The grand plan for Silver Lake’s Jiffy Lube island

City engineers and the winners of a design competition are now working on how to build a monument and small plaza at Sunset Junction next to the Silver Lake Jiffy Lube.  But that $100,000 monument – part of a larger $1.5 million street improvement project – is only phase one of an ambitious plan to change the look of the intersection where Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards meet. In a few years, if long term plans and promised funding comes through, the Jiffy Lube that has sat alone in a triangular island bounded by Sunset, Santa Monica and Manzanita Street will be replaced by an approximately 20,000-square-foot transit plaza with solar-powered bus shelters, bike parking and room for a community gathering space.

The idea for the transit  plaza – which would also include a portion of Santa Monica Boulevard south the Jiffy Lube – came up three years ago during a series of public meetings on how to improve the street scape in and around Sunset Junction. What would be the purpose of a transit island? A final report issued in 2009 explains:

The new transit plaza at Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevard should feature different types of seating, pleasant landscaping, safe and clearly marked crosswalks, good lighting, and serve as a gallery for community art and expression. The transit plaza would add a visible destination to eat lunch, rest, rendezvous with friends, wait for transit, and otherwise enjoy.

The proposed transit plaza would include rerouting bus and cars off Santa Monica Boulvard, which would be closed to become part of the plaza, on to a reconfigured Manzanita Street on the west side of Jiffy Lube.  The Metropolitan Transit Authority has already pledged $3.7 million to covering  project but those funds won’t be available until 2015.  It’s still too early for the city to start working on details of this plan, and it’s not clear what the owners of property or Jiffy Lube think of the idea about selling the approximately 7,000-square-foot island and turning it into a transit plaza. Calls to Jiffy Lube were not returned.

“We don’t even have access to the funds for another four years,” said Julie Wong, spokesman for Councilman Eric Garcetti, who will have been termed out of office by the time work on the project beings. “We are thinking in advance.”

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  1. It’ll be great if it happens. A few years back there was a proposal for an 80+ unit rental project across Santa Monica from the Jiffy Lube. Apparently all of the parcels on that side of the street have been assembled into one site. Hopefully there can be some coordination between the design of the plaza and any mixed use building that goes in alongside. At the time a bunch of trendy NIMBYs whined about how Silver Lake is craftsman (guess they skipped the Neutra-Schindler phase). But there were some concerns that the commercial strip was not being extended further by the proposed building (in fact it seemed to be shortened) and about the sloping nature of the site (it drops to the west). A level plaza, that’s not sunken, would be a big plus. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  2. We need to stand behind Jiffy Lube. I don’t want yet another business pushed out of Silverlake by greedy speculators and gentrifiers. Enough is enough!

  3. That would be a great improvement over what’s currently there. And how about closing off Griffith Park where it meets Sunset (maybe with some landscaping and trees)… that intersection is pretty sketchy for pedestrians/cyclists too.

  4. Is “A Motorost” kidding? I sincerely can’t tell, but, either way, I laughed out loud at the idea of a Jiffy Lube being preferable to a transit area and park space. I hope this project actually happens–it would be such a victory for pedestrianism if we could connect the various walkable pockets of Silverlake and Echo Park! All the blight needs to be replaced with sidewalk-friendly business and landscapes so that that entire corridor becomes usable.

  5. it will be a good 10 years when (and IF) the Jiffy Lube is bought. Per the last meeting on this project I was at (last week) this is not a sure thing.

    Although I would LOVE to see a park at the Jiff Lube site, I like “A Mototost” hate the idea of kicking a business out. It is my understanding that the city will only get the Jiffy Lube site if the land owner is willing to sell and if the process is right.

  6. Wow, 1.5 million dollars and no metro/train stop. Great.

  7. Good lord. A desperately needed public space is going to replace an old, tired Jiffy Lube and people would rather the Jiffy Lube stay? Sometimes I think this city is hopeless.

    @Herman – Do you really think a metro station can be built for $1.5 million? Given the fact that having a station at Santa Monica/Sunset means having to build a line there first, we’re probably talking $1.5 billion with a B.

  8. I’m shocked at the peeps siding with Jiffy Lube on this one. It’s not like they would be forced out, they would be given a lot of money. And calling them a local business is a JOKE!…they are a chain based in New Mexico!!!

    Corporate chains are massive blight across LA and one of the reasons this place is so ugly….hello new Del Taco right down the street…

  9. Herman — There’s a Red Line stop at Santa Monica and Vermont, so I think it would only take a five-minute bus ride to get to the Sunset Junction.

  10. Adios Jiffy Lube.

  11. I suspect that “A Motorost” had his tongue firmly planted in cheek when writing that comment – that’s how I’m reading it anyway.

  12. A Motorost
    We need to stand behind Jiffy Lube. I don’t want yet another business pushed out of Silverlake by greedy speculators and gentrifiers. Enough is enough!

    I totally agree with you. others who dissagree are either paid off to support this waste of money or there turning a cheek when it can go towards other more important things…LIKE BALANCING THE BUDGET! …but I can see why we will never get out of this debt, because we keep spending money we dont have for stupid projects like this… No wonder LA is falling apart

  13. When I first heard Jiffy Lube mentioned, I thought they were referring to the back room at Circus of Books.

  14. All of the yuppies who keep developing need to go back to the suburbs. You have DESTROYED the east side!

    Why don’t you just build another tacky mixed-use building there and get it over with?

