In my last post I explored some traffic information about Colorado Boulevard. The results were surprising, showing that Colorado Boulevard on average carried no more than 35,000 average daily trips (the street is designed to carry between 30,000 and 50,000 average daily trips). Unfortunately Colorado also proved to be a rather dangerous street, but when the street resembles a freeway in width and speed in a popular downtown, the many crashes that have occurred along the Boulevard may not come as complete shocks.
In this post I thought I’d look at Eagle Rock Boulevard – our other major boulevard – as it runs through Eagle Rock, and Glassell Park.
First I compiled counts of intersections that have been monitored more than once. The counts are all available from LADOT though I have turned the numbers into easy-to-read charts that show the observed volumes recorded between 2001 and 2009 for the various intersections. Eagle Rock Boulevard is a major class II highway like Colorado Boulevard, designed to carry between 30,000 and 50,000 average daily trips as shown on the map below from the LA General Plan Transportation Element.
All the observed intersections show that Eagle Rock Boulevard can barely carry the minimum 30,000 ‘average daily trips’ it is built for, this is particularly true for the street south of Verdugo Road. Sometimes segments of Eagle Rock Boulevard struggle to reach 20,000 ADT or ‘average daily trips’. The image left shows a description of how a Major Highway Class II should be designed.
Because Eagle Rock Boulevard fluctuates in the number of lanes it has, in showing the observed traffic counts I divided the street into 4 ‘segments’. As map shared earlier above indicates, Eagle Rock Boulevard is considered a Major Highway Class II the entire length south of Colorado Boulevard despite the changes in widths and number of lanes. I am sharing the counts in sequential order as the intersections appear if one were to travel South on Eagle Rock Boulevard.
The traffic volumes have many jumps and great declines but the picture across all traffic counts is rather clear. Rarely does Eagle Rock Boulevard reach its designed minimum, sometimes struggling to reach half of that when observing intersections in the Glassell Park portion of the street. The street is designed to certain widths and to provide certain number of lanes but if not enough cars are using it, the space simply is wasted as unused asphalt.
Do the low traffic counts result in a successful street? Unfortunately no. While cars may be provided with ample space, pedestrians and cyclists are left with close to nothing. Sidewalks exist though South of Verdugo Road they become very narrow and sometimes unnavigable as the occasional tree or telephone pole block the entire sidewalk. As one goes south of Eagle Rock Boulevard the bike lanes become narrower and narrower until they verge on bothersome and dangerous. Eagle Rock Boulevard is also a popular transit corridor, serviced by the Metro 84 line taking students to school and bringing people downtown. However, many of the bus stops lack bus schedules, benches, or shelters, again this is increasingly true and apparent as one goes south on Eagle Rock Boulevard. As a general observation, the street provides fewer accommodations in the Glassell Park portion of the street. This is rather unfortunate as this is where one sees the most walking, cycling, and bus use on a consistent basis.
And while cars may benefit from not encountering traffic jams, the street is not much better for motorists from a safety perspective. As with Colorado Boulevard I tried finding crash or safety statistics for Eagle Rock Boulevard. Perhaps as a relief, there was less information on Eagle Rock Boulevard. What I did find comes from LAPD Operations Central Bureau.
Top 5 Traffic Collision Intersections of past 6 months as of January 2011:
Los Feliz Blvd/Riverside Drive, Figueroa St/Avenue 26, Alvarado St/Reservoir St, Eagle Rock Blvd/Verdugo Rd, and Figueroa St/La Loma Rd
Top 5 Traffic Collision Streets of past 2 years as of January 2011:
Like Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock Boulevard is very dangerous and there is a lot of space on the street that could go towards improving conditions for all modes of travel.
While Colorado Boulevard receives a lot of attention from the community as a street that needs improvements it could be argued that Eagle Rock Boulevard is in much more dire need of help. There is no reason that cars should be given superfluous space at the expense of other modes of travel. When something so essential as decent sidewalks are lacking and the street itself is documented for its danger it seems fairly straightforward that changes need to be made– as the traffic counts show, there’s already plenty of space that could be used to create a more safe, complete street– it just isn’t being utilized.