DWP prepares to plug the gap in Silver Lake reservoirs walking path

The opening of a new pathway around most of  the Silver Lake reservoirs about four years ago has proved popular with neighborhood walkers and runners. But an approximately 500-foot-long section of the  path remains unfinished on the north end of the Ivanhoe Reservoir (the smaller of the two reservoirs), where pedestrians are forced to share narrow Tesla Street with passing cars and trucks. On Tuesday night, a female pedestrian was struck by a car near Tesla and West Silver Lake Drive,  prompting residents to ask for the pathway to be completed and for other safety improvements. The Department of  Water Power, meanwhile, says work on that long-planned foot path could begin in June.

“We’re working with the DWP to install a sidewalk on Tesla Avenue that will complete the walking path encircling the Silver Lake reservoir,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge.  “The recent accident that injured a walker on Tesla just re-affirms our resolve to get the Tesla sidewalk completed as soon as possible.  Safety is my top-priority.”

After the Tuesdsay’s accident, the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy has called for improved lighting and other safety features in addition to the completion of the path along Tesla. The conservancy on its website said:

All path users and drivers know how unsafe this segment is, with no sidewalk and a very narrow street. Night time runners face an even greater safety hazard, as lighting is inadequate. The corner where the accident occurred is also hazardous, with limited visibility.

After abandoning plans for an elevated boardwalk proposed by Councilman Tom LaBonge, the DWP is now preparing to carve out enough room for a walking path to get pedestrians off Tesla Street between  Armstrong Avenue and West Silver Lake Drive. “Components of a retaining wall are currently under construction at LADWP facilities and construction work on the path itself will commence in June 2012 with expected completion by December 2012,” the DWP said in a statement.

View Walking Path Gap in a larger map


  1. It’s about time.

  2. It’s important to note that runners & bikers do best to always assume that cars do not see them, that’s the safest way to avoid injury.

  3. Wow. During the six month construction project for one city block sidewalk, path users will have to avoid regular traffic and construction vehicles, too. That end of the reservoir will be hectic, to say the least. I wonder if Tesla will end up being a one-way street.

    • A six month construction period is quite impressive for one block. At that rate the city’s freeway system would take infinite years to rebuild. No wonder the City is in financial ruin. Imagine the overtime of 30 people watching 1 person pour concrete, that will be put into this effort because safety is a top priority.

      • Exactly right, Brandon! Is it only you and me who can see how grossly mismanaged these public works are and that, this is the number one reason why the city AND the state are in financial ruin?

  4. I was sorry to see the original elevated walkway plan abandoned because it would’ve provided something of a view south across the two reservoirs. But better a notch in the north berm than nothing.

    Hindsight being what it is, rather than the proposed six-month stretch of additional impact from this construction, it would’ve been awesome if the project could’ve been coordinated with the pipeline work that closed West Silver Lake Drive at Rowena and taken advantage of the traffic that was reduced during that duration. Instead, as is too often and ironically the case, it took someone getting hurt for safety to suddenly be re-asserted as the city’s top priority.

    • It’s fickle how injury or death seems to be the catalyst for officials to discuss procuring safety measures.

    • There would have been no view. The boardwalk design was low and away from the reservoir so that the reservoir could not be tampered with. Only one pedestrian surveyed said that he would use it no matter what the conditions. Most said they would use the boardwalk if it wasn’t dark out or crowded and that they would continue to use the street to avoid strollers, runners and dogs. So the street still would have been the main pedestrian way and the boardwalk would have sped up traffic. The boardwalk also posed liability and safety issues as it was a 500 ft fenced stretch with no exit off or access to it in the middle of the street at Rokeby, at its highest elevation. Rescue could not have accessed the boardwalk in the middle if there was an accident and pedestrians could not easily exit in case of an emergency or crime.

      Cutting into the berm was approved by the State almost a year ago. DWP marked the street said they were going to begin construction last July. It will take continued public pressure on the City and DWP to get this project going since it has had several soft start dates that have passed without explanation. I do not believe that safety is the number one concern here but that liability does help to move things which is why death and injury are catalysts.

      • what was the sample size of the focus group? What controls were in place to assure all demographics were represented? Was a survey questionnaire sent out to Silverlake residents? (i can tell you no…i’m a homeowner and never saw a thing).

        Safety and security? Give me a break, there are thousands of boardwalks in this country spanning long lengths. So we’ve essentially forced thousands of runners/walkers/families/pets to travel next to 5000lb automobiles for 2-3 years so we can come up with a “safe” solution?

        500 continuous ft a problem? how many engineers does is take to figure out a ramp and staircase access in the middle of the span.

        Absolutely ridiculous that this has gone on this long. Folks, there are no “perfect solutions”. The boardwalk should have been built years ago. Even if it only represented a stop-gap until making Tesla a one-way or closed street eventually for overflow.

        I’m surprised more accidents and injuries haven’t happened as risk management “delay-by-committee” and cost escalation has put MORE people at risk trying to come up with a solution that appeases everyone (and of course probably costs 10x more). Even more infuriating is the boardwalk construction had already started and tax payers paid to rip it out!

        Note to bureaucrats: Be part of the solution folks, not the problem.

  5. Close Tesla! Paint green dots! There you go. Now it’ll take only a weekend instead of half a year.

  6. For those who might be wondering why it’s so difficult to get the Tesla path built, DWP has to notch out a section of the dam and build retaining walls to provide space for the path. Engineering and approvals for that design have been an issue, as has financing. Regardless, it’s TIME to get it built and to have it done right! Community opposition to the elevated boardwalk killed that proposal.

  7. I don’t really see why Tesla needs to be a through street for cars. It’s totally unnecessary with Armstrong right there. Why not make it a one way street that doesn’t go all the way through and allow only it’s handful of residents to use it. Then there’s no excavation necessary at all. Cars already rule the entire city, can’t people have a little?

    Also, the other end of the lake by the rec center needs help as well. Walkers can barely pass on the narrow sidewalk on Van Pelt. Why not make the path cut through the park right at the base of the dam? It would be much more pleasant and safer.

    • Since the DWP is going to be doing all that construction around the Rec Center, they’ll have to make a detour for the running path. Bobby: great idea and keep talking about it! You can contact tom labonge and let them know you want it!

  8. Corina Danckwerts

    SIMPLE SOLUTION: Block of Tesla at both ends on Silverlake Drive and Armstrong with cement planters that allow pedestrians / joggers with strollers to pass — but no through traffic. Install some hefty street bumps. And everybody who lives on Tesla can access with their cars through Rokeby. DONE.

    • From what I understand, they don’t even want to close Tesla during the construction phase – except to pedestrians. That will be a neat trick. Itz’s suppossed to be one way traffic and walkers and joggers will be re-directed to Armstrong. Wonder how they will keep people not cars off and how long it will take for someone to get hurt.. again.

    • From what I understand, they don’t even want to close Tesla during the construction phase – except to pedestrians. That will be a neat trick. It’s supposed to be one way traffic and walkers and joggers will be re-directed to Armstrong. Wonder how they will keep people not cars off and how long it will take for someone to get hurt.. again.

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