West Hollywood will make permanent a number of temporary safety features on Fountain Avenue that have resulted in a major reduction in collisions.
The City Council last night authorized making permanent the following:
- Fountain Avenue/Harper Avenue – An enhanced crosswalk on Fountain (with flashing in-roadway lights and flashing lights on the pedestrian crossing signs that are activated with pedestrian push buttons), a median on Fountain to prohibit left turns at the intersection and only allow right turn movements from the Harper approaches, and bulb-outs on Harper to reduce the width of the travelled way.
- Fountain Avenue/Havenhurst Drive – Bulb-outs and triangular pork-chop median islands on Havenhurst to embellish the right-turn-only signs and an enhanced crosswalk with a pedestrian refuge island on Fountain.
- Fountain Avenue/Hayworth Avenue – Bulb-outs and triangular pork-chop median islands on Hayworth to embellish the right-turn-only signs and an enhanced crosswalk with a pedestrian refuge island on Fountain.
- Fountain Avenue/Formosa Avenue – Bulb-outs and triangular pork-chop median islands on Formosa to embellish the right-turn-only signs and an enhanced crosswalk with a pedestrian refuge island on Fountain.
- Fountain Avenue/Detroit Street – An enhanced crosswalk on Fountain with a pedestrian refuge island and bulb-outs on Detroit.
- Fountain Avenue/La Brea Avenue – Extended the eastbound left-turn pocket and converted the eastbound through/right lane to a right-turn-only lane. Installed a bulb-out on the southeast corner to reduce the receiving lanes to one lane in eastbound direction. Installed a westbound right-turn lane on Fountain.
In addition to the physical improvements outlined above, four radar speed feedback signs were installed on Fountain Avenue.
Citing their success on Fountain Avenue, the city’s Public Works Department said it also plans to put in-roadway warning lights flashing yellow lights activated by a pedestrian push button) at intersections on major streets that have a marked crosswalk but no traffic signal. Those would include Santa Monica Boulevard at La Peer Drive, Hayworth Avenue, Greenacre Avenue, and Poinsettia Place.
Traffic accidents on Fountain have been a major issue for some time, with residents’ concerns heightened in September 2017 when a local resident was killed after being struck by a car while he was crossing Fountain near Formosa.
The city engaged consultant Fehr & Peers to look at the traffic safety issues on Fountain. The Fehr & Peers study reported that nearly 66% of trips on Fountain involve drivers crossing through West Hollywood.
A study of traffic accidents on Fountain from 2012 to 2016 determined that 41% of the 179 collisions were “broadsides,” meaning one vehicle crashing into the side of another as a car attempts to cross Fountain from a side street or make a turn onto it. The next largest number (21%) involved rear end collisions, and 14% were head-on collisions. City Engineer Hany Demitri has said an average of 35,000 cars each day drive along Fountain, an artery seen by residents as a neighborhood street and by others as an alternative to Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards for crosstown traffic.
A memo to the City Council from the Public Works Department includes data from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department that shows a 42% reduction in total collisions on Fountain between the 12 months from Oct. 1, 2017 to Oct. 1, 2018 (88 total, with 41 involving injuries) and the 12 months from Oct. 1, 2018 to Oct. 1, 2019 (41 total, with 23 involving injuries), when the temporary safety features had been installed.
The Public Works Department doesn’t plan to make permanent the temporary installations at the intersection of Fountain Avenue and Havenhurst Drive because the city is considering a new traffic signal there because of the increase in traffic. Expected from construction of the residential and retail project at 8150 Sunset Blvd.
The Department also said the permanent bulb-outs would only extend into the streets that intersect with Fountain Avenue and would not extend into the roadway of Fountain Avenue because a permanent bulb-out on Fountain Avenue would interfere with the safe movement of bicycles along Fountain Avenue.