Residents wary of criminals, vagrants in pedestrian tunnels

first_img“I see very little foot traffic going through it since the homeless took it over,” said Powell. Parking lots to businesses facing Ventura Boulevard sit on one side of the Sale Avenue tunnel that reaches into a tree-lined neighborhood off Avenue San Luis. Although concerned about the September attack inside the Sale Avenue tunnel, Helia Rafael, who parks near it for work every day, has never experienced trouble there. “We park in back and have never had a problem,” Rafael said. Today’s public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Woodland Hills Academy, 20800 Burbank Blvd. [email protected] (818) 713-3746160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’About 50 residents living around Oakdale Avenue – an area that will soon light up as Candy Cane Lane with dazzling holiday displays – signed a petition to have the tunnel closed. Their concerns reached the neighborhood council about a week before Sgt. Gabriel Kearney was hit over the head with a beer bottle and then charged at with a long kitchen knife Sept. 9 in the Sale Avenue tunnel. As a result, both underpasses have come under scrutiny. The 50-foot walkway at Oakdale was once a heavily used shortcut for students walking to Taft High School and others living in the well-groomed neighborhood, seeking access to Ventura Boulevard. Rotten bananas, tomatoes and dried out bagels litter the tunnel today. Black, spray-painted tagging marks the walls smeared in places with feces. Glancing at the tunnel from his front yard, resident Richard Powell said the walkway serves no useful purpose for the area anymore. He wants it closed. WOODLAND HILLS – Two tunnels under the Ventura Freeway built as pedestrian walkways have evolved over the years into cavernous havens for violent criminals, and nearby residents want them closed. Two men, still at large, attacked a Los Angeles police sergeant in September inside a tunnel at Sale Avenue, while the other at Oakdale Avenue has become home to vagrants who often stumble around drunk and naked, residents said. “They drink alcohol and scream in the middle of the night. They go to the bathroom there and have sex,” said one Oakdale Avenue resident who asked not to be named, fearing retaliation. “Everyone is scared.” Residents and business owners with concerns about the two corridors can speak out at a public hearing tonight before the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council, which will consider options for the tunnels at its Nov. 8 meeting. last_img read more