Study Proposes Traffic Calming Measures for WeHo’s Norma Triangle

West Hollywood’s Community Development Department is proposing to install speed bumps on Norma Avenue and Elevado Street as the first in a wide range of suggested moves to reduce traffic flow and speeding in the Norma Triangle neighborhood.

Norma Triangle

The traffic bump installation and many of the other suggested traffic calming measures would be implemented as tests to see if they actually reduce traffic flow or speeding. The City Council will be asked Monday to approve installation of the Norma and Elevado speed bumps. The other measures will come back to the Council after further study and, in some cases, only if area residents are willing to sign a petition to request them. Implementation of all of the suggestions would cost a little more than half a million dollars, which doesn’t include costs to relocate utilities, acquire right-of-way, landscape or irrigate or provide for long-term maintenance.

The proposals are the result of a study by Fehr and Peers, a consulting firm engaged by the city in May 2015. There have been similar studies in the West Hollywood West, Tri-West and Eastside areas.

A report to the City Council notes that while some residents believe speeding and cut-through traffic is excessive in their neighborhood, the Fehr and Peers study found that “Norma Triangle residential streets’ traffic volumes and speeds are comparable to the traffic volumes and speeds on residential streets throughout the city.” The study includes a map of the neighborhood illustrating average vehicle trips per day, which can be accessed here: Vehicle Trips per Day Norma Triangle

“The Norma Triangle residential street daily volumes range from 210 vehicles per day on Hilldale Avenue, a no-outlet street, to 6,550 vehicles per day on Cynthia Street,” the report says. “Rosewood Avenue and Gardner Street, two sample city residential streets outside of the Norma Triangle study area have daily volumes of 4,242 and 7,020 vehicles, respectively. In addition, the surveys show the speeds in the Norma Triangle area are within an acceptable range of the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit.”

Under the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP), certain measures can be implemented without requiring a petition from residents. Those include pedestrian islands, textured pavement to reduce speeds and create a shared street, radar feedback signs and high visibility crosswalks. A petition signed by a majority of residents in the affected area is required for installation of speed lumps, a bulb-out, pedestrian islands, an all-way stop and a controlled traffic circle. The Norma Triangle streets and specific measures recommended for them are:

Willey Lane, is a one-way northbound street between Santa Monica Boulevard and Lloyd Place. No count was made of average traffic on the street. The report notes that residents have expressed concern that there aren’t sidewalks on Willey Lane, which is only 15-feet wide in some areas. “Textured pavement on Willey Lane could be used to alert vehicles of the potential presence of pedestrians in the street and reduce vehicular speed, thus creating a shared-street designed to be used by vehicles and pedestrians,” the report recommends, noting that there needs to be a review of the proposal by engineers first and consideration of maintenance issues.

traffic, street
Curb bulb out

Harland Avenue, an east/west street that runs from Doheny Drive to Willey Lane, carries an average of 300 vehicles each day. The report notes that residents are concerned about speeding on the street. The study found that 15% of traffic exceeds 20 miles-per-hour (mph). To reduce speeding, one set of speed lumps is recommended for Harland. A speed lump (also called a speed cushion) is something typically lower than a speed bump, and often made from rubber, that slows causes drivers to slow down as they approach it.

Keith Avenue, an east/west street that runs from Doheny Drive to Hilldale Avenue. Keith Avenue accommodates about 1,900 vehicles per day. Of those cars, on average 85% are driving at or under 23 mph. On Keith Avenue the neighborhood concern is about traffic volumes and speeding. To reduce speeding, one set of speed lumps is recommended between Doheny Drive and Willey Lane and two sets of speed lumps are recommended between Willey Lane and the intersection of Keith and Robertson avenues.

