WeHo Will Implement Short-Term Pedestrian Safety Measures, Continue Study of Permanent Measures

The West Hollywood City Council agreed tonight to implement a series of short-term measures to improve crosswalk safety on Santa Monica Boulevard and ask city staff members to conduct a further study of more major moves, such as installing stoplights at the intersections of Santa Monica  with Westmount Drive and Hancock Avenue.

pedestrian crosswalk, santa monica boulevard, west hollywood demonstration, clinton bounds
Demonstrators walk back and forth in the pedestrian crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard at Hancock to protest the death of Clinton Bounds

The short-term measures include:

  • Installing signs such as those currently used for special events and temporary lane closures to warn drivers to be aware of pedestrian crosswalks. The city currently is using several such signs on Santa Monica Boulevard. The staff proposes purchasing three additional ones.
  • Adjusting traffic lights at Robertson and San Vicente boulevards to allow additional time for pedestrians to cross on Friday and Saturday nights  when the restaurants and nightclubs are most active.
  • Installing pedestrian crosswalk signs in the road at crosswalks along Santa Monica Boulevard at Palm Avenue, Hancock Avenue, Westmount Drive, West Knoll Drive, Orange Grove Avenue and Ogden Drive.
  • Installing raised pavement markers at crosswalks along Santa Monica at Palm Avenue, Hancock Avenue, Westmount Drive, West Knoll Drive, Orange Grove Avenue and Ogden Drive, none of which currently have stoplights. The reflective raised markers would make the crosswalks more visible to drivers.
pedestrian safety, crosswalk, wink then walk
The ‘Wink Then Walk’ signs West Hollywood is installing at Santa Monica Boulevard bus stops.

The short-term measures are part of  a $1.4 million plan presented to the Council that would eventually include stop lights at crosswalks on Santa Monica Boulevard’s intersections with Westmount Drive and Hancock Avenue and pedestrian-activated crosswalk warning lights at Santa Monica’s intersections with West Knoll Drive and Palm Avenue. The plan recommends installing a lighted crosswalk  mid-block between Orange Grove Avenue and Ogden Drive and replacing crosswalks now in existence at each of those intersections with Santa Monica Boulevard.

City Council members agreed to delay implementation of the permanent measures, asking for further study to assess their impact on local businesses and nearby neighborhoods and to get more input from residents on the city’s Eastside.   Councilmember John Duran, for example, said he was concerned that installing more stoplights would further slow traffic on Santa Monica and lead drivers to take shortcuts through residential areas.  Councilmember Jeffrey Prang said he was especially concerned that a proposal to install a stoplight at Santa Monica and Hancock would lead to drivers turning left off Santa Monica onto Hancock to take a shortcut.

Overall, the plan proposed by the city staff would add four new traffic signals to Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega and San Vicente, each more than 400 feet apart. A report by the city staff members notes that such spacing is not unusual for central business districts and is similar to that on Santa Monica Boulevard between Sweetzer and La Cienega.

The city staff report predicts the addition of stop lights between La Cienega and San Vicente will reduce the number of U-turns that now occur at the San Vicente and Westbourne intersections and have slowed traffic.

The pedestrian crosswalk safety proposal is a reaction to a series of recent crosswalk accidents that spurred demands for action from local residents including a demonstration in the crosswalk at Santa Monica Boulevard and Hancock Avenue.

To date, 17 pedestrians have been hit by cars while in crosswalks this year. In August, Clinton Bounds, a well-known figure in West Hollywood’s gay nightlife circles, was killed when he was hit by a car while crossing Santa Monica Boulevard on foot. Bounds apparently was not in the Hancock Avenue crosswalk. Nevertheless, his death sparked outrage among local residents who felt the city wasn’t doing enough to improve crosswalk safety. Residents launched a petition drive on Change.org to press the Council to act. An earlier accident in which a man was hit by a car while in a crosswalk on Westmount Drive led to the formation of Cross Safe WeHo, also a campaign to get the city to act on the issue.

