Deep Trenches, Loud Drilling, Slow Traffic: Here’s What’s Happening on Santa Monica at Westmount

About that road construction project on Santa Monica Boulevard at Westmount. Most readers of WEHOville know that it’s all about installing a cross walk with a stop and go light for pedestrians that is synced with traffic stop lights to its east and west. (And also turn lanes that will let westbound cars on Santa Monica turn east before reaching the Westmount stop light and let cars headed south on Westmount make a left turn onto Santa Monica.)

When it is done, before you can stroll across Santa Monica Boulevard while texting on your mobile phone you will have to wait for the crosswalk light to turn green. And cars, whose drivers might be texting themselves, will have to come to a complete stop while the light in front of them is red.

What most people don’t know is the complexity of the project, which explains why it can’t be done overnight. (Hany Demitri, the City of West Hollywood’s principal engineer, projects the Westmount crosswalk will be finished by Aug. 11).

Construction work on the crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard near Westmount.

The Santa Monica at Westmount crosswalk renovation is one of four the city has undertaken and, given its location, perhaps the most noticeable. Others are at Palm Avenue, Hancock Avenue and West Knoll Drive. Demitri said it should take three months to complete them all. A traffic light-synchronized stop light was installed in December on Santa Monica Boulevard between North Orange Avenue and North Ogden Drive.

The projects include the reconfiguration of the median islands to accommodate the new roadway crossings and turn lanes. The work also will require the installation of new curbs, gutters, sidewalks, handicap-accessible curb ramps, asphalt concrete pavement, traffic signs, traffic striping and pavement markings. Because of the median construction work, one travel lane often is closed now on Santa Monica Boulevard in both directions and some delays should be expected. Metered street parking is periodically unavailable during the construction.

Demitri said the project has required coordinating with Southern California Edison. Given its complexity, the city has hired Michael Baker International to oversee it. The actual construction work, which passersby note has involved digging big trenches in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard and tearing up parts of the sidewalk on either side, is being done by Sully-Miller Contracting of Brea.

Nearby residents and businesses get a weekly notification from Demitri on what’s coming the following week. According to yesterday’s notification, here’s what’s happening next week:

“This week, the contractor has been demolishing the existing median island between Palm Ave. and West Knoll Ave. Construction of the new median island curb and gutter is scheduled to begin on Friday July 28. Work continues on installation of underground conduit for the new traffic signals.

“Lane Closures: Number 1 lanes (inside lanes) will be closed for up to 3 more weeks to
allow the contractor to construct the new median islands between West Knoll Dr. and
Palm Ave.

“ — Monday: Complete the new curb and gutter installation for the median island
between Palm Ave. and West Knoll. Potholing for new traffic signal foundations at
Hancock Ave. in the sidewalk.

“ — Tuesday: Install base within the new street section around the median island.
Potholing for new traffic signal foundations at Westmount Dr. in the sidewalk.

“ — Wednesday: Start base-paving course for the new street section around the median
island. Remove street light pole foundations, project wide.

“– Thursday: Complete base-paving course for the new street section around the median
island. Remove street light pole foundations, project wide.

“ — Friday: Cap pave for the new street section around the median island. At Palm Ave
and Hancock Ave. install conduits for the new traffic signal and controller.

“ — Parking Meters: To accommodate the construction, parking meters in the immediate
work area may be signed with Temporary No Parking. Posted 24 hours in advance.

“ — Crosswalk Closure: The crosswalk on Santa Monica Blvd at Westmount Dr. will be
closed while the median island is reconfigured.”

For those into the nitty gritty of street construction, below is a reproduction of the current time line for completing all of the four projects. That schedule may change as work progresses.

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Randy
Randy
5 years ago

Well, continue to be disappointed then. Because the crosswalks are coming back. You can walk down to the traffic intersection, if they bother you that much, and you don’t want to stop traffic. I’ll continue to use the pedestrian crosswalks with my fellow lazy, entitled “gym rats.”

News for you: not everyone who uses them are going to 24 Hour Fitness. Did you even see my comments about the two new developments coming in? That means more people, more businesses, more pedestrians.

J Simmons
J Simmons
5 years ago

I just wonder why there wasn’t a plan to do this with the least impact on traffic as possible? They can spend years tunneling Wilshire for the subway extension with less impact to daily car traffic than what is ongoing now. (I no longer drive & have no car nor a horse in my observations walking to Trader Joe’s, or wherever. I just saw the succession of signs from La Cienega West “STREET PARKING ALLOWED” Perhaps, the sacrifice of a few blocks of street parking, thus allowing SMB aka Route 66 to have two lanes of traffic during the construction.… Read more »

We'll see how this goes........
We'll see how this goes........
5 years ago

Ok Randy, here goes:

People going to the gym that cannot walk a half a book seem pathetic.

