Thursday, May 15, 2014

SR 2 Freeway Terminus Project: Nearly 2000' Long Sound Wall On Allesandro Street
The Pedestrian Point Of View

All photos: Diane Edwardson, 2009, 2013. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

According to a newsletter emailed to people who went to a meeting for the 2 Freeway Terminus Project last summer, CalTrans plans to begin construction on about 2000' of sound walls between Oak Glen & "north of El Moran Way" sometime in winter 2014/2015. 

Despite another year, CalTrans is still short on details about the sound walls.  So here's a walk down Allesandro Street, from Oak Glen to Rosebud (a few hundred feet north of El Moran), along with the questions we think CalTrans needs to answer because we've been asking them since the EIR was open for public review in 2009.  If we have to accept the wall (I opposed it from the beginning), we need a whole lot more in exchange for the loss of our trees.
CalTrans is putting a 10' tall sound wall, close to the fence, between Oak Glen & Loma Vista.  Will they be widening the sidewalk (heck, will they be building a real sidewalk) because there is a bus stop 50' feet south of the intersection? 
Exactly how many trees, including the Brazilian Pepper Trees (with their locations marked on a map) will CalTrans be removing for sound wall construction?
We need to see a plan that show exactly where on the slope the wall will go.  We need to see a landscaping plan for new trees on paper, with trees on both sides of the wall.
The northbound 2 Freeway lanes are about 20' from "the sidewalk."  In earlier meetings, CalTrans said there is no room for mature trees and a sound walls.  This is one of the few flat parts of the parkway, most of it is slope.
The entire length of Allesandro on the freeway side needs a real walkable sidewalk.  It is only asphalt encased in a concrete curb and barely passable by one person, let alone ADA accessible. 
North of Loma Vista, the longest portion of the sound wall (1530'), will move to the top of the slope.  The slope on the 2 Freeway parkway increases in height & becomes steeper & narrower as Allesandro moves closer Riverside Drive.
It would be really helpful if we knew exactly which trees CalTrans will be removing.  We won't see trees this size in our lifetime.  They were planted when the freeway opened in 1962.
The bulk of the trees are Brazilian Pepper Trees which CalTrans would prefer to call a shrub so they don't have to enumerate or replace them.  But those are some 40' tall, shrubby trees.
North of Whitmore, a very long retaining wall is adjacent to "the sidewalk." It varies in height from 6 to 10' tall and is constantly hit by graffiti vandals.
Through this section, the sound wall would sit at the top of the steep slope.  So there would be 2 walls creating a 25-30' edifice on Allesandro.  Ask CalTrans for technical drawings of the walls, with section cuts, with the existing trees marked on the plans, so we can see exactly where wall go.
If we have to accept a the eyesore of sound walls CalTrans needs to widen & give us a real walkable side walk for the entire length of the wall.  Trees are important psychologically & physically for living and walking near the freeway.
At Walcott Way, the steep slope appears to be 20' above the top of the roughly 6' retaining wall. 
Same location as previous photo, you can see the narrow parkway does not allow much room for wall construction & trees.
At El Moran, across from the Artis small lot subdivision in the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract,  the retaining wall is about 9-10' tall, while the slope only gets steeper.
Rosebud Ave is only a few hundred feet north of El Moran.  Ask CalTrans exactly where the sound wall will end?  Their PR states, "north of El Moran Way."

The View From The Hills.

We've written about sound walls a lot.  Click here for all our sound wall posts

Great Wall of Echo Park: The Eastsider

CalTrans 1-page Fact Sheet
CalTrans Metro Newsletter