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Friday, September 19, 2014

A monument in the making for Sunset Junction

Traffic swirls around a barren and cracked swath of asphalt at the corner where  Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards meet at Sanborn Avenue in Silver Lake.  Here, next to the Jiffy Lube and across from the Circus of Books in Sunset Junction, city officials have proposed building a community monument or what some call an  “artistic, permanent installation.”   The monument set amid a small plaza would anchor the western end of  a $1.5 million project that includes new street trees, patterned crosswalks and bike racks along a three-block stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Sanborn and Edgecliff Drive (click here for a block-by-block proposal).

The proposal shows the examples of the monument signs plunked into the median strips and sidewalks of other neighborhood, including those for Lincoln Heights and El Sereno.  But what should this Silver Lake monument/artistic, permanent installation look like?   Should it honor Sunset Junction’s former role as a streetcar rail hub or pioneering gay rights activists? Or maybe it should be  a version of Silver Lake’s Five Dollar Guy and his van?

A steering committee of Silver Lake residents is taking suggestions on the monument and other elements of the plan. Contact Mitchell O’Farrell with Council District 13 at Mitch.OFarrell@lacity.org for  details.

17 comments

  1. We did this in Glassell Park and Atwater Village(Fletcher Drive) called Streetscape Plan with CD 13 YEARS AGO. Went to all these planning meetings and GOT NOTHING! I guess we have to live in Silver Lake to get basic services done.

  2. Are described, the project sounds fine — and pretty minor, not really all that much. Except that the price is unbelievable. The plan shows nine samplings to be added, and 13 poles called bike racks. And a little something sign and maybe some planting at the triangle. That for $1.5 million!!!?

    No wonder the city is on the verge of bankruptcy! The project as proposed should not even be six digits much less deep into seven!

  3. Sorry, typo. That was:

    As described, the project sounds fine — and pretty minor, not really all that much. Except that the price is unbelievable. The plan shows nine saplings to be added, …

  4. Tom – There’s decorative crosswalks and bulb outs too. The bulb outs especially can be expensive. Very exciting to get them here on Sunset though. The ones they’ve installed in Santa Monica and Long Beach really give pedestrians some breathing room, and make it both faster and less scary to cross the street.

    I wish they had taken this opportunity to put Sunset on a “road diet” as well though. I find it so strange that a neighborhood as nice as Silverlake has a main street with all the charm of a freeway. They need to give Sunset the same treatment that Figueroa is about to get with he upcoming MyFigueroa project: Separated bike lanes, wide sidewalks, street furniture, human scale lighting, etc. Things that make you feel like the street is for both cars and people, not mostly for cars with pedestrians as a half-assed afterthought.

  5. Great….while there couls always be better, this is a pretty good start and hopefully will be the impetus for expanding this idea throughout Silver Lake. Yes to “road diets”!

  6. I will be voting for a permanent installation of a 12 foot tall drag queen!!
    And street stamping of music notes
    And bike racks in different shapes and colors like red coffee cup and green roller skates.
    If you don’t like my ideas? Join the committee and suggest your own (I am on the committee)

  7. Am I the only one who thinks the biggest difference between LA and other cities is that that Jiffy Lube would be a city park anywhere else?

    Seriously, talk about a prime location.

  8. last I checked Silverlake goes down Sunset at least another mile. What about us down here by the Tropical and further ?

  9. YES to more trees and bike racks. NO to trite public artwork. A huge “L.A.” sign? Really??? Come on, no more tacky neighborhood demarcation signs. Just plant more trees and native plants.
    Why on earth does we have to have all these lame public “art” projects that are so friggin’ literal!

  10. bb- Micheltorena School and CD13 applied for and were given a grant to improve the streets around the school. Here is the info http://micheltorena.org/safe-routes-to-school. I believe the area around Tropical will be covered

  11. I’d like to see the safety of the Santa-Monica & Sunset intersection improved — the sidewalk on the south side at Sanborn is ridiculously narrow, the lanes on SM are so narrow at that it’s dangerous for cyclists turning from SM onto Sunset. Moving the proposed “pocket plaza” to the east side of the intersection (rather than in front of Jiffy Lube), and making the last block of SM actually one way could do all that !! Otherwise, this just looks like a silly waste of $$ like we got in EXP a couple years back :(

  12. I live on Sanborn, so to see this makes me happy. I have lived here at the junction for 16 years now. Those in this neighborhood have worked hard to transform it, and I am happy to see the city recognize that.

    For those crying “what about my block”, let me just point out that these blocks have an extraordinary amount of foot traffic. The largest number of people will benefit from this. In addition those large crowds have put stress on the neighborhood (just look at the condition of the curb and the trees along the south side of Sunset in this stretch, if that is not enough for you come deal with the extra trash and trouble that comes with the crowds). We welcome you to our neighborhood, don’t hate on us because the city wants to help us improve it for all who enjoy it.

    As to specific monument plans… Please don’t be too trendy, or too literal. We don’t need the monument to hit us over the head with who we are, especially since who we are is ever evolving. Yes Silver Lake has a gay history and an arts history, but it also has a ethnic history and a family history, but if this monument comes out looking like a black cat playing guitar and wearing a sombrero while riding on a red car someone is going to get hurt.

  13. jj- please join the committee; you have a well blanced view.

  14. I’ve always thought that the heart of LA is the downtown to Hollywood axis as represented by Sunset Blvd. But driving down Sunset from downtown through Echo park and Silverlake one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Most stretches of Sunset between downtown and Los Feliz are marred by overhead power lines, billboards, trashy facades, and lack of greenery. As such this project is a welcome development but personally I’d like to see this entire stretch of Sunset beautified with landscaped medians (especially as the old streetcar lane in the middle permits this), widened and tree-lined sidewalks, undergrounding of power lines, facade improvement, etc. This sort of beautification is common in the Westside but not yet NELA.

  15. A life-size, life-like statue of the Walking Man. I miss him.

  16. I just hope it doesn’t end up looking like something from West L.A…….. or worse; something from Orange County

  17. A 20 foot high wall to screen-off jiffylube which could be used by graffiti artists. If you dont like what you see on the wall paint over it. The only requirement for getting your turn would be that a picture of the wall be taken before you start. An ever lengthening loop of all the pictures taken todate would play on a screen nearby.

    Or some variation on this idea.

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