Saturday, September 8, 2012

Allesandro Way: Future Sound Walls, The "East Berlin/Escape From New York Aesthetic"

Photo September 2012. Artist's rendering of a 12-16' tall sound wall on Allesandro Way, looking north from Oak Glen, on the Silver Lake side of the 2 Freeway. CalTrans has increased the height of the wall, originally planned at a height of 8-10' in the 2009 EIR. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

After the recent community meeting on plans for the redesign of the 2 Freeway Terminus, many neighbors on the Silver Lake side of the 2 Freeway were outraged enough to take action. One neighbor created this before/after set of photos of Allesandro Way to help neighbors understand what they would lose if the sound walls are imposed on us.  Others are circulating petitions.
Photo: September 2012.  Say good-bye to all those trees on Allesandro Way if the sound walls are constructed. 
Neighbors who are closest to and at eye level with the 2 Freeway do have legitimate need for sound walls. However, giving us walls in exchange for trees is not a good solution for the neighborhood as a whole. The problem stems from there not being enough room for both trees and sound walls (according to CalTrans and the MTA). 
Benkin Jong. current MTA project manager for the SR2 Freeway Terminus Redesign Project, made it clear to neighbors (both individually and publicly at the meeting) that the only people who's opinion mattered, were those who live right next to the 2 Freeway. 
The hundreds of homes lining the hillsides of either side of the 2 Freeway have no say on giant walls that will affect not only their property values but also their physical and psychological health. 
Another neighbor (who's been here for more than 10 years) writes, sound walls will be an "extremely horrible visual addition to the neighborhood. While searching for properties in different parts of the city, it was these very walls that kept us from purchasing near them. They give neighborhoods an East Berlin/Escape from New York aesthetic that is cold and claustrophobic. Walling off one neighborhood from another just seems like a horrible solution to any problem. The tagging of these walls is a given, just take a look at the green gate around the Semi Tropic construction along with all the other "walls" in the area.
Many of the trees that are very close to the freeway will have to be removed to put walls in. I sign on to the plan of planting more trees, more foliage to help disperse sound and help air quality in the immediate area. That is an actual solution that does not carry with it all the other negatives that walls do."
Neighbors are going door to door on Allesandro Way and Cove, gathering signatures urging the sound walls be dropped from the 2 Terminus plan.
Worth noting: the Catholic Church at the Terminus & Glendale Blvd managed to get the sound walls removed from the plan for the section in front of their school and church because of the prison-like effect sound walls would impose
Click here for a reverse angle shot from the Oak Glen overpass of the same grove of trees.