WeHo City Council Approves First Steps in Slowing Traffic in the Mid-City Area

Daily average traffic volume on streets in WeHo’s mid-city area. (City of West Hollywood)

The West Hollywood City Council last night approved a proposal to reduce traffic and traffic speed in the area bounded by Sunset Boulevard on the north, La Cienega Boulevard on the west and Fairfax Avenue on the east. The southern boundary is mostly along Willoughby Avenue but includes Romaine Street, Waring Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard

That Mid-City area was the subject of a study commissioned by the City of West Hollywood in response to complaints from residents about traffic in the area.

The Council endorsed a test of “speed lumps” on the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Hayworth Avenue. Such lumps, which are low-edged ridges across a street, are intended to slow drivers.

While neighborhood residents have complained about too much “cut through” traffic and speeding vehicles, the study by traffic consultants Fehr & Peers found little difference between traffic there and in other residential areas around the city.

By way of comparison, Fehr & Peers noted that the Mid-City daily traffic on Flores Street between Fountain and DeLongpre avenues averages 650 vehicles a day and up to 5,900 vehicles per day on Laurel Avenue.

“Rosewood Avenue and Gardner Street, two sample city residential streets outside of the Mid-City study area, have daily volumes of 4,242 and 7,020 vehicles, respectively,” said a memo from the city’s Community Development Department about the study. “This information on vehicle counts confirms that the Mid-City neighborhood traffic volumes are typical compared to other city neighborhoods. In addition, the surveys show the speeds in the Mid-City area are within an acceptable range of the 25 mile per hour speed limit.”

The Fehr & Peers study recommended testing speed lumps on De Longpre Avenue, Edinburgh Avenue, Flores Street, Hacienda Place, Harper Avenue, Havenhurst Drive, Hayworth Avenue, Laurel Avenue and Olive Drive. However speed lumps can only be installed with the support of a majority of residents in the areas. The residents of the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Hayworth are the only ones to have done that so far. Plans are to install the lumps this spring for a six-month tests. Residents on other streets are organizing support for implementation of changes there.

Other proposals in the study are:

— Installation of bulb-outs, which are curb extensions that reduce the speeds of motorists turning at an intersection, at the following intersections:

  • De Longpre/Flores
  • Harper/Romaine
  • La Jolla/Romaine
  • Havenhurst/Romaine

–Creating a raised intersection at Kings Road and Romaine Street. A raised intersection is a slight slope in the pavement that reduces speeding and encourages motorists to yield to pedestrians.

–Installing a stop sign on Flores where it dead ends into De Longpre to clarify the vehicle right-of-way.

The Fehr & Peers analysis notes that one of the issues is that drivers on “arterial streets” bordering and running through area sometimes divert onto neighborhood side streets to avoid slow traffic. It cites traffic on those arterial streets as 64,500 vehicles per day on Santa Monica Boulevard, 52,200 vehicles on Sunset Boulevard, 36,100 on La Cienega Boulevard, 34,900 on Fountain Avenue and 33,500 on Crescent Heights Boulevard.

The Fehr & Peers study recommendations intersect with efforts the city is making to slow traffic and reduce accidents on Fountain Avenue. Those efforts were prompted by complaints from residents along Fountain Avenue and the death last year of a pedestrian hit by a car while crossing Fountain.

Residents reacted favorably last month to proposals for some quick fixes focused primarily on the intersections of Fountain with Harper Avenue, Havenhurst Drive, Hayworth Avenue and La Brea Avenue.

Many of them are intended to reduce broadside collisions by reducing the number of left turns made on Fountain from intersections without stop lights. A map illustrating those collisions shows that they constituted 32% of the 179 total collisions between 2012 and 2016, with most of them involving vehicles headed south toward Fountain.

The immediate solutions, recommended by the city’s Long Range and Mobility Planning Division and based on study by Fehr & Peers, the traffic consultant, include:

-Installing a median on Fountain at its intersection with Harper that would make it impossible for drivers headed north or south on Harper to turn left onto Fountain.

-Installing signs on Havenhurst and on Hayworth alerting drivers that only right turns are permitted onto Fountain.

-Adding a right turn lane on Fountain on the west side of La Brea Avenue and extending the length of the left turn lane on Fountain at La Brea so that cars wanting to turn left don’t impede those heading east across La Brea.

Also, on Fountain just east of La Brea, the city would remove some parking space and create a “bulb out,” which effectively reduces the width of Fountain and thus would slow cars headed west across La Brea.

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fine7760
4 years ago

I live on Olive Dr. and it’s like a freeway in the morning with cars turning left from westbound Fountain to southbound Olive Dr. Of all the residential streets in this part of town Olive Dr. is almost twice as wide as the others such as Kings Rd., Flores and even Sweeter. Perhaps the the speed bumps will not only slow down traffic but will deter large trucks from illegally using our street from such businesses as Emsir Tile. They usually have two semi’s blocking the street in mid-day unloading instead of utilizing the Emsir’s parking lot which with little… Read more »

Virginia Gillick
Virginia Gillick
4 years ago

I used to live on Hayworth–1400 block. It was like a freeway during rush hours. It could take one many minutes just to get out of our driveway. I say, great idea. Presently, I live on Vista between Santa Monica and Lexington. Lumps have made lives so much safer for everyone, especially children going to Plummer Park. It is so nice when our City does things for the residents. I know the homeowners and residents on this block were requesting help on this for a decade. Definitely it is time to step up on the Lumps.

RMD
RMD
4 years ago

Why would the short distance, maybe 200 feet of Flores between De Longpre & Fountain be compared to Laurel Ave. with signals at Sunset, Fountain, and Santa Monica? Sweetzer would be a better comparison.

Joshua88
Joshua88
4 years ago

Progress is good. When I was out last night, the cross walks were clearer with new white markings. That followed the spotlighting of the stop signs which were often covered too much by jutting trees. I am south of Fountain on one of the notorious side streets.

Craig
Craig
4 years ago

Today’s headline, “Los Angeles Named Most Congested City With Worst Traffic For 6th Consecutive Year” underscores the frustration drivers endure. So when there’s finally an opportunity to go a little faster, human nature dictates going faster.

The only way to reduce traffic is to reduce cars.
And every time a single family home or structure is leveled to put in a hotel, high rise or even 6 unit building you INCREASE the number of cars by 100s to 1000s percent. We’re going the wrong way!

CA native
CA native
4 years ago

Hank: would you kindly use a higher resolution to enhance legibility when including detailed maps? Low res graphics, like this map, are blurry and difficult to read when enlarged. Thank you

Former Staff
4 years ago
Reply to  CA native

We’ve requested a high res map from the city and will replace the current one when it arrives

CA native
CA native
4 years ago

You got directions mixed up. La Cienega Boulevard is on the west and Fairfax Avenue is on the east. You’re welcome

Former Staff
4 years ago
Reply to  CA native

Thanks for the alert! That has been corrected

Randy
Randy
4 years ago

Seems sensible. One correction: “La Cienega Boulevard on the east and Fairfax Avenue on the west.” Fairfax is on the east, and La Cienega on the west.

Geoffrey Buck
Geoffrey Buck
4 years ago

Traffic circles also can help to reduce speeds. Perhaps this is a more expensive remedy but creates space for a landscape and trees. Also it makes the neighborhood more attractive

Steve
Steve
4 years ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Buck

Traffic circles (aka roundabouts) require a lot of land and are difficult for emergency response vehicles to navigate.

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