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.
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.