Negligent folks are distracted by multiple issues but it’s still personal negligence.

A wide hedge on SM Blvd would have fixed everything. Light w crosswalk, hedge row that still affords visibility, U-turn sat Ramada possibly, U- Turn at La Cienega. Repeat for any length of SM Blvd. unless folks wanted to broad jump the hedgerow like they were in the Grand National I’d be willing to bet that would have calmed everything.

Randy
Randy
5 years ago

Funny you say that. I just went to TJ’s on Sunday morning, and pedestrians stopped for me to make my right turn. Some did when I was exiting on to SMB afterwards, as well. This isn’t about “entitlement” as much as it is about distractions, from both pedestrians AND drivers. People glued to their phones. When SMB is at a crawl during rush hour, I’ve sat in front of Starbucks and watched people doing that very same thing in their cars. Nonstop. A motorcycle cop has been stationed there recently a lot to deal with it. The controlled crosswalk near… Read more »

Lazy entitled residents
Lazy entitled residents
5 years ago

Thanks Randy, the crosswalk in place at the light was ignored by most. Walking a half a block was not in the cards for Starbuckers and gym rats. In most cities that would be a jaywalk ticket. The unfortunate accidents were primarily through the negligence of the victims.
Have significant interest in the micro/macro development of the city and have more than casually participated. Adjustments are good but clear vision is not something the city seems to have an abundance of.

Randy
Randy
5 years ago

You might not have mentioned specifically that the car is most important, but I inferred that you meant this when you said “folks primarily going to the gym and/or back and forth to Starbucks that just cant be bothered to walk a few feet? Sheer laziness and contempt.” In other words, remove the crosswalks? Did I misunderstand? Wouldn’t that prioritize the car over pedestrians? As far as the “master scheme” goes, watch the City Council meetings. They discussed these changes over a year ago, I think. There was no “master scheme” to build crosswalks and then re-build them. They built… Read more »

Lazy entitled residents
Lazy entitled residents
5 years ago

Randy if you want to.observe a picture of entitlement drive westbound on SMB and attempt to turn right (north) @ Trader Joes. You won’t find. single pedestrian that stops for multiple cars attempting to make the turn…. they just walk, face in phone, oblivious to traffic.
And this is during construction in severely choked traffic.

Lazy Entitled Residents
Lazy Entitled Residents
5 years ago

@ Randy: I question you analytical abilities and your accuracy. No one mentioned that the car is most important. It is a mosaic of functions and circumstances. Often plans apoeR not well thought out but happen in opportunistic increments. If anyone truly knows the contents of the master scheme, please have them illuminate the rest of us. BTW all means of transportation function cohesively in Manhattan oddly enough. It’s a fair measure of comparison

Randy
Randy
5 years ago

I’m not sure what your definition of “constantly redoing” means, but if my memory serves, the SMB reconstruction project was in 1999, right after I moved here, almost 18 years ago. It took a couple years. I don’t remember if the crosswalks were added then, or later, but I’m not going to fault the city for actually fixing a problem (finally). I don’t think that removing them is the correct solution. And comparing West Hollywood to Manhattan is apples to oranges. We aren’t trying to be Manhattan. I appreciate the effort the city has put in to make the city… Read more »

Lazy Entitled Residents
Lazy Entitled Residents
5 years ago

@Randy: First, unfortunately my phone auto corrected and mangled some of the type. Yes, I read the article and attempted to consider the simplest and most efficient solutions to the problem that originated with the residents call for safer crosswalks essentially as a result of accidents, injuries and deaths without considering the incessant jay walking and failure to obey driving rules. Originally SM Blvd had a transportation system down the middle rather than attractive flower bed medians. Which is more important efficient traffic flow with people crossing at given crosswalks and dedicated U-turn intervals or expensive construction and continuously rebuilding… Read more »

Randy
Randy
5 years ago

“Lady Entitled Residents,” you can see above that this is more than just about replacing crosswalks. Did you even read the article? “The projects include the reconfiguration of the median islands to accommodate the new roadway crossings and turn lanes. The work also will require the installation of new curbs, gutters, sidewalks, handicap-accessible curb ramps, asphalt concrete pavement, traffic signs, traffic striping and pavement markings.” They are using this construction period as an opportunity to make other improvements. What you call “entitled” or “lazy,” is the City’s attempt to keep our city a “walking village,” where the car isn’t necessarily… Read more »

Robert Muniz
5 years ago

Actually, @Randy, West Hollywood North argued for signaled crosswalks on Santa Monica Blvd. as far back as 2002. We all felt at the time that they were unsafe. The City Traffic Department felt otherwise. We were right…

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