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LADOT Installs New Flashing Signage at Deadly Venice Crosswalk

New flashing pedestrian signage installed on Pacific Avenue in Venice. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

In mid-February, the city of Los Angeles Transportation Department (LADOT) installed new flashing signage at a dangerous Venice crosswalk. The crosswalk is located at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Sunset Avenue.

In October 2017, Damon Shear was killed at the site. He was walking legally in the crosswalk, when a speeding driver swerved around to pass to the right of a stopped car, then crashed into Shear sending his body flying 30 feet.

LADOT had already planned safety improvements at the site. According to LADOT spokesperson Oliver Hou, the department received a federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grant to install "a few dozen" Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs). Then the inventor of the RRFB patented the design, leading the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to rescind its prior interim approval of RRFB use. FHWA pushes to standardize U.S. streets, so they do not support specific patented traffic control devices.

This has led LADOT to test out alternative pedestrian safety treatments that are supported by FHWA. The Venice crosswalk's flashing LED pedestrian crossing sign is one of two alternatives the department is currently looking to use to substitute for the planned RRFBs.

Streetsblog visited the Venice crosswalk site last week.

The crosswalk's flashing LEDs are activated by pressing the button.

Pedestrians push the button to activate the flashing signage
Pedestrians push the button to activate the flashing signage
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The flashing sign is powered by a solar panel at the top
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View of pedestrian crossing Pacific Avenue at Sunset Avenue
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LADOT will also be evaluating another similar FHWA-approved flashing pedestrian signage design.

Via a council motion heard at Transportation Committee on February 14, L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin has pushed for the city to resolve the design issues and to move forward with pedestrian safety device installation. Hou reports that LADOT will be modifying specifications to shift their planned RRFBs to an alternative design in order to use the grant funding to install these safety improvements "sometime in 2018."

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