Silver Lake bench removal does not sit well with some residents

Silver Lake

Sign and concrete pad where bench once stood

One of the benches that was removed shown above in 2012

One of the benches that was removed shown above in 2012

SILVER LAKE –  Since a pair of  sleek wood and steel benches were installed on the north end of the Silver Lake reservoirs about nearly two years ago, they had become a popular spot for people to take a break in a shady spot called Mallard Grove. But recently, the benches near Tesla Avenue and Armstrong Street were removed by the Department of Water and Power,  leaving only the concrete slabs that had supported the seats and a black and white sign saying: “Improvements In Progress. The Benches Will Return Soon.”  Why were the benches removed?  It turns out a nearby resident complained that the benches were being used by suspicious persons.  The benches are coming back but some residents are not happy about how the situation was handled.

Craig Collins, president of the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy, the nonprofit group that spearheaded the installation of the benches, explained what happened:

In response to the concerns of a neighbor, LA DWP is reorienting the benches in the Mallard Grove on Tesla. Benches have been temporarily removed while their bases are turned so that visitors will be facing towards the lake, rather than towards Tesla. In addition, a new light and security camera will be added.

But Silver Lake resident Guy Vidal said he and others are  not happy about the change and the DWP’s failure to contact others about the bench removal. Vidal said the benches were used all the time, mostly by moms, nannies and kids. Said Vidal in an email:

They made the block happier – by causing parents and kids to congregate there … I don’t know who complained but the local residents sitting there were not people casing the neighbor’s home. And even if the persons sitting there were not locals (I wonder how one could discern that anyway) – that doesn’t make them potential thieves.”
Moving the benches is not going  to deter burglars, Vidal said. “It is simply a ridiculous compromise.”


  1. I’d love to hear what constitutes a “suspicious person.”

    Honestly people, find something productive to do with your time.

  2. “It turns out a nearby resident complained that the benches were being used by suspicious persons.”
    Now they’re reporting benches to the authorities. Was an airbnb guest sitting on the bench?

  3. Sounds like somebody needs to move to a gated community if they’re paranoid about a park bench.

  4. Good to know the city will cave to a single person’s outrageous demands. As long as it distracts the city from all of the other real problems going on in the city. Also, dear neighbor, you live in a city; there will be all sorts of people living here until we all die in a cataclysmic apocalypse scenario.

  5. People Who Don’t Live On This Block Don’t Know Whats Going On At Night .. The People Who Do Know.. So There Is A Reason 4That”

    • Well I certainly hope those on your block feel safer with the benches turned to face the lake. I assume you are armed and caution you to be careful not to shoot each other.

  6. If true, this story is remarkable on a couple fronts.

    For starters, LADOT is atrocious at responding to concerns around pedestrian safety along roads, claiming they’re too broke to do anything. And yet, one resident voices concerns about these new benches and LADOT is all over it? Got plenty of $$ for this, it seems. Perhaps they’re not so broke after all.

    But then, the other point is about what this actually would accomplish, because there’s data out there to show that people actually prefer using benches that face human activity versus those facing just plants and flowers. So, this switcheroo of the benches will only make them less appealing for people to use and, ironically enough, probably make it easier for anyone actually engaged in suspicious behavior while sitting on the benches to shield themselves from prying eyes.


    • Actually, it is the LA DWP not the DOT. The DWP has a lot of $$$. Secondly, it seems to me that if the benches are not permanently being removed and they are just being faced towards the reservoir, then it really is not a big deal.

      • Yes, it seems like a small distinction, but DWP has an independent funding stream, so they have a lot more discretionary cash. This will become clear if you ever interact with them, eg around moving a power line or meter.

  7. Yeah, your right #90032. People who don’t live on that block don’t know what goes on at night But I assume you do ! So Why are you Beating around the Bush ,seems you know so much why keep that information to your self ? Tell us what’s going on.

  8. Miss Fanny Pack

    Maybe the suspicious person was actually a Dog, which as we know do not belong in there !
    Or maybe the Mayor of the Meadow was checking his seat..

    • Oh Miss Fanny Pack, at which court will you now jest, since your NIMBY royalty were booted from the Neighborhood Council by the community? Rejected overwhelmingly, in fact.

