Plying the P.E. Trail: Bisecting L.A.’s Edge

[ By Jill Newman ] [ Photos by Carlyn Aguilar and Daniel Lara ]

Currently on view at the Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA), Site as Symbol brings together the work of seven artists who utilize sites in and around Los Angeles as symbols for force, energy or progress, explored as both destructive and imaginative.  The curators, Survey West Collaborative, further push connections between the city and metaphor by hosting site-specific events in tandem with the exhibition. The second of which, Plying the P.E. Trail, was the closing event for the exhibition.

Reluctant urbanist and ecological ethicist, Claude Willey, led a bicycle tour along the Pacific Electric Inland Empire Trail from the Montclair Transportation Center, at the border of Los Angeles/San Bernardino County, through Ontario, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, and the outskirts of Fontana. Participants rode on a path once covered by the tracks of the Pacific Electric, which was part of an extensive trolley network connecting the tiny agricultural towns that would one day become key nodes in a vast urban conurbation. During the rolling excursion, riders explored the 'edge' of Los Angeles and drifted by the back sides of strip development, historic homes, and the varied barriers that keep us from getting too close.

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