Exploring Silver Lake on Two Feet

Views from the top of Silver Lake. Photo courtesy Sarah Stone

Last Sunday, Los Angeles Walks led a walking tour of Silver Lake. Part of the second annual Found LA: Festival of Neighborhoods organized by L.A. Commons, our walk was just one of many exploring neighborhoods across the City of Los Angeles this past Sunday.

As several of our steering committee members live in Silver Lake & Echo Park we chose to highlight the history, architecture, and many public stair streets in the neighborhood we live in. Roughly 25 folks from around LA County, both near & far, joined us for this walk. With Los Angeles Walks founder Deborah Murphy as our guide our tour began at the Sunset Triangle Park. Deborah shared the history of the small park, how the neighborhood worked to transform into a public green space and gave the history of the Streets for People project that transformed one block of Griffith Park Blvd into public plaza.

Deborah leading the tour. Photo courtesy Sarah Stone

We learned how L.A.’s trolley lines shaped the neighborhood and gave Silver Lake the famous Sunset Junction intersection, previously known as Sanborn junction back when the trolley lines still ran along Santa Monica and Sunset Blvds. We stopped by the Black Cat Tavern on Sunset Blvd, where a raid & resulting riots drew attention to gay rights in the 1960s two years before before Stonewall in New York and touched on the importance of Silver Lake residents in the history of gay civil rights movement in Los Angeles & beyond.

Along our walk Deborah shared her passion for architecture and highlighted many of the modernist apartments and houses scattered throughout Silver Lake including the several homes and apartments designed for RM Schindler, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra.

Outside of the Salk Apts designed by Schindler. Photo courtesy Alissa Walker

No Silver Lake tour would be complete without exploring some of the many stair streets that connected people living up in the hills down to the main boulevards to catch the trolley to downtown jobs.

photo courtesy Sarah Stone

Sign up for our newsletter to learn about future Los Angeles Walks neighborhood walks. We’ll likely host another Silver Lake tour as a fundraiser in the near future and we hope to do more of these free walks in partnership with L.A. Commons and other non-profit organizations around Los Angeles.

Found LA Walking Tour of Silver Lake this Sunday

We look forward to seeing many of you on our free “Found LA” walking tour of Silver Lake this Sunday, October 21 from 1-3pm! As a reminder, the walking tour will begin at El Conquistador, located at 3701 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026 [map].

Tickets are sold out for this weekend’s tour but join our mailing list and “like” us on Facebook to learn about our other upcoming events throughout Los Angeles!

—Rachel Bennett

Free Walking Tour of Silver Lake on Sunday October 21

Join Los Angeles Walks and LA Commons for a FREE “Found LA” walking tour of Silver Lake on Sunday October 21 from 1:00 – 3:00pm. The walking tour will begin at El Conquistador, located at 3701 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026 [map]. Tickets are free but reservations are highly recommended. Click here to reserve your spot and learn more! 

Silver Lake is a hilly neighborhood about five miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, south of the Los Angeles River and east of Hollywood. The community was served by the Pacific Electric Railroad Glendale Trolley Line until the 1950s, when the trolley lines were dismantled and replaced with modern freeways.

Silver Lake has always been one of the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse in the city of Los Angeles. It was one of the few communities before WWII that did not have restrictive covenants against ethnic and religious minorities. Silver Lake was the heart of the early film industry with the studies of Max Sennett, Charlie Chaplin, Tom Mix, and Walt Disney.

Silver Lake is also known worldwide for its celebrated modernist architecture from renowned architects including Richard Neutra, R. M. Schindler, A.E. Morris, J.R. Davidson, John Lautner, Gregory Ain, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and William Kesling. Continuing in that tradition are many current architects including Barbara Bestor, M2A Architects, Michael Lehrer and many others creating 21st century masterpieces.

Silver Lake has a strong base of locally-owned and operated shops, bars, coffeehouses, restaurants, and nightclubs in its varied commercial districts. The residents have been and are varied with many artists, designers, writers, musicians, film editors, and actors including Anaïs Nin, Raymond Chandler, Woody Guthrie.

The Found LA walking tour will explore important historic locations in the community as well as significant residential and commercial architecture, parks, and open space resources. We will discover and enjoy the benefits of locally-owned shops and restaurants, and uncover the secrets of hidden stairways that connect neighborhoods in this hillside community and linked residents to the Red Car Trolley in the early 1900s. Walkers will have the opportunity to see for themselves why Silver Lake is one of the rare gems of Los Angeles and a truly diverse and multicultural community.

