Preliminary Results of Miracle Mile Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Plan

Preliminary Results of Miracle Mile
Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Plan

In October 2014 the Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] commissioned a “Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Plan” of the Miracle Mile. The MMRA selected Gibson Transportation Consulting, Inc. to prepare a comprehensive study of the area with special focus on 8th Street between La Brea Avenue and Fairfax Avenue. The study includes collecting traffic counts, reviewing accident reports, and making recommendations for traffic controls.

The MMRA’s principal objective for this traffic plan is to improve the safety of our streets for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists alike. Short of barricading the entire Miracle Mile, there is very little that can be done to reduce the overall volume of traffic. The implementation of the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit curb lanes on Wilshire Boulevard and impending subway construction will only add to the number of vehicles coursing through our residential streets – a situation already exacerbated by Waze and other way-finding apps that send motorists shortcutting through the Miracle Mile.

MMRA President James O’Sullivan and Vice President Ken Hixon met with Patrick Gibson, President of Gibson Transportation Consulting, Inc., and Ben Seinfeld, Field Deputy for Council District 4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge, to review preliminary results of the traffic study on April 1, 2015.

The MMRA is pleased with Gibson’s thoroughness and professionalism. The study is a work in progress and the initial research answers some questions and raises others. Of course, devising improvements is one thing – financing the cost of their implementation is a much more difficult challenge that will have to be addressed by the community at a later date.

Gibson is continuing their work on the study and once the final Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Plan is completed it will be shared with the entire community.

Here is a summary of key elements of the preliminary findings:

Additional stop signs or traffic signals on 8th Street

Installation of stop signs and/or traffic signals is governed by standards dictated by the State of California. Traffic counts along 8th Street are not sufficient to meet state requirements for the installation of additional stop signs or lights between La Brea Avenue and Fairfax Avenue.

Continental crosswalks

Continental crosswalks – broad  “Zebra stripe” crosswalks – have been proven to reduce injuries and deaths by making pedestrians more visible to motorists.  Gibson recommends that continental crosswalks be added to every 4-way stop and traffic signaled intersection along 8th Street.

Cochran Avenue and 8th Street is a priority as this intersection is used by children attending Cathedral Chapel School. The pedestrian signals at this location need to be updated to modern “count-down” models, as well.

“Line of sight” issues along 8th Street

North/south streets between La Brea Avenue and Fairfax Avenue intersect 8th Street at an acute angle that can make it difficult to see cross traffic and ascertain whether it is safe to cross or turn onto 8th Street. This “line of sight” problem is a historic source of accidents.

Gibson surveyed every intersection along 8th Street and observed that overgrown foliage on some corner lots obstruct the field of vision for motorists and cyclists. Gibson is preparing an inventory of these properties with foliage that exceeds code limits for corner lots.

Gibson’s investigation revealed that the intersection of Masselin Avenue and 8th Street does not conform to minimum standards for adequate line of sight. Northbound vehicles on Masselin Avenue must pull well out onto 8th Street to check for oncoming cross traffic, making it dangerous to cross 8th Street or to make a left turn [see Gibson charts linked below].

Removing three-to-five parking spots on the south side of 8th Street just east of Masselin Avenue would improve line of sight, but restricting northbound traffic on Masselin Avenue to right turns only at 8th Street might be a better solution. Gibson is analyzing both options.

Olympic Boulevard

The Los Angeles Police Department only takes reports of accidents that involve personal injury. This skews the official accident tally by not including the majority of accidents: Those that do not result in physical injury to motorists.

A review of LAPD accident reports indicates the risks of crossing or making left turns onto Olympic Boulevard, particularly during “peak hours” (morning and afternoon rush hour periods). Restricting traffic on north/south streets intersecting with Olympic Boulevard to right turns only during peak hours would lower the number of collisions. Gibson is studying which Olympic Boulevard intersections this mitigation might be called for.

Parking

Construction of major “infill” apartment developments on the former surface parking lots behind the Desmond’s and Dominguez-Wilshire buildings, as well as the closing of the public parking lots on Detroit Street (north of Wilshire Boulevard) for use as subway construction yards, have created a severe parking shortage at the eastern end of the Miracle Mile.

Parking at the western end of the Miracle Mile is strained by visitors to Museum Row, new apartment and condo developments, and by older multi-unit buildings with little or no off-street parking.

This parking crisis will be worsened with the commencement of major subway construction along Wilshire Boulevard, which will eliminate some parking spaces near the subway construction sites.

