Santa Monica Boulevards Signalized Crosswalks Go Live Today and Tomorrow

Synchronized traffic lights installed at the crosswalk at Santa Monica Boulevard at Westmount.

UPDATE:  Well, not quite.  While the city announced yesterday that the crosswalk synchronized stop lights would go live then and today, it turns out that they are not.  Hany Demitri, the city’s principal engineer, said “the contractor realized yesterday that some of the signs that must be posted before the signal can be turned on are missing. He ordered the missing signs, they should be delivered today, and all signals should be turned on before Close of Business.”

Four signalized pedestrian crosswalks on Santa Monica Boulevard will go live today and tomorrow, a little more than three years after the death of Clinton Bounds sparked protests that City Hall wasn’t responding quickly enough to pedestrian safety issues.

The traffic signals at crosswalks at Santa Monica Boulevard and Westmount Drive and Santa Monica and Palm Avenue will be activated today. The signals at crosswalks at Santa Monica and West Knoll Drive and Santa Monica and Hancock Avenue will be activated tomorrow. Yesterday the city activated the stoplight on Westmont Drive at Santa Monica Boulevard that will allow drivers headed south on Westmount to turn left onto Santa Monica. In December of last year the city installed a traffic light-synchronized crosswalk on Santa Monica and Orange Grove Avenue on WeHo’s Eastside which replace two unlighted crosswalks, one near Orange Grove and the other near Ogden.

The new signals will be synchronized with traffic lights at major intersections on Santa Monica Boulevard. Pedestrians will only be allowed to cross at the crosswalks when cars are stopped at the crosswalk red light and the crosswalk light turns green.

The Santa Monica Boulevard crosswalk signalization project has involved the installation of new curbs, gutters, sidewalks, curb ramps, electrical connections, pavement, traffic signage, traffic striping pavement markings and modified concrete median islands.

clinton bounds, crosswalk accident, west hollywood
Clinton Bounds

Clinton Bounds, 62 and a long-time West Hollywood resident, was killed on Aug. 22, 2014, while crossing Santa Monica Boulevard near Hancock at around 11 p.m. Bounds was a frequent patron of gay bars on the west side of Santa Monica Boulevard such as Mickys, Revolver and Trunks and was popular with the young nightlife crowd. Early signs that Bounds was in an unlit crosswalk at Hancock sparked protests by local resident Larry Block and others who had joined Block’s “Cross Safe WeHo” campaign. Cross Safe WeHo was organized by Block, owner of The Block Party store, after a man was hit by a car in June 2014 while crossing Santa Monica Boulevard at the Westmount crosswalk.

Evidence later emerged that Bounds may have crossed that poorly lit area of Santa Monica Boulevard while intoxicated and while walking outside of the pedestrian crosswalk. However that didn’t stop Cross Safe WeHo from staging a public demonstration at the Hancock Avenue crosswalk and pressing the city to move faster in implementing crosswalk safety plans it had voted on in February of that year.

The installation of the signalized crosswalks grew to include installing the left turn light on Westmount. Previously drivers headed south on Westmount had had to turn right onto Santa Monica Boulevard and then make a U-turn at the traffic light at Santa Monica and Westbourne Drive to head east on Santa Monica. The city also created a turn lane on Santa Monica near the Ramada Inn which allows westbound passengers to turn into the parking structure above LASC and 24 Hour Fitness and also to make a U-turn and head east on Santa Monica Boulevard without going to the Westbourne traffic light.

Additional engineering enhancements implemented during the past three years also include in-street pedestrian crosswalk signs, which are bright neon yellow vertical signs posted at lane lines to warn drivers that it is “State Law to Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk,” and reflective raised pavement markers installed at edges of crosswalks, which help to alert motorists of crosswalk locations.

On a regular basis, deputies from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station’s Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) team and Community Impact Team (CIT) have been conducting crosswalk operations at various locations throughout the city.

  1. I applaud the effort to keep pedestrians safe. However, there is the need for PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Fines should be imposed for distracted walking, as they are with distracted driving (phone in hand). Also, fines should be enforced for jaywalking. ALL the money spent on numerous crosswalks, there is no need to run across the median on SMB

  2. Sad thing is that with these new traffic lights, people will still cross against the light and traffic will be severely impacted. Prior to the 2017 installation, there has been a traffic light at SM Blvd and Westbourne for decades. The amount of pedestrians that cross against the Westbourne traffic light because they believe they have the right of way is scary. I predict there will be more pedestrian injuries/deaths because people will now cross against the new lights under the assumption that they have the right of way and there will be more vehicle accidents as drivers will have to suddenly break at a green light because someone has crossed against the signal.

    I agree with the prior comment , walking across a street distracted (looking at a phone, etc.) should have potential fines.

  3. “Pedestrians will only be allowed to cross at the crosswalks when cars are stopped at the crosswalk red light and the crosswalk light turns green.” Only Allowed? Did they install railroad crossing gates to prevent drunk, distracted or entitled pedestrians from walking out in the street? I suppose it’s a (expensive) start but certainly not a full-proof solution

  4. HEAR HEAR! BRAVO TO LARRY BLOCK for keeping the heat on this issue. The entire community owes him a big appreciation for caring and following through.

  5. Hear, Hear!! Bravo to Larry Block for keeping the heat up on this subject. He really put himself out there and deserves the appreciation of the entire community.

  6. Your statement regarding a new left turn arrow on Westbourne onto SMB is wrong. That arrow is on Westmount.

  7. Now is the time for the city to enact a law similar to the one Honolulu just implemented making it illegal to cross the street while looking at a cell phone or other electronic device. While these new traffic lights will hopefully make it safer to cross the street drivers of vehicles are often in a hurry or don’t observe traffic lights placing pedestrians in danger. I was almost hit one morning recently crossing Santa Monica at Westbourne when a auto ran the red light.

  8. Crosswalks on Santa Monica Blvd without stop lights should have never been allowed. There is too much traffic and the street is too busy to allow people to just step into the street and expect that drivers are always paying attention (hell, the pedestrians don’t pay attention either). Happy to see these signals installed.
    Once these are completed, can we please fix up our medians!! They look like absolute hell. If the City doesn’t want to put back grass, how about faux grass…or other desertscape?

  9. I’ll never accept the fact that PREVENTION doesn’t solve problems or applause only SOLUTIONS after someone has died, wars waged, accidents occur. Thus is the case with the crosswalk issues which have been demanding attention for YEARS only to be dealt with after people have been hit, injured and killed. SHAME ON OUR CITY COUNCIL but thanks for finally dealing with this issue. Now, what about all the others?

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