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Heated Silver Lake Traffic Safety Meeting Monday

It included word that construction on the sidewalk between West Silver Lake Drive and Armstrong Avenue along Tesla Avenue will begin June 4.

The traffic at the north end of Silver Lake is tangled, with public and private construction projects making any global solution difficult.

That, of course, isn't stopping citizens and officials from trying, especially after a car recently killed a young woman crossing Rowena.

Council member Tom LaBonge led efforts at an over two-hour meeting at Ivanhoe Elementary School in Silver Lake on Monday.

Titled "Silver Lake Traffic Safety Community Meeting," it featured speakers from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the city Planning Department and the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.

The community too turned out in good numbers, and many spoke their minds.

Congestion along Rowena Drive caused by the DWP's on-going reservoir Pipeline project was one concern.

So was safety, for children crossing Rowena to school and customers visiting businesses along the obstructed stretch.

Local business owners worried that the increased difficulty of parking and walking along Rowena would deter customers.

Neighbors near the digging along Rowena complained that official detours (along Riverside) were being ignored and that their streets had become thoroughfares.

At the heart of many's short-term frustrations was whether a long-term solution was being considered, beyond the DWP project timeline.

Tom LaBonge has long spoken out for a "road diet" type of traffic calming, by eliminating a lane of traffic in each direction.

Some Monday felt that diet should co-exist with the DWP's partial closure of Rowena that, as some noted, is a de facto "diet" in itself.

But LaBonge and others felt it made more sense to formally address traffic calming after DWP engineers and workers had finished their task.

Possible short-term remediations discussed at the meeting included stationing a flag "person" at the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Rowena during work hours, to encourage drivers to take the current detour along Riverside Drive.

The intersection at Rowena and Glendale is expected to stay blocked for several months as construction continued.

LaBonge also pledged to finds funds for signs along near Ivanhoe School to protect students walking there.

Finally, Steven Cole of the LADWP helped LaBonge update with the latest about the sidewalk along the Silver Lake Reservoir and Tesla Avenue, between West Silver Lake Drive and Armstrong Avenue.

A six-foot-wide sidewalk will be built on the south side of the street, using some of the existing DWP property in the dam and near the pre-school.

Construction will begin on June 4 and continue through mid-October, Tesla will be closed to pedestrians during that time. A single lane of traffic will run west from Armstrong Avenue to West Silver Lake Drie.

Some noted Monday that the closure will add an extra three-tenths of a mile to the route around the lake.

Runners will have to detour up West Silver Lake Drive to Armstrong Avenue, making one lap now equal 2.5 miles.

Some worried that free-spirited locals will take the auto route anyway. LADWP officials hope signage will prevent that.

We shall see.

Phyl van Ammers May 01, 2012 at 02:25 PM
When I went to Ivanhoe, we used the underpass to get to the other side. The city concreted in the underpass. There used to be an underpass to get to Fletcher Drive School and to Mitcheltorena School.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 04:20 PM
@Phyl--Why'd they do that? Was the underpass hard to maintain?
doreet May 01, 2012 at 06:16 PM
the one at Micheltorena was closed due to lack of use after a traffic light was installed at the corner and safety concerns. A few years ago, I reviewed 3 large boxes of Micheltorena history (going back to 1905) and found many remarks of safety concerns about people living in the underpass starting as early as 1930's. We still have issues with people living in the underpass.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 06:29 PM
@Doreet--Do you think the same thing happened on Rowena?
doreet May 01, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Anthea- I don't know. The school history info I reviewed was all for Micheltorena (really cool stuff; PTA records from the 1940's, report cards from the 1910's, yearbooks and newspaper articles). I am sure some on has historical records on Ivanhoe. If not, LAUSD does have an office of historical artifacts.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 08:37 PM
@Doreet-Very cool. Did not know know that about LAUSD historical artifacts. We need to have a show of local school memorabiia. Wonder if LaBonge would put that together. Someone should ask him. Or Bennett Kayser.
doreet May 01, 2012 at 09:49 PM
there is a staff person at LAUSD who runs the office of artifacts (or there once was, don't know if she was laid off or not). I meet her at an event at USC, when I get home tonight i will see if i have her business card and send you her number.
doreet May 01, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Anthea, this is the LAUSD Art & Artifact Collection http://notebook.lausd.net/portal/page?_pageid=33,1073613&_dad=ptl&_schema=PTL_EP
Ronald van Ammers May 02, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Why wasnt the crossing guard for Ivanhoe just put in the underpass? They could close it when not in use. Or they could install webcams. Too late now. Ivanhoe underpass was destroyed during the recent ladwp work there. LaBonge's office claims micheltorena school underpass not earthquake proof. Dont know why allesandro school underpass closed. The bus lets out near there and it's quite a distance to a crossing signal.
doreet May 02, 2012 at 02:16 AM
the Micheltorena underpass is a mess and no parent would allow a child in there, with the cross walk being so close. the Allesandro one is still in use.
Ronald van Ammers May 02, 2012 at 06:49 AM
If it is a mess, it can be cleaned up. How genuine is labonge's earthquake worry?
doreet May 02, 2012 at 12:36 PM
the one at Micheltorena has been cleand up and once the city workers leave, the vandles break back in and mess it up once more. I know nothing about the one at Ivanhoe, but with the traffice light so close why would any parent let their kid use the underpass? the two underpasses i know of that are still in use- one on Temple in Echo Park/ Rampart and the one for Allesandro are not hear traffice lights.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Doreet-- Thank you!
Ronald van Ammers May 02, 2012 at 07:53 PM
@doreet, youre right about the allesandro underpass being open. Google streetview shows it so, and it looks very inviting and well maintained. I still dont understand why one would prefer a street crossing to an underpass, tho. Pedestrian crosswalks w/ or w/out a signal are inherently unsafe and interfere with vehicular traffic. If underpass vagrancy is a problem, install webcams, station a crossing guard, or close it after hours. Streets are safer now than since the 60s. Crack-alley (vendome) is no more.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Tom LaBonge sent out this letter Wednesday afternoon with his summary of what was accomplished at the meeting Monday: https://docs.google.com/open?id=1yW9G5RT-GawysZmoyA2NMClY8IYN5rduR0c549OnJM2_q82kbwazrSyurIS3
Lloyd D. May 07, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I watch pedestrians ignore the signs recently put up around Mohawk Bend prohibiting jaywalking. They engage in a deadly game of "Frogger" and I fear it is not a matter of if someone will be struck by a car on busy Sunset Blvd, but when.
clairvoyant May 08, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Tom has never been a long term fan of road diets, the community has advocated it for YEARS, he started to listen during his last election.

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