West Hollywood City Manager Paul Arevalo offered statistics about pedestrian and bicycle accidents last night during another in a series of discussions about crosswalk safety.
Arevalo said there have been 71 accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists in the past three and a half years in West Hollywood. The peak year was 2012, when there were 21. Most accidents occurred in designated crosswalks, Arevalo said.
To date this year, the city has recorded five accidents, with only one in a crosswalk. That accident, on June 28, involved a pedestrian hit by a car as he crossed Santa Monica Boulevard near Westmount. It sparked a crosswalk safety campaign that has led to formation of a group called Cross Safe WeHo, appearances of advocates for pedestrian safety before the city’s Transportation and Public Safety commissions, illegal postings of crosswalk safety reminders by a City Council candidate and a sidewalk distribution of safety reminders by Capt. Gary Honings of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.
The West Hollywood City Council last night approved a proposal by Councilmembers John Duran and John Heilman to spend $15,000 on a campaign to promote crosswalk safety. The Council in February authorized the city to install flashing beacons at three additional crosswalks. Bids have not been requested from vendors for those beacons because city staffers are researching various solutions to the problem. Councilmember John Heilman said that he and Mayor John D’Amico have discussed the possibility of installing pedestrian-activated stop lights at crosswalks that would be synced with existing traffic stop lights. Such lights would require that pedestrians wait until nearby stop lights are activated and cars stop moving before crossing the street.