Alhambra's Arch: The best use of the space? 人们怎样看阿罕布拉凯旋门


Valley Boulevard and Fremont Avenue
Alhambra , CA United States


Alhambra resident Jenny Hu felt surprised and disappointed when she first saw the Alhambra Arch. To find out if anybody else shared her view, she conducted a street survey on Valley Boulevard near where the Arch is located, and discovered that she was not alone. English version of story below.




如果前面两者都没有的话,如果凯旋门和公园跟所在地点很和谐也可以理解。Valley和Fremont 是一个非常繁忙的交叉口,是上710高速公路的必经之路,早上上班和晚上下班的高峰时候,交通拥挤不堪,车头抵着车尾,三部一停五步一站。饭店,加油站,干洗店,CVS药房和各种生意遍布交叉口的三个角落和周围的地方。第四个角落就是这个凯旋门,无用而又悠闲。



Is Alhambra's Arc de Triomphe the best use of the space?

A survey with shop owners, residents, and passers-by revealed that most people have the same opinion as me: the roughly $300,000 spent on the arch is a waste of money. The majority of the people I spoke with thought that the Alhambra Arch does not have any practical function, nor does it blend well with the surroundings. They believe that such money should and could be used in more effective ways. Only a few people spoke in favor of the Arch. They said that this area used to be shabby, and the park looks much better now.

Most people thought that the Arch has no practical use. It does not serve as a triumphant symbol, a functional building or an information board. People were just confused by the purpose of setting up such a monument at a main traffic artery in Alhambra.

Many thought that $300,000 could have made this place more beautiful. An artwork often doesn’t have any practical function, but it has its aesthetic value as long as it brings people a sense of beauty. However, people told me that the Arch is neither special nor splendid. It’s Moorish style doesn’t even represent the local characteristics of Alhambra.

Despite its failure to create any practical function or aesthetic value, the Arch would have been better tolerated if it had been built in a proper location. But the intersection of Valley and Fremont is very busy, especially during rush hours, because it’s the only path accessing the I-710 entry. Restaurants, gas stations, dry cleaning shops and pharmacies spread across the surrounding area and the three corners of the intersection. The fourth corner, however, is home to the useless Arch.

The Arch would have been a bit useful if it could provide some shade to keep people from the scorching sunlight in the long summers of Los Angeles. Unfortunately it doesn’t. No wonder people consider it a waste.

If not home to the Arch, what else could the space be? Perhaps an information center where news, important Alhambra events, and commercials are displayed on a big screen. It could also be a park with a lot of green shade, fountains, pools for people to walk around, practice tai chi, dance, rest and talk. Such a multifunctional public utility would serve both an entertainment and commercial purpose for the Alhambra community. 

24 thoughts on “Alhambra's Arch: The best use of the space? 人们怎样看阿罕布拉凯旋门”

  1. How about that mural on Mission that you can’t even admire because you’d likely rear end the person in front of you? Why even put a mural on Mission? That road is used for driving anyway, not sightseeing. Taking their time to paint fake bushes. Way to go, Alhambra.

  2. After reading most of the comments from above, I believe the CITY should have heard enough critics from their own citizens about their waste of funding putting up the wrong projects. Now, it’s the times for the City with the open minded and courage to correct whatever is wrong and into the right.

  3. I am a long, long time resident of Alhambra. I was really disappointed with the park design and arch…very tacky. However, I am glad the property is used for open space rather than another fast food restaurant.

    It should have a row of trees facing Fremont and Valley in order to screen the heavy traffic, provide much needed shade, and a sense of place.

    Take a look at beautiful Granada Park and use that as inspiration.


  4. Stefanie Boettcher

    The arch is a bit ridiculous, especially as it doesn’t blend well with the area it’s in. I was hoping that there would be trees or benches to sit in, sort of like that nice little area off Mission and Walnut Grove in San Gabriel. I really think that adding nice trees would balance the arch and make it less of a sore thumb.

    There are plaques lauding the efforts of the City Council everywhere, even on Senior living facilities (like Burke Manor), so for them to put one here is just par for the course. The motto is dated, but its at least 100 years old, so why change tradition? What else is there to say, really, about the city? Welcome to Alhambra, the city with 3 thousand arches?

    1. I would love the LA Times to ask a few questions. First should be how the Alhambra City Council can justify spending 300K on a useless arch, surrounded by sod, bushes, and a plaque during a recession, considering unemployment is so high. Has anyone heard of an arch that employs people.

  5. I also feel like it’s a waste of space and money everytime I pass it. It doesn’t even have enough seating or shade to attract people to sit in it.

  6. Arch best placed in a park. Alhambra needs a new logo, “Gateway to the SGV” … really?. Or, whatever that long slogan is that you find in the freeway. We should hold a contest to see who comes up with the best slogan for Alhambra. And what is up with the pots that line Misson? I thought it was some joke when I first saw them. Most of those plants are dead now. Waste of funds.