Elevado Avenue, an east/west street from Doheny Drive to Lloyd Place. Elevado carries approximately 300 vehicles per day and 85% of cars are at 26 mph or lower. To address concerns about the speeding the report recommends two sets of speed lumps on Elevado between Doheny Drive and Hilldale Avenue.

traffic, pedestrian safety, streets
Pedestrian island

Lloyd Place, an east/west street between Willey Lane and Norma Place. The report doesn’t include traffic volumes and speed on Lloyd Place, but nots that residents are concerned about speeding, failure to stop at stop signs and poor visibility of the stop sign at the intersection of Lloyd Place and Norma Place. It recommends considering a “bulb-out” at the intersection of Lloyd Place and Norma Place. A bulb-out is an extension of the sidewalk to narrow the roadway, making it safer for a pedestrian to cross the street and slowing traffic that might otherwise speed through.

Norma Place, an east/west street that runs from Doheny Drive to Hilldale Avenue. Norma Place carries 400 vehicles per day. Eighty-five percent of the cars on Norma Place drive at 22 mph or slower. To address concerns about high speeds, the report recommends two sets of speed lumps between Doheny Drive and Lloyd Place.

Hilldale Avenue, a north/south street that runs from north of Sunset Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard. Hilldale and carries 700 vehicles per day between Cynthia Street and Santa Monica Boulevard, with 85% of that traffic at or below 20 mph. One concerned raised by neighbors is the intersections between Hilldale and Cynthia Street and Keith Avenue. The study recommends high visibility crosswalks at the intersections of Hilldale Avenue and Vista Grande Street, Hilldale Avenue and Dicks Street and Hilldale Avenue and Keith Avenue. A traffic circle is recommended at the intersection of Hilldale Avenue and Vista Grande Street.

traffic, street
Street speed bump

Vista Grande Street, an east/west street that runs from Doheny Drive to Hilldale Avenue. Vista Grande carries 600 vehicles per day, with 85% of those at or below 25 mph. To address concerns about speeding, the study recommends one set of speed lumps on Vista Grande Street near Doheny Drive. To minimize possible increased speeding on Dicks Street, located one block south of Vista Grande Street, one set of speed lumps is recommended on Dicks Street.

Cynthia Street, an east/west street that runs from Doheny Drive to Larrabee Street. It carries 3,900 vehicles per day between Doheny Drive and Hammond Street and 6,500 vehicles per day between Hammond Street and San Vicente Boulevard, the highest of any residential street in the study area. Eighty-five percent of the vehicles on Cynthia Street drive at or slower than 19 to 23 mph. The study recommends pedestrian islands at Cynthia Street and Hilldale Avenue and Cynthia Street and Hammond Street to address concerns about pedestrian safety. Those islands also are expected to improve safety for children walking to West Hollywood Elementary School. A high visibility crosswalk is recommended for the intersection of Cynthia and Hammond streets.

Doheny Drive, a north/south street the is the western border of West Hollywood. Doheny Drive carries 9,600 vehicles per day between Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. Eighty-five percent of cars drive at or below 39 mph, which is above the speed limit of 35 mph. Because portions of Doheny Drive are shared with the City of Beverly Hills, any action has to be coordinated between the cities. The study says that West Hollywood and Beverly Hills will consider taking steps to reduce speeding at the intersections between Doheny Drive and Elevado Street and between Doheny Drive and Cynthia Street. It recommends two “radar speed feedback signs” on
Doheny Drive. Radar speed signs effectively warn a driver by showing a vehicle’s actual speed on the street.

Other measures that could be taken, according to the report to the City Council, are:

— Installing speed limit signs and pavement markings to make clear what the speed limit is.

— Installing signs saying “Traffic Calming Devices Ahead.”

— Improving traffic signal timing, which is used to improve traffic flow in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, to reduce the potential for cut-through traffic through Norma Triangle.

— Improving pedestrian and bicycle access within the Norma Triangle neighborhood.

Vehicle Trips per Day Norma Triangle

  1. I agree with Michael King. I live in that same area, & walk up/down Hilldale every day on the way to/from work etc. I see cars traveling at high speeds all the time. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve almost been hit crossing Dicks, Vista Grande and others. This is when I’m crossing with no car in sight, then someone speeding and often accelerating, and will not slow or stop to allow me to cross safely. There are so many drivers who just don’t look for peds, or don’t allow us to cross when we have the right of way, trying to cross Hilldale at Cynthia, or Hilldale at Keith, usually means I just stand on the sidewalk for 5-10 minutes until cars have all gone, before I dare try to cross.

