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Bonin Announces Another Mile of Playa Del Rey Improvements Re-Do

A westbound car lane will be added back to Playa Del Rey’s Culver and Jefferson Boulevards through the Ballona Wetlands. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Two days ago, L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin announced that the city of L.A. will be scaling back more of the Playa Del Rey safety improvements implemented in June. The city will add back a westbound car lane to 1.1 miles of Jefferson and Culver Boulevards.

According to coverage in the L.A. Times "The latest change will require the removal of the two bike lanes on Culver and Jefferson, which will be replaced by a single protected shoulder that can be used in both directions by bicycles and pedestrians."

Bonin spokesperson David Graham-Caso estimated that LADOT will be installing the lanes in "a few weeks." Graham-Caso stressed that these are "interim changes... while the task force looks at longer-term, comprehensive safety measures." According to the Times, Graham-Caso stated that "the city’s preliminary data do not show the amount of traffic congestion that has been claimed by foes of the lane reductions."

From Bonin's Facebook post:

We’re restoring the second westbound traffic lane on Culver and Jefferson, while preserving an area of the road to keep cyclists and pedestrians on the street safe from traffic.

I’m excited to announce that today, the Community Task Force I convened to make recommendations for how we can improve street safety in Playa del Rey while minimizing traffic impacts reached a consensus agreement to recommend an immediate restoration of the second westbound traffic lane on Jefferson and Culver. This will be as an interim measure to relieve traffic congestion while the task force continues to deliberate a more comprehensive and permanent solution that will keep people safe in Playa del Rey. The interim consensus agreement also retains the present configuration in downtown PDR, between Vista Del Mar and Nicholson.

The plan was approved after the task force listened to the concerns of small businesses in Playa del Rey regarding increased traffic, and I’m very proud of the hard work that advocates, neighbors, and business leaders on all sides of this issue have done to come to consensus on provide this quick relief to PdR businesses. This sort of buy-in from the community was what this entire Safe Streets for Playa del Rey process has been about, and I’m excited to see it progress. Within the next few weeks, crews from LADOT will re-stripe westbound Jefferson and Culver to relieve traffic heading into Playa del Rey while preserving a protected shoulder area on the roads for pedestrians and cyclists to share.

As mentioned by Bonin, the road diet configuration remains intact on Culver Boulevard through the commercial portion of downtown Playa Del Rey, as do the Pershing Drive improvements. In response to a litigious and raucous driver backlash, the city already scaled back improvements on Vista Del Mar and on Culver Boulevard north of Jefferson.

Location where a westbound lane will be added back to Culver and Jefferson Boulevards in Playa Del Rey - via Google maps
Location where a westbound lane will be added back to Culver and Jefferson Boulevards in Playa Del Rey - via Google maps

The Culver and Jefferson lanes being added back are located in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. Environmental advocate Marcia Hanscom warns that adding lanes through the wetlands means higher car traffic volumes and speeds likely resulting in wildlife roadkill numbers going up. Hanscom has been a vocal supporter of the Playa Del Rey traffic calming improvements as an antidote to Ballona Wetlands roadkill which are "an order of magnitude" higher than at any other southern California wildlife reserve according to studies by Cal State Channel Islands professor Sean Anderson.

The Times reports that Bonin's community task force is expected to make its final recommendations in November.

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