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Playa Del Rey Safety Improvements to Get a Reset

8:43 AM PDT on July 31, 2017

Vista Del Mar will soon return to four travel lanes, with free parking at the nearby Dockweiler Beach lot. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

For the second time, the L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT) and City Councilmember Mike Bonin are rolling back some aspects of recent Playa Del Rey street safety improvements. The city action is measured, and though it will restore travel lanes drivers are clamoring for, the overall project focus on pedestrian safety remains intact.

According to the LADOT PDR website, crews are out today making modifications to turn signals in Playa Del Rey. In August, LADOT will modify lane striping on Vista Del Mar. As a result of these changes LADOT and Bonin have canceled a planned PDR open house that had been scheduled to take place tomorrow.

The latest changes were announced via a Bonin YouTube video posted late Wednesday.

In June, responding to multiple traffic deaths, LADOT implemented a series of safety improvements on Vista Del Mar, Pershing Drive, Culver Boulevard, and Jefferson Boulevard. The roadway reconfigurations for Pershing, Culver, and Jefferson were the result of a couple years of working with the community. The Vista Del Mar reconfiguration was added as a Vision Zero emergency response to two costly pedestrian death lawsuits. The lane reductions, as intended, have slowed down PDR traffic, causing car commuters, many of whom live in neighboring South Bay cities, to experience longer commute times. Though many residents support them, the improvements triggered a loud backlash on social media, with a great deal of outrage targeted toward Mike Bonin.

In early July, LADOT added back a travel lane on the northern portion of Culver Boulevard.

LADOT is modifying turn signals in central Playa Del Rey today. Image via LADOT
LADOT is modifying turn signals in central Playa Del Rey today. Image via LADOT

Today, LADOT is reconfiguring turning behavior in central Playa Del Rey, to allow for better car throughput and to help folks more easily drive to the neighborhood around the Del Rey Lagoon.

In August, LADOT will be removing all parking on Vista Del Mar, and restoring it to its former configuration with two car lanes in each direction. There will no parking on Vista Del Mar; former parking there will be replaced by free and discounted parking at L.A. County's Dockweiler Beach parking lot below. Bonin worked with L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn to arrange for the Dockweiler parking. The shifting of free parking from Vista Del Mar to the beach itself should solve the earlier dire problem of multiple pedestrians killed trying to cross the street to access the beach. (Editor's opinion: with parking eliminated, it looks to me like there would probably be enough space for four travel lanes and new protected bike lanes - or would that further fan controversy?)

Recent road reconfigurations will remain in place for Pershing, Jefferson, and Culver.

Bonin also announced the formation of a Playa Del Rey road safety task force that will receive public input, review data, and consider future changes. Bonin pledged that the most critical metric for future changes will be road safety.

For additional coverage of the PDR rollback, see the L.A. Times, KPCC, Biking in L.A., and The Argonaut. For the latest from LADOT, see their Safe Streets PDR website.

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