The Sad State of Traffic Safety in Northeast LA

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A crash on Colorado Blvd by the Eagle Rock Plaza

In recent years Colorado Boulevard has been the most widely discussed street when it comes to talk of traffic safety in Northeast LA. The attention dedicated to Colorado Boulevard is well warranted, however it is not the only dangerous street in the neighborhood. There are many streets in Northeast LA that enable the kind of reckless driving we regularly experience and cause the crashes that scar the community. Ten years of collision data (2002 through 2011) accessible through UC Berkeley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System, or TIMS, reinforces the need to take traffic safety more seriously on all our streets.

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Let’s Talk Crossing

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Sign telling pedestrians they are not allowed to cross the street at this corner

Colorado Boulevard needs more crosswalks, because while any corner unless signage dictates otherwise is technically an “unmarked crosswalk,” the experience of crossing at an unmarked crosswalk on the street is very unpleasant. Rarely, if ever, do motorists yield to pedestrians as they should at unmarked crosswalks. Here’s what one typically sees at Colorado Boulevard’s “unmarked” crosswalks:

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People running across the street

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Waiting for a break in the flow of cars (because the drivers won’t yield)

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Trying to make their way across because they are patronizing a business on one side but parking on the other.

Here are more pictures of people crossing Colorado Boulevard at unmarked crosswalks:
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Addressing Concerns With Implementing Bike Lanes on Colorado Boulevard

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(“Creating bike lanes by reducing the number of lanes available to motorists will hurt businesses,” one of the many arguments presented against bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard. See “Bike Lane Concern #4″ below to find out if bike lanes are really likely to hurt local business)

Bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard, as planned in the Los Angeles Bike Plan, are coming closer to being a reality– a meeting on March 27th hosted by council member Huizar’s office will be held to determine based on community input how to move forward, if at all, with bike lanes on Eagle Rock’s main street.

During on-going opportunities for community input ( including the environmental impact review, and public hearing regarding the results of the environmental impact review) comments have been mostly positive. However, now concerns about the potential impact bike lanes may have are popping up in growing numbers. There is nothing wrong with this, concerns are well warranted for any proposed changes in town and a change to Colorado Boulevard’s public right-of-way will affect daily travel for many.

To gain a clearer perspective of what the current circumstances are, and what may possibly change as a result of bike lanes being implemented, it is beneficial to have the recurring concerns and questions people have regarding bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard actually be addressed. That’s what this blog post will attempt to do– address concerns that have been raised in conversations about bike lanes in the community.
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Observing A Temporary Lane Closure on Colorado Boulevard

One concern regarding the potential installation of bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard is that it would cause a “traffic nightmare” since it would reduce the number of travel lanes available for motorists between Broadway and Townsend Avenue, a 1.5 mile stretch. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) Bikeways Division has communicated  it doesn’t anticipate any major delays in travel times by implementing bike lanes but concerns among residents persist, and understandably so. However if a recent, temporary closure of a single travel lane is any indication, it seems Colorado Boulevard will function just fine if bike lanes are implemented.

Friday, January 11th, a film crew was out on Colorado Boulevard on the block between Caspar Avenue and Maywood Avenue and due to all the equipment present during the filming, one eastbound travel lane was closed to traffic on this block of the street. Generally speaking, such unanticipated lane closures tend to cause bottlenecking, but this was not the case on Colorado Boulevard during this particular filming. Eastbound traffic appeared to be moving just as smoothly with only two of three lanes available as the westbound traffic where there was no unexpected lane closure.

Could it be that the LADOT’s projections are accurate– that creating bike lanes by removing one travel lane for motorists really won’t have much impact on travel times?

This temporary block long lane closure can’t provide conclusive evidence of what conditions would be like with bike lanes but it was interesting to observe nonetheless. Below is a video of the traffic conditions as they appeared between 5pm to 5:25pm

(Note  the block before the lane closure traffic was forced to merge from three lanes to two lanes and there didn’t appear to be any clogging of traffic there either.)

The Struggles and Potential of Eagle Rock Boulevard

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.

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Some Facts and Thoughts About Colorado Boulevard

It is common to accept the automobile as the primary means to move along Colorado Boulevard, or to reach the many destinations that line our well-known part of town. However, I recently found myself asking why driving is the primary means and I found myself curious about the actual amount of traffic that passes by, and other statistics about the street. Colorado Boulevard is a large part of our community, why not be curious about it, right?

Colorado Boulevard is a major highway class II, projected to carry between 30,000 and 50,000 cars daily. Traffic counts available from the LADOT website from the past 15 years shows that Colorado Boulevard seldom carries above 35,000. Continue reading

What Does Good Traffic Look Like?

There’s a conversation in Eagle Rock, the key phrases to describe the conversation are ‘”Colorado Boulevard” and “bad for traffic”. What’s the discussion about? It could be a few topics but in recent months, chances are that discussion is about taking space from cars to dedicate space to pedestrians and bicyclists. But what exactly is  ‘bad for traffic’ or simply ‘bad traffic’? Naturally ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are subjective terms when discussing traffic, but let’s look at some pictures of Colorado Boulevard and you, the reader, can determine what you would want to see more of– what’s good traffic?

Photo #1: Good traffic?

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