The MMRA is collaborating with Metro, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and Council District 4 to explore adding diagonal parking to streets between 8th Street and Wilshire Boulevard. Gibson is preparing studies on how many new parking spaces would be gained and what impact it would have on traffic patterns.

Gibson recommended that those streets in Miracle Mile without Preferential Parking seek that status and those with Preferential Parking petition the City for 24-hour/seven-days-a-week permit parking only. The MMRA strongly endorses this recommendation and has been encouraging the residents to take action for the last year or so.

The MMRA has created a “Preferential Parking Primer” on its website to aid residents seeking Preferential Parking for their block and for those who desire to change their respective permit parking restrictions.

For additional information:

Gibson Transportation Consulting, Inc.: Miracle Mile Study Graphics and Charts

Larchmont Buzz: Wilshire-Detroit Parking Lot Closure

KPCC – Southern California Public Radio: People Finding their ‘Waze’ to Jamming Once-Hidden Streets

MMRA Meets with Metro • Seeks to Shift Nighttime Utility Relocations to Daytime Hours

 

MMRA Meets with Metro

Seeks to Shift Nighttime Utility Relocations
to Daytime Hours

Miracle Mile Residential Association President James O’Sullivan and Vice President Ken Hixon met with representatives of Metro and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation [LADOT] on January 27, 2015 to discuss the noise and vibration impacts of ongoing nighttime utility relocation work.

At the meeting the MMRA presented a letter to Metro with suggestions for how nighttime noise disturbances could either be eliminated or better mitigated. The letter stated “It is clear after a year of Advanced Utility Relocations (AUR) that nighttime construction in the Miracle Mile – one of the most densely populated urban corridors in the country – cannot be done without disturbing the peace. Such work requires a super-human level of noise mitigation that has been demonstrated to be impractical to achieve on a consistent basis.”

The MMRA requested that LADOT grant Metro permission to work during morning and evening peak hours so that the majority of utility relocations could be shifted to daytime.

In a written reply, Kasey Shuda, Metro Construction Relations Manager, replied: “If the Los Angeles Department of Transportation was to approve peak hour exemptions for the project, from 6AM-9AM and 4PM-7PM, they would require two lanes of traffic remain open in each direction. This would cripple the ability of the contractor to complete a majority of AUR [advanced utility relocation] work due to the current condition of Wilshire Blvd. In order to keep two lanes of traffic open in each direction the project would be required to complete street reconfigurations including landscape removal, median demolition, signal relocation and street lighting relocations. These activities are not scheduled to take place until just prior to pile drilling. Pile drilling is the first activity of major subway construction. It is scheduled to take place first at the Wilshire/La Brea station in late 2015.”

The MMRA’s position is that since street reconfiguration is already in the plans to allow for the construction of the underground subway stations at La Brea and Fairfax, this reconfiguration should take place sooner than later to allow utility relocations to be done during daytime hours.

At the meeting Metro representatives acknowledged that it is nearly impossible to assure that nighttime construction won’t keep some residents awake, but that their goal was to disturb as few residents as possible. The MMRA takes issue with this calculation, which measures the success of mitigation by how many people are kept awake. We believe that every resident living along the Wilshire corridor has a fundamental right to sleep at night and that the only effective means to ensure this right is to stop subway construction between 11 PM and 7AM.


Click image to view video.

In its letter the MMRA also discussed proposed mitigations at the four subway construction sites to be located in the Miracle Mile. “Metro needs to go beyond mere compliance with the minimal requirements of the noise code if they want to generate good will in the community,” said Hixon. “Nine years of subway construction is going wear nerves thin, especially when nearby residents are kept awake all night.”

To date over 750 people have signed the “Sleepless in the Miracle Mile” petition opposing nighttime subway construction. The MMRA will continue to work with Metro and its contractors to make this lengthy project go as smoothly as possible, but we will not alter our opposition to nighttime construction. Nighttime subway construction and a good night’s sleep are inherently incompatible goals.

MMRA Letter to Metro, 27 Jan. 2015

Metro Letter to MMRA, 3 Feb. 2015

For additional information:

Park LaBrea News/Beverly Press: Noise from subway work rattles nerves at night

MMRA website: Subway Construction page

 

Miracle Mile Bike News:

CicLAvia Returns to the Miracle Mile
Sunday • April 6th

On Sunday, April 6th, CicLAvia repeats its Iconic Wilshire Boulevard route from downtown to the Miracle Mile. The popular car-free event allows people to explore the sights along Wilshire by foot, bike, or any other non-motorized means. This will be the last CicLAvia to visit the Miracle Mile until the completion of major street level construction of the Purple Line Subway extension, which is scheduled to begin work later this year.

