Van Nuys Bl. Circa 1940

Van Nuys Blvd. Circa 1940 (courtesy Valley Relics)

Valley Relics posted this circa 1940 color photograph of Van Nuys Blvd. facing south (towards Sherman Oaks) near Victory Blvd.

Two things in the photo stand out that are different from today: the streetcar running up the center of the street and the diagonally parked cars.

For many years, people have spoken about the loss of the streetcar as a viable way of transportation around the Southland.  Many think that the sprawl of this city makes streetcars irrelevant and automobiles the only solution.

But streetcars traversed the sprawl of Los Angeles from the beginning, going across hundreds of miles, even when much of the land was undeveloped. They brought the Pasadenan to Venice and transported the Hollywoodian to Chatsworth.  They were above ground and had open windows.   No city of millions of people can be without a viable public transport. And cars–polluting, crowding, noisy, inefficient, expensive, deathly–are the most self-centered and self-destructive machines ever put inside a city. Los Angeles has been demonstrably more dysfunctional since the Red Car tracks were torn up.

Diagonal parking is a way of making shopping more convenient and serves to slow down traffic and discourage speeding. While current day Councilman Cardenas proposes raising metered parking rates in the midst of the Great Recession, the old photo above shows a thriving and much more appealing Van Nuys, with free diagonal parking,  than exists today.

2 thoughts on “Van Nuys Bl. Circa 1940

  1. Awesome photo Andy. Lived in the Valley in the early 90’s, went to music school right near there (Dick Grove, Sylvan St). One question-where is the sign for Dr.Gabbay?


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