Safety Fixes Come to Broadway in Lincoln Heights

IMG_3881.jpg

Peak hour travel lanes have been removed from Broadway in Lincoln Heights, making room for parking and painted curb extensions.

In 2013 when the City proposed slimming Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock down from 6 lanes to 4 as a means of improving safety, some predicted the worst. Now, 4 years after the street shed lanes, the impact of lane removal on traffic flow appears to be negligible. Meanwhile, crashes have dropped and bicycle usage has increased. Virtually everywhere the City has installed road diets, the results have been the similar. At the cost of paint and a little added rush hour delay, communities have seen vast upticks in safety and people walking and bicycling.

The latest street to receive modest lane re-striping  in the NELA area has been Broadway in Lincoln Heights. The road diet was installed through the City’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce the number of people getting injured and killed in traffic. Serving as the neighborhood’s main commercial thoroughfare, Broadway is wide – approximately 70 feet curb-to-curb. Generally, the street is two lanes in each direction, a center turn lane, and curbside parking. Until a couple weeks ago, the street would also feature a third westbound lane during the morning rush hour by prohibiting parking. During the evening rush, the configuration flipped with a third lane of travel in the eastbound direction by restricting parking on that side.

A cursory glance at recent traffic counts suggest that accommodating an extra lane of traffic during rush hour was unnecessary. As a point of reference, Eagle Rock’s Colorado Boulevard carries about 34,100 car trips a day,  while Broadway only carries 29,000. So the City took action in early July to remove the rush hour parking restrictions in hopes of improving safety, and reducing the number of serious and fatal injuries that occur on the street. Now people are free to park on either side of the street without morning and evening restrictions. This could very well also help the businesses along the street, some of which limited their hours of operation based on the former parking restrictions.

In addition to restoring parking, the City also installed some painted treatment at intersections to encourage slower right turning movements. Some intersections were rewired to give pedestrians a green light before the light turns green for cars (during our visit we observed this improvement at Avenue 20, Daly St, and Griffin Ave).

The new configuration extends approximately 1.1 miles from Avenue 18 to Lincoln Park Avenue (though the westbound lane reduction is 2 blocks shorter, from Avenue 20 to Lincoln Park Avenue).

Below are pictures of the new configuration, starting Avenue 20 moving eastbound.

IMG_3873.jpg

Paint and raised pavement markers installed in former peak hour lane.

IMG_3875.jpg

Broadway, eastbound, crossing I-5 Freeway.

IMG_3879.jpg

Visible in foreground is former lane marking that has been scraped off. In the background paint and raised pavement markers to promote more careful turning movement.

IMG_3882.jpg

Paint, raised pavement markers, and flexible bollards to promote safer right turns.

 

IMG_3886

New 30 minute parking signs on Broadway. It may take time before people realize they can now park during rush hour.

IMG_3889.jpg

img_38921.jpg

 

Here are some pictures moving in the westbound direction:

img_3898.jpg

At times it feels like there is enough room for bike lanes, but at 70 feet wide there would only enough room to add a bike lane in one direction. Maybe there could be a bike lane in the uphill eastbound direction and sharrows in the downhill westbound direction?

IMG_3903.jpg

IMG_3907.jpg

Pedestrians get green light a few seconds before the light turns green for cars at Daly Street.

IMG_3905.jpg

Not all drivers got the memo that they should not be turning right in the painted area with raised pavement markers. Perhaps some flexible bollards could be added here.

It is worthwhile to note that 16 of the 18 intersections along the corridor have full traffic signals. People that oppose such road diets and other lane reductions often suggest the City should instead install traffic signals to improve safety. Yet despite having traffic signals at almost all its intersections, Broadway has long remained a dangerous street. Let’s hope that the new treatment improves safety conditions for the neighborhood.

(Around the corner from Broadway there are also peak hour lanes on Avenue 26 that might be worthwhile removing to make space for parking and/or bike lanes.)IMG_3909.jpg

7 thoughts on “Safety Fixes Come to Broadway in Lincoln Heights

  1. Pingback: Today’s Headlines – Streetsblog Los Angeles

  2. As a cyclist I preferred the “old” configuration over the new one. I definitely see how the new setup is beneficial and safer for pedestrians, but riding a bike has become more treacherous because I am forced to weave in/out of traffic to avoid the bollards and/or parked cars. I like the suggestion to add a bike lane in the east bound direction. Maybe that will happen once the Spring St bridge retrofit (which includes bike lanes) is completed?

      • In the old rush hour lanes I did not have to contend with parked cars. Now I have to avoid being doored on my right and sideswiped on my left.

        Also, with the new configuration there are bollards where there used to be red curbs. Instead of riding straight through an intersection in the far right, I have to ride further left into the traffic lane to avoid the bollards. A couple of the intersections have the striping and the Botts’ dotts but no bollards. Those intersections are great because I can hug the right side of the lane. Unfortunately drivers often ignore the striping.

        Lastly, with the street down to 2 lanes instead of 3, there are more cars that I must share a lane with. On the bright side the speed of cars seemed to have dropped, but the cars still move much faster than I am riding.

        Don’t get me wrong, I commend LADOT for improving the pedestrian experience in this corridor. if there was a bike lane in conjunction with this setup then i would feel much safer.

  3. Pingback: Doing More With Less Space on Narrow Streets | Walk Eagle Rock

  4. Pingback: NELA Livable Streets Roundup – May 2018 | Walk Eagle Rock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s