Once again Fairfax Avenue will serve as the western terminus of the route from One Wilshire Boulevard in downtown. Wilshire between Curson Avenue and Fairfax will be a pedestrian zone featuring activities sponsored by the cultural institutions along Museum Row. The event runs from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Click on map to enlarge.

Last year’s CicLAvia attracted thousands of cyclists and pedestrians to the area and introduced many to the museums and the historic art deco architecture of the Miracle Mile. Here’s a link to a terrific walking guide of Wilshire Boulevard architecture prepared for last year’s event by Catherine Gudis.

Additional information:

CicLAvia.org: Iconic Wilshire Boulevard – 4/6/24

LAist.com: CicLAvia’s Wilshire Takeover Will Be The Last For a Few Years

Councilman LaBonge Delays
Proposed 6th St. Bike Lanes

In January 2014 the Los Angeles Department of Transportation [LADOT] announced Phase 2 of their ongoing efforts to add new bike lanes throughout the city. LADOT will begin traffic and safety assessments on these proposed bike lanes and will then hold public hearings to gather community feedback on the routes.

The city approved the Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan in 2010. LADOT will evaluate approximately 40 miles of potential new bike lanes each year. The goal is to install 1,600 miles of new bike lanes over the next 30 years.

Two new bike lanes on the Phase 2 list would directly impact the Miracle Mile: San Vicente Boulevard from Venice to Wilshire [2.3 miles] and 6th Street between La Brea and Fairfax Avenues [1 mile]. The San Vicente Boulevard bike lanes would not require the removal of any parking spaces or traffic lanes and have generated little opposition or controversy – but the 6th Street bike lanes are a different story.

Plans for 6th Street involve a “road diet” where one lane of traffic in each direction would be removed and street parking would be eliminated in order to create bike lanes. The Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] has staunchly opposed any plan that would remove traffic lanes or parking on 6th Street and further exacerbate congestion in the area. The MMRA issued a statement in March 2013 detailing our position on 6th Street bike lanes [click here to read].

Councilman Tom LaBonge recently informed the Park La Brea News/Beverly Press that he would not support bike lanes on 6th Street until the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit project is completed next spring. He then went on to state that he thought it would be better to delay the bike lanes until the “heavy construction” is completed for the Purple Line Extension, which would be many years in the future – well after LaBonge is termed out of office.

“Right now, we have been closing the boulevard [Wilshire Blvd.] for a number of nights and there has to be alternative routes,” LaBonge was quoted in the Park La Brea News/Beverly Press. “I want to look at the whole picture. Right now, I want to make sure it’s safe for everybody.”

Increased congestion generated by the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit project – which will create bus-only curb lanes during rush hour periods ­– and by a decade of subway construction are principal reasons why the MMRA opposes the 6th Street bike lanes. The MMRA is pleased that Councilman LaBonge agrees that this is not the time to consider a radical restriction of such a key east-west route.

Additional information:

LADOT Bike Blog: LADOT announces Priority 2 list of planned bikeways

Park La Brea News/Beverly Press: Local streets identified as possible bike lane sites

Mid City West Community Council
Makes Recommendation
 for a New
North/South Bike Lane through
the Miracle Mile

 Mid City West Community Council [MCWCC] has submitted recommendations to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation [LADOT] for two new bike lanes. Their proposal selects Rosewood Avenue as an east/west route and Cochran Avenue, Alta Vista Boulevard, and Formosa Avenue as a north/south route [see map below].

LEGEND
Red: Existing bike lanes on Burton Way and Hauser Boulevard
Yellow: Existing and future bike route on 4th Street
Blue: Proposed Rosewood and Cochran/Alta Vista/Formosa bike route

These proposed routes for “Bike Friendly Streets” will be evaluated by LADOT for possible inclusion in Phase 5 bike lane projects scheduled for 2017.

The Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] has not yet taken a position on these recommendations. Although, the MMRA did oppose original plans to use Hauser and Martel as a north/south bike route on the grounds that it would be too dangerous due to the volume of traffic and the narrow bends in Hauser south of Olympic.

The MMRA will wait to see if LADOT endorses MCWCC’s proposal before taking a position on this matter. The input of residents along Cochran Avenue will be an important factor in any decision made by the MMRA.

To read the full Mid City West Bicycle Friendly Street Proposal click here.