Earlier this year the Department of Water and power built a mock-up of a proposed 550-foot long boardwalk on the north end of the Ivanhoe Reservoir. The elevated structure would run along Tesla Avenue and close the final gap in the walking path circling the Ivanhoe and Silver Lake Reservoirs. Councilman Tom Labonge is a big fan of the boardwalk but many other residents have their doubts about whether the boardwalk will keep improve safety by keeping walkers and joggers off the narrow street. On Saturday afternoon, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council will hold a town hall to review the pros and cons of the boardwalk.
Neighborhood council member Susan Hutchinson, speaking for herself and not the council, summarized the concerns this way:
“There are concerns about whether all pedestrians will use the boardwalk and what, if any, other options might provide safe passage for all pedestrians and bicycles too.
The boardwalk is very narrow for a walkway that is elevated and fenced on both sides. Access is at either end of a 500′ stretch. It is difficult to imagine all pedestrians sharing the boardwalk safely when foot traffic is heaviest. At such times the street is currently full of people moving at different paces, joggers sharing the street with strollers, the elderly and people walking three dogs. It is logical to assume that not all of these folks will commit to getting up on the boardwalk. Some will opt to stay in the street, particularly at 5 p.m. on a winter evening when the street is dark.
My biggest concern is that if the boardwalk is built the street would become more of a highway. Traffic could speed up, making street conditions more dangerous. People who opt not to jog, take their dog, or take their chances in the dark on the boardwalk in December will be sharing the street with faster cars and actually be more at risk than they are now.
Alternatives that provide safe passageway for all pedestrians, bicyclists and cars and that also calm traffic should be considered.”
Hutchinson said Saturday’s town hall at the Silver Lake Recreation Center will provide other residents to share their views on the project. “I hope that everyone uses this opportunity to participate in the discussion.”