Thursday, October 27, 2016

Echo Park and Silver Lake residents make noise over freeway sound walls

Caltrans engineers listening to questions about 2 Freeway soundwalls

Silver Lake resident questions officials over sound walls.

Many of the noise-weary neighbors who live next to freeways would welcome some relief. In fact, the demand for sound proofing is so great in California that state highway agency Caltrans has a waiting list of requests for sound walls.   But a proposal to build sound walls along the 2 Freeway in Echo Park and Silver Lake met with stiff opposition during a community meeting Thursday night.

Caltrans wants to build an 1,800-foot-long sound wall Freeway along Allesandro Street and another in front of St. Teresa of Avila School on Glendale Boulevard. The walls, which would be as high as 14 feet on Allesandro, would be built next year as part of  a $12  million project to improve traffic conditions at the southern tip of the 2 Freeway where it meets Glendale Boulevard on the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake.

After conducting sound studies and surveying residents, Caltrans engineers abandoned a proposal to build sound walls on the Silver Lake side of the freeway. However, the surveys and studies supported the construction an approximately 1,800-foot long sound wall on the Echo Park side of the freeway along Allesandro north of Oak Glen Place.

But many of the Echo Park and Silver Lake residents who attended Thursday night’s meeting said the walls would only create eyesores, block views and attract taggers. Many also challenged Caltrans survey, which sampled only residents and property owners who lived in areas with the highest levels of noise.  In the case of the Echo Park sound wall, 21 people supported the wall and none were opposed.  On the Silver Lake side of the 2 Freeway, 12 people were opposed and 9 people were in favor.

Other residents who live in the hills above the freeway said the walls would do little to shield them from noise and only cause blight.

“Our community does not appreciate being walled in,” said one Silver Lake woman who lives next to the 2 Freeway. “This is not the answer,” she said of the walls.

Caltrans engineers conceded that building a wall on the Echo Park side of the freeway may reflect sound in the direction of Silver Lake, increasing noise. But the increase would only be one or two decibels, according to one engineer.

Caltrans officials at the meeting said they would review the objections to the sound walls. But they said the sound walls are  required under the state and federal regulations that oversee new highway construction.

The sound walls are one part of a wide-ranging and contentious project that calls for metering southbound freeway traffic, improving sidewalks and crosswalks, adding landscaping at the southern terminus of the Freeway. Most of those changes are not scheduled to begin for at least another year.

Many residents and community groups have opposed the project as currently designed, saying it would do little to shield neighbors from commuter traffic and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Click here for more information about the State Route 2 Terminus Project.

Sound wall rendering.

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  1. Stoked for these walls.

  2. Thank you for your coverage and interests! One quick correction; the soundwall height currently proposed is 10-12 feet along Allesandro Street. Also please note that an HVAC upgrade was deemed preferable by the St. Teresa of Avila School. To reduce the noise level insider two classrooms facing SR-2, the option of HVAC upgrade was included in the final environmental document in 2010 [to allow the windows to remain closed]. Please look up California State “Streets and Highway Code Section 216”.

    • Hi. I will clarify this figure but some of display boards at the presentation said the walls would be from 10 to 14 feet high.

  3. Why does this last bit south of the 5 even need to be freeway? Why can’t they just convert this into a multi-lane boulevard? Everyone coming south has to merge with traffic on Glendale Blvd anyway, and if they slow from 70 mph to 20 mph 1500 ft earlier, it would cut down on most of the noise for neighbors, and only cost the drivers 37 seconds of travel time:
    1500 ft at 20 mph is 51 seconds
    1500 ft at 70 mph is 14 seconds
    Additionally, with all the new residential and retail that has been proposed in these parts of Echo Park and Silver Lake (not that I like the increased density up in these hilly areas) it would be good if there were a more people-focused environment up here rather than a big freeway with a sound wall.

    • Best and most financially sound long term solution. +1

    • Excellent point. I feel the same way about the Colorado Exit off the South 5!

    • That’s a very good solution. Thanks for pointing it out.

    • I agree that it would be worth looking at. for 50,000 average daily vehicles a 37 second delay computes to 513 hours of total additional daily delay, and additional dispersment onto the already over capacity 5, 110 and 101 freeways and stadium way. if the delay would increase traffic by 10% of the volume on any street, additional environmental impacts would occur.

  4. what about using the clear see-through sound barriers like they have on I5 in Mission Viejo or down in Chula Vista on SR125?

  5. Kenny, I agree with you 100%

  6. I agree with Kenny. I wonder how much his solution might save the tax payers too….additionally what are the soundproofing quality of a row of dense bushes and trees? Less likely to be tagged. something to think about.

  7. EP and SL are hillside neighborhoods, and therefore these sound walls would have minimal impact to the vast majority of residents. Seems like money could be better spent elsewhere.

  8. Not Another Neighbor

    These walls are really pretty looking

  9. I live on the west side of the 2 at Alessandro and the wall that has now gone up on the Echo Park side has GREATLY increased the noise level on our side of the freeway all the way up the hillside.This project is not what Metro and CalTrans represented. It just makes worse the violation that happened when they put the freeway in to begin with. The city needs to take a good hard look at the freeways-to-boulevards movement happening around the country and consider how to transform the last few miles of the 2 freeway into a boulevard that can support the residential neighborhood it bisects.

  10. I am on the other, silver lake side, overlooking the red car property and this wall has created a loud speaker effect. Unbelievably LOUD!

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