Over the last year, Silver Lake residents who live around the reservoir have dealt with missing coyotes, missing herons, bird balls, gypsies, and now comes word of another drama: With the forthcoming meadow/ pathway opening this fall, the city has proposed adding a stoplight to Silver Lake Boulevard at Earl Street to help visitors safely cross the street to get to the meadow. Not unexpectedly, people who live along Earl, a thin ribbon of a street that wraps over the hill to Glendale Boulevard, are freaking out about both the traffic that'll be caused by the light and the increased cut-though traffic on Earl. At least one resident started a petition, while a group met last Monday with representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and City Council President Eric Garcetti's office. Above are images of the pathway entrance/proposed streetlight location; more on meeting after jump.
At issue is not only the light, but that fact that city officials suggested that drivers be barred from left turns to Silver Lake Boulevard during peak hours. (The other light on Silver Lake Boulevard is at Duane Street; it also has a "no left turn" stipulation.)
According to those who attended the meeting, there are a few different opinions among locals towards the light: Those who don't mind the light, but want to abolish the turning left rule; those who want no light/crosswalk at all; and those who want a pedestrian crosswalk, not a light.
There also seems to be some confusion about what Silver Lake residents asked the city for initially during the early meadow planning talks. Did they ask for a traffic light? But one local resident who attended the meeting tells Curbed: "We pointed out that we, the community, asked for safe PEDESTRIAN crossing, not a full traffic light, which we know will probably lead to cut-through traffic from the 2....I didn't stay until the end, as there was much shouting and finger-pointing. "
At least one resident asked for a pedestrian-controlled, flashing red signal that would be placed mid-block, an idea that was reportedly applauded.
UPDATE: Another excerpted report from a resident who attended the meeting: "....Even many of the Meadow proponents were upset. They wanted an instant-access ped-only crosswalk midblock. DOT (Dept. of Trans.) & Garcetti's office placed it at Earl, to provide safe access to Silver Lake blvd. as that's a nasty double-blind curve. I know enough about traffic engineering to know that you can't do instant-access for peds because the result is traffic grinds to a halt with constant stop cycles, and then you've got jams and even more upset people...
It's worth remembering that it was a big struggle even to get a signalized crossing here, as the previous DOT mgr. totally nixed it, and Garcetti got it fast-tracked as it was clear it was important to give the Meadow/Path project safe access. So it happens and it became yet another Silver Lake drama fest.."
So far, nothing has been decided. A streetlight still could end up going in, but Julie Wong, spokesperson for City Council President Eric Garcetti, told Curbed: "We are planning to go back to the LADOT to discuss other options. There may be alternatives to having a streetlight there."
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