Fountain Avenue Residents Press for Action to Calm Dangerous Traffic

Fountain Avenue from Fairfax to North Orange Grove (Google Maps)

In the 1980s, Johnny Carson asked Bette Davis for advice on “the best way an aspiring starlet could get into Hollywood.” Davis famously replied, “Take Fountain!

These days, however, residents along Fountain Avenue in West Hollywood are saying “whoa!”

A number of those residents showed up last night at a meeting organized by West Hollywood City Councilmember John D’Amico to discuss their issues with pedestrian safety and traffic on Fountain.

The meeting was inspired in part by the recent death of Enrique Lopez, who died after being hit by a car on Sept. 1 while walking across Fountain near Formosa Avenue. There have been other incidents that concerned residents, including car crashes that damaged the yards of homes along Fountain and damaged cars parked along the avenue. A mother who lives at Alta Vista and Fountain noted that her 14-year-old son was hit by a car.  Capt. Sergio Aloma, who heads the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, said there have been 14 accidents involving injuries on  Fountain in the past 12 months and deputies have issued 74 citations to drivers.

Core issues raised by speakers included:

— The need for more police presence on Fountain, which likely would intimidate drivers prone to speeding. Currently the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station has two deputies dedicated to traffic safety on each shift. After last night’s meeting, Capt. Aloma said he is considering beefing up its presence on Fountain. Aloma noted that all deputies on patrol are authorized to stop and ticket speeding drivers.

— The need for more stoplights and designated crosswalks on Fountain, which would allow pedestrians to cross the street more safely. There currently are 12 stoplights on the 1.8 mile stretch of Fountain between La Cienega Boulevard and La Brea Avenue and one crosswalk with no traffic signal. City transportation planner Bob Cheung said that an increase in traffic lights is likely to divert traffic down residential streets.  Residents also suggested better street lighting.

— The fact that many drivers consider Fountain a thoroughfare, using it, for example, to avoid traffic on Santa Monica or Sunset boulevards when driving east toward Silver Lake or to connect to the 101 freeway. Residents at the meeting say they consider Fountain to be a residential street.

However, the volume of traffic on Fountain and the fact that it has four lanes (with two taken by parking in certain stretches except at rush hour) means it is considered a “collector street” rather than a residential street according to Hany Demitri, WeHo’s city engineer. Los Angeles, a block east of La Brea, also considers Fountain a collector street, which is defined as a low-to-moderate-capacity road that serves to move traffic from local streets to arterial roads.

Another issue raised is the lack of left turn lanes (there is only one), which causes cars to dart back and forth across lanes as they pass a vehicle stopped to turn left.

Residents also complained about the noise from the traffic, including loud sounds from motorcycles. And some noted that the sidewalks on Fountain are narrow and not especially pedestrian-friendly. The sidewalk on the north side of Fountain from Fairfax Avenue east is located within the Los Angeles city limits while the street itself and its southern sidewalk is within West Hollywood.

While some residents said they want a stop light at Fountain and Formosa “immediately,” D’Amico noted that the process is complex and could take a year given that it requires measurement of traffic flow, requests for bids from contractors and a somewhat complex installation process. Short-term solutions, such as lighted trailers that indicate to the driver how fast he or she is going might be possible said Oscar Delgado, the city’s Public Works director.

In addition to stepping up traffic patrols on Fountain, Lt. Jodi Hutak, the station’s operations lieutenant, said they are considering working with the L.A. Police Department’s West Traffic Bureau to conduct a joint operation on Fountain during busy traffic hours and installing a mobile speed trailer, which is a device parked on the side of the road that alerts drivers whether they are exceeding the speed limit.

City staffers noted that pedestrian and bicycle safety issues on Fountain are part of a detailed mobility plan that will go before the City Council at its meeting on Monday.

The pedestrian and bicycle mobility plan speaks to most of the issues raised by residents last night and also notes the complexity of addressing them. “Along Fountain Avenue, sidewalks are very narrow, with many obstructions and buildings built to the property line,” it says, also noting that utility poles and sloping driveways make it more difficult to walk or ride bikes on those sidewalks. From Sweetzer Avenue to La Brea, Fountain has bike “sharrows,” narrow painted lanes on the road dedicated to bicycle traffic.

Improvements proposed by the plan at each intersection on  Fountain are on the pages that follow. Note “continental crosswalks” referenced on the pages that follow mean a crosswalk with a series of painted bars across the street that are parallel to one another and to the sidewalks on either side. References to “RRFB”s are to rectangular rapid flashing beacons, or flashing lights that call out crosswalks to drivers.

