced parks that were supposed to remind patrons of the grand tradition of baseball, when all they really needed was a decent field with good sight lines and enough parking and bathrooms. Can you imagine what will happen if these people get a hold of Dodger Stadium?

    Bricks look great on some buildings, but do they have to smother everything around them, especially as brick veneer to try to convince us that we are having some sort of authentic downtown experience? We are in Southern California, land of eclecticism. Embrace it for it’s strengths instead of trying to cover it up with bricks!

  8. Are Fullerton’s coffer’s so full that we can allow this kind of nonsense? Seems like the City is always spending good money on stupid ideas!

    Will it ever end?????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *