WeHo City Council Rejects Proposal to Use Traffic Officers to Improve Rush Hour Flow on Santa Monica Boulevard

Traffic ControlThe West Hollywood City Council tonight rejected a proposal to place traffic officers at intersections along Santa Monica Boulevard to test whether that would reduce traffic congestion.

A proposal by Councilmembers John D’Amico and John Duran called for staffing nine intersections for a six-month test period. The city’s Community Development Department said that three possible sources for the necessary traffic officers — Serco, the city’s parking enforcement contractor; the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — didn’t have sufficient staff for that. The Community Development Department said two officers would be required from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays at each intersection.

As an alternative, the Community Development Department suggested hiring Sheriff’s deputies on overtime to staff three  intersections of Santa Monica Boulevard —  with Doheny Drive, San Vicente Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard and an additional  intersection with La Brea Avenue as staffing permits. The total cost of the three-month experiment was estimated at about $140,000.

D’Amico and Duran said in November that they were proposing the pilot program out of concern that traffic congestion affects residents’ quality of life and hampers the city’s economic competitiveness. Citing a 1,320 percent increase in gridlock tickets issued in a 30 month period – 35 tickets were issued in January 2011, while 464 tickets were issued in June 2013 – D’Amico said traffic officers are needed as gridlock will only worsen with several new construction projects currently underway or soon to start.

But at tonight’s meeting, Councilmember John Heilman said it seemed the city had “contrary intentions.” On the one hand, he said, the city wants to improve the speed with which traffic flows through the city. On the other, he said, the city is installing lights at pedestrian crosswalks to alert drivers to stop for pedestrians. Councilmember Jeffrey Prang said he was not comfortable paying overtime to Sheriff’s deputies to staff the intersections. And Prang said he wasn’t sure the city was focusing on the right intersections. Mayor Abbe Land agreed with Heilman’s concerns.

In response, D’Amico noted that there has never been an accident involving a pedestrian and an automobile during rush hour. D’Amico and Duran both also said that the pilot program would produce data needed to determine which intersections have the most congestion and what techniques work best at reducing that. Otherwise, they said, the council would be left to rely on anecdotes about where congestion is worst and what could be done to ameliorate it.

Prang moved to ask the city’s Community Development Department to come back with other suggestions and to establish a council subcommittee to work on the idea. The council voted three to two to approve Prang’s motion, with D’Amico and Duran voting no. The subcommittee will be composed of Prang and Heilman.


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Professor Shivers
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Professor Shivers

Timed crossings? YES!!!! Crosswalks ARE needed, but I never heard of timed ones. How do they work in conjunction with stoplights?

kab1200
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kab1200

Professor, they do not need to work with the stoplights, they just come after a period of time. Right now anyone can cross anytime, and people can just keep crossing and hold up traffic for as long as they want. Timed crossing would stop this disruption to the flow of traffic.

BL
Guest
BL

Or how about a pedestrian bridge that goes from Starbucks to 24 hour fitness? And have that as the only free flowing crossing. They could paint it as a rainbow or even better yet, sell advertisements, since we know how greedy the city is.

Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
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Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs

It makes absolutely no sense that there are all those on-demand cross-walked in the middle of SMB. Either make them timed cross-walks, or remove some of them. Why exactly is there a crossing from 24-hour to Starbucks? There’s a timed cross-walk a block away near Fresh Corn Grill. People who just went to the gym shouldn’t be that lazy.

And then the one by the car wash? SMH. City Hall needs to get rid of some of those.

SL
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SL

My commute westward along SM Blvd from Sweetzer to Doheny has been congested now for almost a year. I leave around 7:15 am, and it usually takes me almost 10 minutes to travel that stretch – all bumper-to-bumper. Today, my car said I was averaging 11 mph.(I think that math’s right.) Not only are the lights timed all wrong, but there’s a disconnect with Weho claiming to be progressive and environmentally friendly, yet cars are practically idling along SM Blvd. spewing exhaust The carbon footprint on that cancels out any environmental savings from banning circus animals in the city.

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Yes, SL, good points. And in my estimation, the crosswalks are one of the major contributing factors to the congestion. They need to be timed, not on demand.

JESS K Registered Voter
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JESS K Registered Voter

traffic is hideous in west hollywood, something must be done! Sounds like a waste of time to send to another sub committee, why can’t transportation do their job? Get some Sheriff’s out onto the main thoroughfares, start writing citations, and solve the problem.

Rudolf Martin
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Rudolf Martin

Oh boy, another Heilman/Prang subcommitte, where reform efforts go to die a slow
and painful death if their campaign finance reform results are any indication.

“Contrary intentions”??? I would think we can address our rapidly increasing gridlock (in no small part due to the self imposed cluster of mega projects approved) at the same time as increasing pedestrian safety. It’s like walking and chewing gum anywhere on Santa Monica Blvd these days.

Can those who say it’s either one or the other please resign? Or is ‘abdicate’ the proper term?

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

The reason there is congestion is the timing of the lights and the free flow of pedestrians acrosss Santa Monica Blvd, plain and simple. The crosswalks should work on a timer, so that people cannot just cross whenever they get there. I have had to wait for quite some time while one after the other pedestrian strolled across the street by Starbuck’s to 24 Hour. It needs to be timed.

meister4weho
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meister4weho

Another subcommittee? Isn’t that why we have a Transportation Commission?

carleton cronin
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carleton cronin

Revenue before relief? Since all things automobile (meters, permits, parking garages, traffic fines, etc. ) are such a major source of revenue for the city I can understand the council majority’s reluctance to tinker with success. As far as the “quality of life” in our fair city, most of us are slowly beginning to understand that, since “life” is an absolute, “quality” has nothing to do with it. However, it would be nice to be able to cross the street without being challenged by a speeding car. In fact, it would be nice to even get across the street in… Read more »