  9. Only in Silver lake would this ridiculous complaint get not only heard, but moved upon.

  10. Oh my Fanny you have awaken Freud Sat Nan from his neighborhood kingdom, Glad to hear your onboard with the new agenda on the Neighborhood Counsel., The new governing body should be a thrill a minute, especially after we all sing The Age of Aquarius to a nice drum beat with lots of spirit fingers up in the air, Yup its all good. But where the heck is my bench……………

  11. These benches never sat well with me anyway. I don’t understand why they are so fancy and over designed. I much prefer a good old fashioned unpretentious park bench to the flashy design of these.

  12. The only thing dumber than this story is the comment thread attached.

  13. The last gasp of Empower Silver Lake.

  14. i’m wondering if anyone remembers the uproar when these were planned. “they cost too much,” “they should spend that money on bike lanes for autistic kids.”

    now everyone is pissed they’re gone. classic.

    • You missed the point of that previous complaint: cost, not that there would be a bench. Everyone was happy to have a bench — but people could not see why it should cost $3,500 for a single bench! They still want a bench. But it does not need to be so dramatically overpriced that it is throwing money away that could be used for other things.

      Of course this is the city that just entered a contract to have reusable shopping bags made (so the city can give them away) at a cost of $5.00 each — you know, the ones that EVERYONE sells for $1 or less at a profit. How could the city possibly go to the supermarket, or to 99 Cents Only Stores, and pay $1 for them when they could instead enter a contract to make them at wholesale for $5.00 each? Garcetti sure is keeping good watch on city expenditures.

  15. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how turning the bench around will solve whatever the problem neighbors are having with the “suspicious” person. The best that I can cup up with is that there is a person masterbating while facing their house and they are expecting that if the benches are flipped he will at least just be facing the lake.

  16. Miss Fanny Pack

    Guess those benches were “Theirs Not Ours” must of moved them to the Green polka dots plaza.

  17. Oh, L. Mitford and Miss Fanny Pack, as much as you complain and whine about the Age of Aquarius and drum circles, the community woke up to your Empower Silver Lake contingent’s bullying, tactics, and dishonesty, then crying “victim” just to keep the Neighborhood Council like a homeowners association for you and your friends. Your ideas could never gain legitimacy through support from the community, and now with the bully pulpit of the Neighborhood Council gone, you can’t even fake legitimacy. You were defeated because you stand for things that many in Silver Lake can’t get behind. So, please face it. You were defeated quite decisively. Yours Not Ours got a mandate to change the NIMBY culture of the Council. You’re not going to convince anyone you are the voice of the community through your desperate, narcissistic claims to undo the elections. Try to gain some legitimacy through your ideas, not by kicking and screaming like sore losers. Or sore winners.

    Of course, this is all just my opinion.

    • Is there a link to the removal of the benches to the recent election? I still want to know to what incident(s) 90032 refers. Will repositioning the benches with lighting and surveillance cameras alleviate the problems?

  18. Fraud sat nan
    Yup Yep Yup who’s complaining we are all living the Dream – only time will tell where our new NC will lead us. – in the meantime keep working on perfecting your spirit fingers and tell “Theirs not ours” we want our Bench back.

  19. Seems like there was lots of Neighborhood council drama….could someone sum it up for me? Sounds juicy.

    • @Danny: one powerless body was replaced by another.

      • Silver Lake ridicule is spreading. Already the laughing-stock of metropolitan LA, SL’s nimbyism has crossed the country. Overheard in Brooklyn during a Park Slope “discussion,” “Oh don’t get all Silver Lake about the food coop inventory! The tale benches has yet to go national but there’s a plan for a 24/7 SL bench-cam site. We’ll all be able to view what the 90032s see.

      • @ Michael- Amen! All the SLNC drama just reminds me of a student council election. Lots of self-important idiots happy to have a podium on which to sit. The new council will continue to make ineffectual (if different) proclamations just like the old.

  20. See you can’t trust white people they like to sit on benches ” LOOKY LUES”


    • Indeed, there are as yet no lakes in Silverlake, only reservoirs. But in a few years there might be a swimming pool in Silverlake called Ivanhoe Pool.

    • The question is why did they just cut down the biggest shade tree in that little grove? Forever changed. Benches are but a footnote. Now, nothing about it will be the same. A real tragedy,

  22. soon we’ll need to show proof that we live in SL in order to run around the reservoir. ugh… uptight moms ruined silver lake.

  23. Would someone explain why the tree in the middle of this area was chopped down today?

  24. It was explained to us that the tree was removed to make way for the new placement of the benches, and a new tree will be planted in it’s place. What looked to be a 100 year old tree was removed to make room for benches? It’s just simply ridiculous. The new tree should be providing nice shade by… 2094 or so.

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