The city also is developing a crosswalk safety education campaign that will include a video by famed YouTube performer Todrick Hall. It already has posted crosswalk safety signs on bus stop shelters on Santa Monica Boulevard titled “Wink Then Walk,” reminding pedestrians to catch the eye of drivers to ensure they’re seen before they cross the street.

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Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

@ Chris: Hi, I wanted to answer your question: I think I heard that someone died recently on one of the crosswalks or got seriously injured. (Someone else here may have more information to add.) The bottom line for me is that in almost all cases it’s totally preventable by the pedestrian by committing to walking safe regardless of any idiots behind a wheel or whose fault it may be afterwards. We’ve got to protect ourselves every time we walk! I just don’t see many people doing that when I see them blindly march into an uncontrolled crosswalk expecting that… Read more »

PeteP
PeteP
7 years ago

How can they possibly be worried that actual stoplights could slow traffic down further? Right now you have a steady stream of pedestrians crossing SMB at multiple locations which has a huge impact on traffic. The lights would require that pedestrians wait until the light changes then all cross at once – a much more orderly way to go. Stop the endless studies and ineffective temporaty measures and install these things already.

Ron Davis
Ron Davis
7 years ago

Chris- the protest we staged originally is what got the ball rolling. The city paid attention. It’s not about face time it’s about making the city accountable. The data is and has been in their hands. The sheriff department whole heartedly agrees these crosswalks are unsafe. Additional lighting and stop lights or at the very least the pedestrian activated crosswalk lights will help stop people getting hit. I feel like the city voted to do the LEAST. Another study? Please. Enough. If it takes media to keep this city accountable so be it. For them to say they are concerned… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

If someone was killed when he was in a crosswalk, that would be a big deal Guy. When did this happen?

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

Someone dying on a crosswalk is not something to minimize. That being said, there are indeed ‘effective’ and ‘uneffective’ markings to promote safe crossings. We can learn from cities across America that do it right (or dont)…it’s not rocket science! To those who wish city council or any government entity to be a ‘nanny’ and find a magic wand so every pedestrian will WALK SMART… not sure there is any solution for you. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING is making someone step INTO a crosswalk. Quite the opposite: YOU must determine when it is safe before stepping into it! If… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
7 years ago

The short term measures are approved and I’m very thankful for that. We have not had another death in a couple of months and the mobility signs seem to be working. But.. as the Public Safety report showed in the September sting there were 98 tickets issued to mostly motorists in a short 4-6 hour period. Thats one every 5 minutes! Do we need another study for $100,000? Don’t the 4 deaths on Hancock speak louder than a consultants study? I’ve attended every single meeting of the Public Safety and Transportation and the sub-committees.. and staff bobbled the recommendations by… Read more »

SaveWeho
SaveWeho
7 years ago

Love how “more studies” still need to be done. So what happens if you do find adding a traffic light will increase traffic? Does that mean you won’t install one? Someone should look into if these companies doing “studies” for Weho..they must have a hand in the city council’s pockets too.

Jeffery Ward
Jeffery Ward
7 years ago

I believe the measures presented here seem to be the right thing to do, making the crosswalks safe is what we want, you’re never going to be able to insulate everybody from being Stupid!

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

Thanks to the city for making these initial positive steps and taking this issue seriously. I have no idea why there is a need for protests at the moment unless some people just are desperate for face time on TV (I doubt this will get any coverage unless people shut down the street by blocking traffic). Must be an election coming up I guess.

Ron Davis
Ron Davis
7 years ago

Stand by for details of the next crosswalk protest. Our mayor acknowledged by name those that are DOING THE LEAST on Twitter and we will let them face the media. Monday 11/3 there will be a protest at SMB and Hancock and Channel 4, 5, 7, 9 because apparently this city only does something when there is a camera and angry residents. To name names: @ourWEHO: @IamRonDavis – I agree Ron. We are moving forward but w/o Land, Duran and Heilman on board it won’t happen fast enuf. Let them all get on board or offer a better opinion for… Read more »

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