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It's a k-rail block party in La Cañada Flintridge

Neighbors get together with food, music, to celebrate removal of the barriers.

July 18, 2013|By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com
  • Neighbors, including 17-month old Rowan Donofrio listening to a live band, gathered at the end of Big Briar Way for a party to celebrate the future removal of the k-rails from in front of their homes in La Canada Flintridge on Saturday, July 13, 2013. The party included a band and neighbors brought food and drink. The k-rails have been in place since early 2010 after the floods.
Neighbors, including 17-month old Rowan Donofrio listening… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

It's not been unusual in recent years to see k-rails in hillside neighborhoods of La Cañada Flintridge decorated for each season.

While living next to the mud-blocking barriers that were installed after the 2009 Station fire, residents have added festive touches: pumpkins for Halloween, inflatable animals wearing Santa hats for Christmas.

Now, one scuffed-up barrier at the end of the cul-de-sac on Big Briar Way has a new decoration: a sign that reads, 'ADIOS KRAIL.'

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council voted in June to remove the k-rails from all but one neighborhood in the city, an action that will free the residents of Big Briar and nearby streets from the barriers they have said devalued the neighborhood and caused blind spots. The barriers are expected to be removed in the coming months.

Residents who are members of the neighborhood group Haskell Highlands — who pushed city officials to remove the k-rails from their area — threw a small neighborhood block party to celebrate the decision.

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On Saturday afternoon, neighbors walked up Big Briar Way and set up lawn chairs in front of the k-rail. Then they grabbed plates of food and drinks while local band Misplaced Priorities belted out popular covers of songs from the Rolling Stones and the Eagles, among others.

Richard and Mary Emily Meyers, who have lived in the neighborhood for 26 years, own the house that sits nearest to the k-rail. They remember when the Station fire burned dangerously close on a hill above their property. Richard Meyers, who plays in Misplaced Priorities, said he took the opportunity to liven up the barrier before crews had cleared the first onslaught of mud.

As a joke, he set up a fake arm in a hole in the k-rail and placed a shovel, which was stuck in the mud, in the hand.

"Those guys went crazy," he recalled of the workers. "It looked like somebody dropped a k-rail on this guy."

Since then, he said adding embellishments to the deteriorating k-rails had become a kind of obsession.

"We had fun with it," he said.

For the party, he brought out all of the holiday decorations he has used on the k-rails over the past four years. Faux flowers were placed in the top of orange traffic cones.

When they were installed in the neighborhood, the k-rails were white. Now some of them are beige in color, with cracks and chipped edges.

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