  15. Great news. Jiffy Lube is a ripoff anyway. They charge you extra for a money-siphoning “engine cleaning” that all the major auto manufacturers not only say you don’t need, but is actually harmful for your engine! Get your oil changed elsewhere!

    But an even greater news that this island is being taken over for public space. Next, take over the triangle island on Beverly/Virgil/Temple for a public square!

  16. Glad there are still people with gumption wanting to make a grand vision a reality. LA needs more of this. Much more.

  17. Elson, I agree with your comments about Jiffy Lube. They make very little profit on customers who just come in for oil changes; that’s why they constantly attempt to upsell mostly unnecessary services (engine cleaning, radiator flushes, transmission oil changes, etc.). Aside from that, there have been exposes of these large chains that showed the employees leaving the old oil filter or otherwise cheating customers.

  18. I don’t want to beat a dead horse (or horsepower, as it were), but here’s a link to a Channel 4 undercover sting on Jiffy Lube locations, for anyone who is interested.


  19. Thanks, James! I was waiting for someone to post that link. Enough said!

  20. @herman Several bus routes stop there: 2, 4, 704. trains aren’t the only transit in this city.

  21. I use Jiffy Lube all of the time. Don’t try to close it down and turn it into some hipster hair salon. If you hate Jiffy Lube, try E-Z Lube – basically a hell-hole.

    I am serious about this. These are people’s livelihoods and businesses and you all want to turn it into some place for hipsters to not ride public transportation.

    Hang your heads in shame.

  22. A Motorost, I haven’t heard anything about the city taking over this site through eminent domain, so if this plan goes through, it means that the city made an offer for the site that the property owner found acceptable. Nobody is forcing anybody out; if the owner of the property feels strongly that Jiffy Lube should stay there, then he or she (or whatever corporate entity owns that site) will refuse to sell.

  23. Jiffy Lube occupies one of the most visible and prominent locations in Silver Lake and contributes Absolutely NOTHING to the community. Its just a money making venture for the owners. For that reason alone it should removed.

    An empty plot of grass would give more to the community than Jiffy Lube ever would.

  24. I don’t care about Jiffy Lube. But to close that stretch of Santa Monica seems insane! That will be a traffic nightmare, forcing everyone to stop and make a left turn and then a right turn and into a red light. Thta will make a now pleasant intersection at Manzanita and Santa Monica into a horrible experience, for pedestrians and drivers alike. How ever is that an improvement!?

    I also don’t understand how this transit plaza is helpful. We just want a quick stop if needed, and drop off and pick up, not some waylaid delay for the bus riders. Buses are too slow getting anywhere already, and I’m afraid they will now always have to stop at this place — only to find that of the five people waiting, none wanted to get on that bus — meaning that stop was nothing but a delay.

    Why ever do we need some transit hub here? This isn’t some place where all buses in the region converge, like at LAX or the North Hollywood Metrorail station, or downtown. Only three buses come by here, and that’s all that is needed.

    This sounds VERY ill considered and based on nice but nonetheless ridiculous wishful thinking rather than common sense.

  25. RR I am appalled at the way you throw Jiffy Lube under the bus…literally! ALL of the businesses in Silverlake are just money-making ventures for their owners.

    Based on your logic, they all should be kicked out of Silverlake and turned into a giant transit plaza that everybody thinks is a good idea but that nobody will use. How dare you advocate for the complete destruction of Silverlake in favor of giant, lumbering, congestion-causing buses?


    First, Jiffy Lube…then what’s next…turn Intelligentsia into a ticket counter for Amtrak???

  26. Well, you have to admit, A Motorost, that the Intelligentsia employees’ uniforms do make them look like train-station attendants.

  27. @Henry: I think you may be confused… the idea is to simplify traffic flow by closing off the Santa Monica/Sunset/Sanborn clusterf**k and reconfiguring the street to move cars and buses directly to one traffic light at a widened Manzanita/Sunset intersection (creating public space for the community AND a safer intersection for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and cars). I fail to see the downside… unless you work at that Jiffy Lube.

    @A Motorost: I would bet that for a large portion of the day, more people cross sunset junction on foot/bike/bus combined than in cars alone, so providing a safer and simpler intersection for all modes, along with public space and off street bus shelters will benefit everyone… even the “motorosts” who want to zip through the neighborhood at 40mph.

    ALSO, consider this: Metro lists a Sunset/Santa Monica Blvd. rail line in tier 2 of it’s long range transportation plan, so higher bus ridership and heavier foot traffic can only benefit those of us in community who want to see that built in any of our lifetimes.

  28. No. More cars than pedestrians passed through that intersection every day. I am standing up for the rights of motorosts here, and everywhere. I don’t want to see this city turned into a bike-ocracy. I will vehemently oppose any attempt to build a rail line through this part of our community. I don’t think it’s right that you propose destroying roads and businesses just so that you can ride your bike.

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