Page 2 Alta Vista Boulevard

Page3 Crescent Heights Boulevard

Page 4 Curson Avenue

Page 5 De Longpre Avenue

Page 6 Detroit Street

Page 7 Fairfax Avenue

Page 8 Flores Street

Page 9 Formosa Avenue

Page 10 Fuller Avenue North of Fountain

Page 11 Fuller Avenue South of Fountain

Page 12 Gardner Street

Page 13 Genessee Avenue

Page 14 Hacienda Place

Page 15 Harper Avenue

Page 16 Havenhurst Drive

Page 17 Hayworth Avenue

Page 18 Kings  Road

Page 19 La Brea Avenue

Page 20 La Cienega Boulevard

Page 21 Laurel Avenue

Page 22 Martel Avenue

Page 23 Ogden Drive

Page 24 Olive Drive

Page 25 Orange Grove Avenue

Page 26 Poinsettia Place North of Fountain

Page 27 Poinsettia Place South of Fountain

Page 28 Sierra Bonita Avenue

Page 29 Spaulding Avenue North of Fountain

Page 30 Spaulding Avenue South of Fountain

Page 31 Stanley Avenue

Page 32  Vista Street


  1. Fountain is a highway. I once lived at Laurel & Fountain right at the corner of Laurel & Fountain. It was awful! My bedroom faced Fountain. The 2 plus year’s I lived there I was never able to sleep in my bedroom due to the noise from Fountain highway. It got quiet around 3 or 4:AM but by 5 or 6:AM the traffic started up. I liked the location very much though. I am a bike rider and often rode down Fountain to Hollywood or where ever. Thankfully never hit by a speeding car. Prayers go out to the many who lost there lives on Fountain highway. RIP

  2. The fact that there was a person killed on fountain is unfortunate but no one knows what happened it is not excuse let slimeball city get its hands on fountain and retrict traffic flow. The city idiots have already ruined sm flow and fools need to be stopped.

  3. The need to slow speeders on Fountain is a MUST. It should be illegal to make LEFT turns from side across Fountain during rush hour.
    A stop light at Formosa would back traffic onto LaBrea.

  4. People aren’t taking the Waze app into consideration. I am a fan, don’t get me wrong…but I am a resident on Formosa and I avoid making that left turn on to Fountain as much as I possibly can…and I LIVE on this street. Formosa is one of the many side streets that waze will redirect its users to and while it is a helpful tool to beat traffic, it can lead you to some pretty dangerous left turns…Formosa and Fountain is one of them. This article does not tell you that in one week’s time a Mini Cooper knocked down a Street Light at the corner of Formosa and Fountain, that 14 yo boy was hit (and the driver is still at large) and there was the devastating fatality. All within 50 yards of eachother. Not sure what can be done about these GOS traffic beating apps but I think they do play a part in the accidents taking place

  5. Where was the foresight when bicycle lanes were installed to further complicate matters even before studying the need for turn lanes. If I were a cyclist you can bet I am using side streets ratger than getting picked off on Fountain. A little extra time but not compromising ones safety. A few weeks with deputies and radar guns sound help but trIlers with flashing speed lights get laughed at AND they take up lane space.

  6. There is already only 2 lanes in each direction. There needs to be an increased police presence on Fountain in the late night hours. That is when the most dangerous speeding goes on. I can hear it from my apartment on Hampton and I can hear the accidents that result on the corners of Spaulding and Fountain and Curson and Fountain. Many have been deadly over the years on the corner of Curson and Fountain.

  7. The best solution is to reduce the lanes from four to two on each direction with a turning lane in the middle. Bike lanes optional but preferred since this is a designated bike route. Everything else is just a band aid solution until someone else dies and the city scrambles once again to ‘get public feedback and study’. Get it right the first time.

    Los Angeles considers their part of Fountain a collector street as well but the conditions for pedestrian and livability aspects of the street is a lot better. The sidewalks are wider, there are numerous stop signs and the stoplights are evenly spaced, and they do not restrict parking anytime. The common thread here is that all of these resulted in slower speeds for cars and narrower travel lanes, either by design or coincidence. People still take it as a though street so traffic flow impacts are negligible but with a far better safety profile. It’s worth it to add a few seconds to your commute if it means we could have prevented the death of Enrique. But it’s too late for him so we have to try to prevent future ones.

    And lastly, car ‘accidents’ do not happen by fate or are inevitable. They are a preventable form of disaster and the design of our streets play a big part in preventing them. We just to choose to accept them as inevitable as the easy way out and the likes of Enrique pay the ultimate price. It doesn’t have to be that way.

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