By MATT SANDERSON
SILVER LAKE – Architectural preservationists are reviving a campaign to relocate a traffic signal that was installed four years ago smack dab in front of the historic Neutra VDL Research House on Silver Lake Boulevard.
The signal and mid-block crosswalk was installed in April 2011 to provide a safer passage for pedestrians crossing the busy boulevard to reach the Silver Lake Meadow. But the new signal, located between Earl Street and Armstrong Avenue, was criticized by Neutra’s son, Dion Neutra, and others who said the metal pole marred the view of one of Neutra’ Modernist masterpieces. Efforts to relocate the signal went nowhere but now there’s a new campaign to move the pole.
Christine Kantner, a fan of Neutra’s and an architectural advocate, said the pole was installed in front of Neutra’s two-story glass house without any consultation. She said the light and nearby crosswalk should have been at the meadow entrance at Earl Street and Silver Lake Boulevard. But several residents did not want the pedestrian traffic on their street, she said, so the pole was installed in front of the Neutra building, which served as his residence and is now operated by Cal Poly Pomona as a research center.
“Architects, students and history buffs from all over the world come to visit, regard and photograph the VDL house,” she said. “Currently this pole is blighting the house and is in violation of the public interest in culture and the preservation of significant works of art here.”
A motion asking the city to move the pole 10 feet and trim some street trees appeared before the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s transportation and public works committee earlier this month. However, the motion did not win sufficient votes, and it was referred to the council’s Urban Design & Preservation Committee.
The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission is also scheduled to take up the matter next month, Kantner said.