LaBonge Signs Off on Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan

LaBonge Signs Off on Miracle Mile

Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan

Traffic Jam

Councilmember Tom LaBonge and Miracle Mile Residential Association President James O’Sullivan met Monday, June 16, 2014, to finalize details for the Miracle Mile Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan [NTMP].

The MMRA has been seeking to implement the plan since last October – working in close cooperation with LaBonge’s Field Deputy, Ben Seinfeld, and Jeannie Shen, Transportation Engineer with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s Hollywood-Wilshire District office.

Area-wide congestion has gridlocked Wilshire Boulevard, Olympic Boulevard, and 8th Street during rush hour periods and resulted in more cut-through traffic on north/south streets. Traffic accidents are on the rise and so are complaints from the residents. The Miracle Mile is a hotbed of new development – with more major projects on the horizon – and the advent of Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit lanes on Wilshire Boulevard, as well as a decade of subway construction, will only add to our traffic woes.

The MMRA feels strongly that the Miracle Mile needs a comprehensive traffic safety study that will analyze traffic counts, vehicle speeds, and line-of-sight problems with intersecting streets along 8th Street. This study, which will cover Wilshire to Olympic from La Brea to Fairfax, will provide a rational basis to evaluate possible mitigations – and avoid the unintended consequences of “one-off” traffic fixes.

At first it appeared that LADOT budget cuts and staffing shortages would prevent the NTMP from being executed in a timely manner. The MMRA successfully lobbied Councilmember LaBonge and LADOT to use a special fund designated for traffic mitigations in the Miracle Mile to engage an outside traffic consultant firm to perform the study. These funds were donated by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA] to mitigate the Ogden Avenue “vacation.” Approximately 10 years ago, LACMA took over Ogden Avenue between Wilshire and 6th Street to unify their campus. LACMA agreed to create a special traffic mitigation fund because it was impossible at that time to predict the full impact of such a street closure on traffic in the Miracle Mile.

The MMRA has polled residents in the past and investigated every intersection within the study area to determine the scope of work to be performed by the traffic consultant. Our priority is safety. The NTMP will provide a professional overview of the area that will be invaluable when measuring the traffic impact of new development. It will also prevent pitting one street against another when residents propose various traffic solutions for their respective streets.

Final steps are underway to select a traffic consultant. It is estimated that the study will take six months to complete. The MMRA will share the results with the residents and continue to solicit their input on any proposed mitigations.

The MMRA is grateful to Councilmember LaBonge and his Field Deputy, Ben Seinfeld, for working so diligently to get this traffic plan launched. There are no easy fixes to traffic problems in the Miracle Mile, but a Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan will allow us all to make well informed decisions.