Reserve your spot on the Silver Lake walking tour today!

Learn about other upcoming LA Commons walking tours throughout Los Angeles.

—Rachel Bennett

Helping to make safer, kinder Silver Lake streets

Our August 25th Safer, Kinder Silver Lake community event was a success! In partnership with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (SLNC), LA Walks hosted a design charrette and meet-the-candidates event in anticipation of the upcoming SLNC election. Residents of Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Los Feliz participated in the event, highlighting the many connections between our city’s neighborhoods. Community members split into four groups based on geographic area and identified specific pedestrian safety challenges and opportunities in their neighborhoods.

Pedestrian Safety Challenges Identified

  • Lack of crosswalks
  • Unsignallized crosswalks
  • Lack of sidewalks
  • Blind turns for motor vehicles around corners, down hills, and coming out of driveways
  • Motor vehicles making high-speed right turns
  • Lack of disabled ramps
  • Sidewalks in disrepair
  • Not enough time given to cross major streets
  • High motor vehicle speeds
  • Vendors take up sidewalk space
  • Utility poles and signs are placed in the middle of the sidewalk

Pedestrian Safety Opportunities Identified

  • Plant shade trees along streets
  • Add street furniture such as benches
  • Create a park-like atmosphere along the reservoir perimeter
  • Add pedestrian wayfinding signage
  • Create an Adpot-A-Stairway program
  • Add high-visibility and signallized crosswalks
  • Reduce motor vehicle speeds
  • Add curb cuts to ensure accessibility for all users
  • Add bicycle lanes to reduce pedestrian/cyclist conflicts on the sidewalk

Next Steps

  • Support Walk A Child to School Day on October 3, 2012, potentially by adopting one or more local schools and hosting specific programs
  • Target Glendale Blvd, Hyperion Ave, Rowena Ave, and Silver Lake Blvd as key neighborhood streets for pedestrian safety improvements

LA Walks thanks all of the community members who participated in the design charrette. We also thank the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council and our host, the Silver Lake Library, for helping to make the event such a great success.

If you are interested in getting involved with these efforts in Silver Lake—or in other neighborhoods within the city of Los Angeles—please let us know! Sign up for our mailing list here, and “like” us on Facebook for regular updates

—Rachel Bennett

Join us for Safer, Kinder Silver Lake Streets

DESIGN CHARRETTE co-sponsored by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council

Saturday, August 25, 2012, 10 am – 1 pm

Silver Lake Library 
Plaza and Community Room
2411 Glendale Blvd @ Silverlake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

At 10:00 am we will gather in the Silver Lake Library plaza on Glendale with Silver Lake Neighborhood Council 2012 candidates for a “meet the candidates” and hear what they have to say about making our streets safer of people walking, biking, taking transit and driving.

Bagels, tea and coffee will be served. Then at 10:30 am, after meeting the candidates, we will enter the building for a Safer, Kinder Streets Design Presentation and Charrette hosted by Los Angeles Walks.

Pizzas will arrive at 1:00 pm, and by then we will have learned about interesting and dynamic best practices from across the world, which may be applicable in Silver Lake, identified dangerous streets in need of safer, kinder design and begun articulating the plan that will guide us in the years to come.

Representatives from LADOT and City Planning will be in attendance.

FOR MORE INFO: 
Contact Deborah Murphy
losangeleswalks@gmail.com

Download 8.5×11 Flyer

 

Safer, Kinder Silver Lake Streets design charrette

Saturday, August 25th 10:00 am – 1:00 PM
Silver Lake Library Plaza and Community Room
2411 Glendale Blvd @ Silverlake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

At 10:00 am we will gather in the Silver Lake Library plaza on Glendale with
SLNC 2012 candidates for a ‘meet the candidates’ and hear what they have
to say about making our streets safer of people walking, biking, taking transit
and driving.

Bagels, tea and coffee will be served.

Then at 10:30am, after meeting the candidates, we will enter the building
for a Safer, Kinder Streets Design Presentation and Charrette hosted by Los
Angeles WALKS.

Pizzas will arrive at 1pm, and by then we will have learned about interesting
and dynamic best practices from across the world, which may be applicable
in Silver Lake, identified dangerous streets in need of safer, kinder 
design and
begun articulating the plan that will guide us in the years 
to come.

Representatives from LADOT and City Planning will be in attendance.

For more info contact Los Angeles Walks
hello@losangeleswalks.org