Monday, October 24, 2016

The Great Wall of Echo Park to rise next to 2 Freeway

Rendering of sound wall presented at 2013 community meeting.

ECHO PARK — After about two decades in the making, the $12 million project to improve conditions on the southern end of the  2 Freeway near Glendale Boulevard will kick into  high gear this winter with the construction of about 2,000 feet of sound walls along Allesandro Street as well as new ornamental street lighting, landscaping and crosswalk improvements.

Work on the initial phase of the project, which has over the years stirred up controversy and opposition among some residents of  Echo Park and Silver Lake, actually began last year with some relatively minor changes, including re stripped lanes and new traffic control signs. The next phase, planned to begin at the end of this year or early next year, will be much more involved, according information provided by Metro and Caltrans.  While the project’s To-Do list contains many items, the most visible will be the construction of about 2,000 feet of  walls – up to 12 feet  high – intended to shield residents from freeway noise.

Silver Lake residents rejected a proposal to build a sound wall along the southbound lanes, but the residents of Echo Park and Elysian Heights  had no problem with a  structure on the northbound side of the 2 Freeway. As a result, two sound walls – one measuring 400-feet long, the other 1,530-feet long – will be built north of Oak Glen Place.

This phase of the project, which will cost about $8.6 million, also includes decorative street lights on Glendale Boulevard; the extension of the Glendale Boulevard median south to Allesandro Street; wider sidewalks; brighter lights under the 2 Freeway overpass; and additional landscaping.

This part of the project is expected to be finished by Spring 2016 but transportation officials are seeking an additional $20 million for further improvements.  Click here for details.

Approved sound walls are marked in yellow. Click to enlarge

Approved sound walls are marked in yellow. Click to enlarge

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  1. Are there any plans for a soundwall on the north side of the 101, right by Echo Park Lake? That would make the southern end of the lake so much calmer and pleasant.

  2. Instead of wasting time with this, I wish they’d complete the original design of running the 2 freeway all the way to Santa Monica.

    • Fallopia Simms

      Just turn it into a park., it’s never gonna be extended. Make it into a “Highline West” and be done with it!

    • The days of demolishing residential neighborhoods to overbuild highways are over, thank god.

  3. SquiggleySpooch

    I live on the Echo Park side of Allesandro, and it’s not true that Echo Park and Elysian Heights had no problem with a structure on the northbound side of the 2 Freeway, they only gave questionnaires out to the residents who live on Allesandro Street, not those who live on the streets off of Allesandro, we overlook this area too and it affects us. Will the wall be a big blank canvas for taggers? I was informed that they will have to destroy all the trees along the freeway which help with air quality and are nice to look at, more so than a big wall. I find it hard to believe that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to maintain the trees and still put in the wall. Parking for those of us who live up the stairs is only on the street, Will they be leaving construction equipment and no parking signs on the freeway side of Allesandro for a year and a half while they build this? I hope these things aren’t an issue, but they are of concern for my neighbors and myself. I know it’s purpose is to improve things and I hope it does,

  4. What a boondoggle! Since 95% of the homes will be sitting above the “sound barrier” so why are they spending millions on this?! Everyone knows that this wall will be covered in graffiti as soon as it goes up, I will become the biggest eye-sore in Echo Park. I suspect that someone’s uncle owns a cinder-block plant. The money would be better spent on planting more trees and shrubs along Glendale Blvd (and remembering to water them.)

  5. What a dumb idea. It’s so ugly too. How about we bring back the old Echo Park? (and by that I mean circa-2012)

  6. I suspect that another reason for a wall other than sound is the fact that over the years several cars have careened off the freeway, through the shrubbery, and onto Allesandro street. It’s been a minor miracle that no pedestrian or oncoming traffic has ever been hit but it’s getting busier down there. Getting rid of the greenery is a Damn-Shame(?!). Those trees have been around for a very long time. I’m gonna follow-up on that policy. I suggest that others do the same.

  7. “When landscaping along the mainline, Caltrans will make every effort to preserve the existing trees when sound wall
    construction begins. Should trees need to be removed, Caltrans has a 1 to 1 tree replacement policy. The policy ensures that for every tree removed a new tree will be planted.” Something cryptic about not specifying where the new tree will be planted but good to know that the tone is one of preserving the green wall alongside the sound wall.

  8. As I understand, only those living in the first 2 houses immediately adjacent to the freeway voted on the matter. As much as the 10+ foot wall along the freeway would have reduced the noise for those residents so close to the freeway, many were also concerned that all the trees were going to be removed. And with a “blank wall’ along the freeway, many were concerned that it would significantly increase graffiti in the area. Most of the eligible voters in the Silver Lake side of the freeway voted against this wall construction. So, our side of the wall has been eliminated from the plan.

    I guess Cal Trans decided to consider this as 2 separate projects – and the Echo Park side of the wall construction is moving forward. When we saw the detailed construction plans for the SL side, all the trees and shrubbery would have been hidden by the wall – assuming any were kept. And the wall was going to be where the chain link fence is now. If you have concerns about the wall, you might want to get in touch with Cal Trans now.

  9. As someone who lives on Allesandro on the EP side right where the measured noise pollution is exceeded by 3 times what is legal according to Cal Trans tests, my family is very glad that the wall project is moving forward. as far as the trees, currently there is nothing stopping Cal. Trans from chopping them all down whenever they feel like it (it happens every couple years, in addition to a MAJOR trimming down to bare branches and stumps and is accompanied by total removal of several trees every time that they deem them “too dead” — if you look at what’s there now, half of the trees can be considered such, so I’m just glad they are now committed to replacing them instead of just removing at the whims of workers high on chainsaws). It really will help a lot with the sound for those of us affected the most, and my eye-level neighbors and I believe that any attention paid to beautification of this street will be beneficial to all, even those above the height of the wall so hopefully they won’t begrudge those of us in the low-lands a little peace. I believe there is plans for scrub and ivy to deter graffiti, but it’s not like it’s currently devoid of graffiti now, (not to mention piles of trash and debris from the fwy that’s always piling up) so I’m keeping a positive outlook!

  10. The 2 is an underused eyesore. Turn it into a park.

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