Last winter’s rain sent a 20-foot-wide chunk of hillside on the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake tumbling down on to Sunset Boulevard near Coronado Street. Much of the small landslide remained untouched as city engineers conducted a field study, which blamed the February collapse on tree roots that had grown into and expanded the fractures on the steep, 30-foot high slope that looms over the sidewalk. That same study, which was issued in late February, warned of a public safety hazard and recommended removing lose rock and debris – including a giant palm tree stump – from the slope before cleaning up the landslide below. More than eight months later, and with another winter only weeks away, the landslide still blocks the sidewalk, forcing many pedestrians on to the street. Shrubs have begun to grow on the pile of dirt and rocks that fell last February.
Echo Park resident Gordon Harris in September fired off an email to the office of Councilman Eric Garcetti asking why the landslide and the trash litter between Waterloo and Coronado streets had not been cleaned up. He never got a reply. Gordon in his email said he was puzzled why cleaning up a pile of dirt was taking so long:
“I don’t understand why it has taken so long for the city to repair the sidewalk from a landslide that occurred months ago. The dirt mound is so large that people are forced to walk into the street in the way of traffic. Has this repair even been scheduled?”
City officials are scheduled to meet today regarding the sidewalk landslide but it’s still not certain when the debris will be cleaned up.
Even when the dirt is cleared away, the erroding hillside will continue to pose a hazard to residents. The field study by the city’s Geotechnical Engineering Group said that the slope needs to be stabilized in the long term. The report warned:
“The oversteepened cut slope presents a public safety hazard to both pedestrians using the sidewalk at the base of the slope and vehicular traffic on Sunset Boulevard. Further, the ongoing errosion could over time adversely affect the stability of the upslope properties. “
Department of Public Works spokesman Richard Lee said part of the delay in cleaning up the mess might be because the slide involves private property. “It’s private property coming down to the public right of way,” he said.
So, when is it going to be cleaned up? Lee didn’t know but said perhaps there would be more information following today’s meeting.