    Roundabouts aren’t the answer though. I echo comments made above. Speed bumps might help somewhat, though.

    Not asking for no traffic – this is a city – but more safety for peds. Surely that’s attainable?

  2. Honestly, if you look at the numbers, Norma isn’t any different than the rest of the city. Cynthia is a busy street but so are just about all of the streets like it in West Hollywood. We live in the middle of a gigantic metropolitan area with well over 10 million people. You’re not going to be able to shelter West Hollywood as if it were a gated community. There will always be people passing through on their way elsewhere. If you what peace and quiet with no traffic, move to Bakersfield…

  3. The traffic circles were a disaster on Cynthia for pedestrians. Drivers were not looking out for them but rather trying to see who got to the intersections first. It was a nightmare. Other bad things about them similar to what Mike just wrote and more, but that was a key concern.

  4. I don’t think a traffic circle is a very good idea for Hilldale and Vista Grande. I believe a lot of on-street parking would be sacrificed if one was installed. Back in the early or mid 2000’s there were traffic circles on Cynthia at Hammond and at Hilldale. These only made rush-hour traffic worse. Moreover: 1)They merely delayed the routine of cutting through our neighborhood and 2) Larger vehicles could not navigate said circles. With the massive property developments going on in West Hollywood and Hollywood, drivers will continue to use our neighborhood to circumvent SMB and Sunset.
    I suggest turning certain streets into One Way Streets. Figure out which streets are the busiest during rush-hour traffic in the evening and designate streets one-way in the opposite direction. Cynthia and Keith are the busiest in an easterly direction so make them one-way going west.

  5. Anything would help in these narrow, congested streets. Also worth noting: Keith Avenue drivers ROUTINELY run the stop signs at Willey Lane, a block east of Doheny. It’s rampant from about 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., when many actually accelerate through the intersections without so much as a pause. It’s an area where many elderly pedestrians and dog walkers are trying to cross Keith or other nearby streets, as well as an increasing number of residents pushing baby carriages. The intersection of Keith and Robertson, where Robertson ends just north of the Pavilions parking lot, is a nightmare at rush hour. I’ve been struck there by a texting driver who rolled obliviously through the stop sign, and nearly hit countless times. Why the Sheriff’s Department does not post a patrol car at these two intersections during weekday rush hours and dispense tickets is beyond me. Are you listening WeHo Safety Department and WeHo Sheriff’s Department?

  6. David – roads have public access. Restricting Cynthia to those with 5R passes would be totally illegal. Also to state the obvious what about friends visiting, workers, people going to the hotels on those streets?
    On Doheny issues – the problem for the city is that the western half of the street south of Phyllis is part of Beverly Hills. As a resident of the area I pursued the idea of having a stop light at Cynthia and/or Elevado. The response I received from city officials is that any attempt to raise this with Beverly Hills was shot down – they wanted nothing to do with it (in part of fear that it would raise traffic on those streets on their side).

  7. Improving traffic flow on Sunset, SMB and Melrose would do a lot more good and help this neighborhood much more than speed bumps, etc. Traffic light timing on SMB and accepting that Melrose is a thoroughfare and not some boutique small town street would remove the urge of drivers to use the residential streets as cut-throughs.

  8. Good luck. Many years ago when the council held a meeting about instigating the slanted parking places that now run down Norton Avenue from Sweeter to Harper. I bought up the need for speed bumps on Harper between Fountain and Norton. I got a few patronizing looks because they said were already on the verge of approving them. Was that 1998? Still no speed bumps on Harper.

  9. “The Norma Triangle residential street daily volumes range from 210 vehicles per day on Hilldale Avenue…”
    I live near the intersection of Hilldale and Cynthia, and at least one vehicle comes north on Hilldale to traverse that intersection every 15 sec. between 4 pm and 8 pm on weekdays.
    I have no idea when this survey took place. (Perhaps they surveyed the dead-end ‘stub’ of Hilldale that runs north of Cynthia and dead-ends at West Hollywood Elementary??)
    Numbers like this are beyond comprehension.

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