    Since the arch will probably stay, sigh … put up a rolling marque on top that displays … 1) Amount of pollution being poured into Alhambra 2) Average # of cars that pass in one day, 1 week, 1 year vs. if there was an extension to the freeway. 3) Estimated times of arrival to Pasadena. Put something useful as we drive

  7. I was surprised that the landscaping didn’t include native and California-friendly plants. Granted, the arch is baffling and the park is, too.

  8. The hundreds of thousands of cars that exit the 710 and use Fremont to complete their commute on a weekly basis have something nice to remember Alhambra by. The residents have a nice space to enjoy that will surely be more aesthetically pleasing once the landscaping is fully developed. That was it’s intended function and thats what it does.

  9. I like having an arch, but it’s in the wrong place. I’d rather see it as you enter Alhambra from the end of the 710, or from Mission coming from San Gabriel (or Eagle Rock), or at Main and Huntington. Fremont and Valley should have a corner business. It used to have a flower shop.

  10. I couldn’t be happier that someone FINALLY brought this to light!…I only wish I could’ve been included in the survery, because I would’ve loved to have given someone a piece of my mind about this eye sore…I cannot STAND to look at this monstrosity everytime I have to drive through the Valley/Fremont intersection…$300,000 for something as useless as this “arch” is dissapointing to say the least…If it’s not one thing it’s another with this city…From the ridiculous A’s that surround our fwy off ramps, (that seem to have to be re-planted every 2weeks) to those oddly colored flower pots off of mission…Why doesn’t someone get a clue and take a drive down some of these streets that need to be re-paved or try and walk down all the sidewalks that are uneven…Try fixing something that actually needs to be fixed instead of wasting money on these supposed beautification projects!…

    “Federal and state funds were procured for the project from the State Department of Transportation (CalTrans), the City’s Prop A Los Angeles County Local Return program and through a grant from the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District.”…These were the people shoveling out $325,000 to get this crap made…What a ripoff.

  11. I agree it’s not “community friendly”–more like a monument than anything else. But I’m wondering who wants to do something about it, like planting shade trees and making it more of a community space? I would hope we could recruit neighbors who live right there to be part of that process as well. I laugh at Ben’s remarks about a marquee, but I agree we should throw a bone for all the motorists too!

    1. Monument is correct, a monument to the the council members in this city. They actually had the gall to have a commemorative plaque with all their names inscribed on it at the foot of this ugly monolith.

      1. That’s why I say take it back to the community and make it something people will really use. Then we can put our bigger plaque on it. Or if that’s anathema, a tasteful mosaic or walkway with community names on it. I just think we should not only express our anger but channel it to something productive and participatory.

      2. I agree with commenter above.

      3. I agree about the plaque. Did the City Council pay for this personally? If not, it should say “paid for by the taxpayers of this state.”

        Were there surveys or meetings to ask for community input?

        The arch does represent Alhambra because, like much of the city, it has no coherence and doesn’t fit in. The new BMW dealer on Atlantic and Main looks more like a county jail and dwarfs all around it. Auto Row…depressing. Cerritos had a much better idea to have an auto mall.

        Downtown may be hopping, but it lacks of charm of Monrovia, quaintness of Sierra Madre or the sophistication of Glendale and Old Town Pasadena.

        Some of Alhambra’s residential areas are beautiful, but many are littered with ugly condos, apartments and out-of-place houses. It makes you wonder what was going on with planning commissions and city councils in this city.

        The shopping city on Main with Fresh and Easy is definitely an improvement over the car dealership that was there and the Shops at the Alhambra are pleasant enough. So, there have been improvements.

        It just could be so much better.

      4. Every large project with city involvement earns a plaque with the names of the sitting city council and city manager. It has been happening for decades. You may not think so, but it does have a historical significance.

  12. This is almost as bad as the useless Thomas Jefferson quote at Alhambra Park.

  13. Great use of an otherwise empty lot. The Alhambra Arch de Triomphe however, could have been a tad smaller and instead funds used to provide more shade structures to make it more inviting for pedestrian traffic.
    –Vincent Chang

    1. Did they council members all pay for this arch? If not, the plaque should say “Dedicated to the citizens of Alhambra,” or something like that. I realize it is standard practice to mention city “leaders,” but really, why does Steve Placido always insist of having Dr. in front of his name? Perhaps everyone else should have “Mr.” “Ms” or their educational title posted.

  14. This is one big waste of money. The arch is unattractive and disproportionate to everything around it. Couple this with the rainbow of colors on Main street and the city is starting to look like a joke. When is this city going to get some sense and style?

  15. I thinks it’s a huge waste of money. One more thing to tell you you’re in Alh.Every off ramp and freeway overpass tells you that. Who, in their rite mind is going to walk, set or stand on a corner loaded with suet from all of the traffic? How about something to earn revenue?
    –Linda Moody

  16. The diminutive landscaping is all out of proportion to the massive arch. Not pedestrian friendly either needs seating, shade trees, grass.
    –Paula E. Dold

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