Friday, February 20, 2009

The Big Picture

Photo: Shawnda Thomas Faveau, March 2, 2008. The wide angle lens flattens the steep hillsides, but you can see how close together homes are on the Silver Lake (right) side of the 2 Freeway. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

When freeways are the dominant feature of the neighborhood landscape, neighbors fight tooth and nail for over every zone change and subdivision. The open space of the Red Car Property and the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Lots become a refuge for neighbors who want to walk without dodging traffic on narrow, overcrowded residential streets.

It's not uncommon to see 500 sq. ft. houses on 800 sq. ft. lots on Riverside Place, part of the original Hunter Terrace subdivision. Duplexes make up a large portion of the housing stock on Corralitas Drive, Silver Ridge Ave. and Lake View Ave. Many single family homes and duplexes in the area also have single units or "granny flats." The Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract is primarily made up of 2500 sq. ft. lots, already half the City standard lot of 5000 sq.ft. for single family homes. Parking is always an issue, particularly on Red Flag Days.

A friend from Michigan (literally, a flat state) describes Silver Lake as a place out of a Dr. Seuss book. "There are houses on top of houses on top of houses and just when you get to the crest of the hill and it curls over, there's another house hanging off the edge, where no house should be!"