Hipster Freeway? Echo Park's State Route 2 to See Controversial Improvements

Not the 2, but a cool photo nonetheless
Not the 2, but a cool photo nonetheless
A.C. Thamer

Ah, the old State Route 2, once destined to become the Beverly Hills Freeway, now just a series of congested boulevards in L.A.'s core.

One of the most congested corners of SR 2 is where it meets the Glendale Freeway in Echo Park. Not where you want to be on a hot Wednesday afternoon, we can tell you that.

So Metro, L.A. County's transit authority, has BIG plans to make the zone, well, more freewaylike. You know, to improve traffic. Neighbors aren't happy:

Residents originally asked for park space on a flyover (bridge) connector. And they're concerned about trees coming down to accommodate sound walls.

Metro approved a "hybrid" plan in 2009 that axed the park.

Tonight the authority will hold a community meeting to update the community on what's to come, namely, according to Metro ...

Hipster Freeway? Echo Park's State Route 2 to See Controversial Improvements
... safety-related improvements, such as: a speed feedback sign, refresh striping, lighting and signage; improvements are anticipated to begin in early 2013.

The sound walls, according to Metro, will come starting in 2014.

Real big changes aren't due until after that, but Metro doesn't have the cash right now anyway. Those plans:

Phase 2 includes the realignment of the southbound off-ramp east of the bridge adjacent to the northbound on-ramp, demolition of the existing diamond configured off-ramp and sidewalk construction along Glendale Boulevard. This phase of the project is currently not funded; therefore final design will begin after funding is programmed for this work.

Area resident Diane Edwardson is upset about the potential loss of trees, telling the Weekly:

Metro never enumerated how many trees they were going to cut down. And I'm totally opposed to the sound wall scheme because it was never really appropriately presented to the community.

She's afraid the walls could actually amplify sound for residents living in the hills above SR 2.

The battle over the 2's improvements go back to the mid-1990s.

Jose Sigala, president of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council's Board of Governors, tells us, "There was a sense of resentment and not sure we're trusting you" when it comes to Metro after the authority came up with the "hybrid" plan.

There has been concerns about sound walls and aesthetic issues. It's not to becoming a full-blown freeway, however. The idea is not to increase capacity but to handle what's there.

The Metro meeting happens at 6 tonight at Mayberry Elementary School, 2414 Mayberry St.

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I'm glad they're meeting with neighbors. They need to work hard to rebuild trust with the neighbors.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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