Reservoir Town Hall: New Answers, More Questions

Enthusiastic residents and stakeholders packed the Ivanhoe School auditorium on May 22 for a chance to have their questions about a proposed public walkway across the crest of the South Dam of the Silver Lake Reservoir answered by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (SLNC) presented the special Town Hall meeting in response to numerous queries from residents seeking details about the project.

Anne-Marie Johnson, co-chair of the SLNC, moderated the community meeting, which was attended by 80-plus individuals. Each speaker was given two minutes to ask questions and share views on the proposed walkway. Based on cards completed by speakers, slightly more than half were in favor of the walkway, with some having differing opinions on elements of the plan. Questions/concerns involved the height of a new fence; whether a fence would be necessary; the walkway surface and width; and whether dogs, cyclists and skateboarders would be allowed, among other questions. A sizeable contingent of attendees expressed concerns about safety and the impact of increased public access on wildlife, especially migratory birds.

People on both sides of the discussion questioned the lack of transparency in the proposal and asked when a professional facilitator, which was promised earlier this year by LADWP and Council Districts 13 and 4, would begin managing the community dialogue and decision process.

After the question and comment period ended, LADWP’s Susan Rowghani confirmed:

  • There will be no added security for the walkway.
  • Fencing adjacent to the water will be eight feet high. The fence on the Recreation Center side of the walkway will be four feet. There will be no barbed wire.
  • It was confirmed that the proposed public walkway across the crest of the South dam is not in the current reservoir complex master plan, contrary to previous statements.
  • Lower fencing is possible but LADWP would need to review options before answering the question.
  • There will be no new lighting.
  • An Environmental Impact Statement will not be conducted for new fencing.
  • A LADWP staff member would open the walkway at dawn and close it at dusk.
  • Replacing the current concrete walkway with decomposed granite would need to be approved by the California Division of Safety of Dams, the organization that oversees dams and approves any modifications.
  • Allowing access to skateboarders, cyclists and dogs is still to be determined.
  • Rowghani stressed that the proposed walkway would not necessarily be a permanent fixture and could be subject to review.

The proposed Tesla/Ivanhoe path was also briefly discussed but renderings and details have not been made available to the SLNC or the community.

Johnson added that the SLNC would continue to work to keep the public fully informed and notices about future meetings would be posted at www.silverlakenc.org and included in the newsletter.