City Council Pushes for Faster Action to Address Traffic Accidents on Fountain

A car crash at the intersection of Fountain Avenue and Havenhurst. (Photo by Jim Garrecht / ANG News)

The West Hollywood City Council tonight pushed City Hall to speed up efforts to address traffic accidents on Fountain Avenue.

Hany Demitri, the city’s principal engineer, told the Council that city staffers already are working on an interim plan to improve safety on Fountain Avenue. Demitri said he already has met with a subcommittee composed of members of the city’s Transportation and Public Safety commissions to present interim and short-term and long-term plans to address safety issues. Demitri said he hopes to have the interim plan ready to present to the City Council in February.

City Councilmembers John D’Amico and Lauren Meister said the city needed to move faster, given that there have been 20 accidents on Fountain, one involving a fatality, since December of last year. They proposed that the city move to Fountain some of the mobile traffic warning signs that were placed on Santa Monica Boulevard before the pedestrian crosswalk synchronized traffic lights were installed there. The city already has put four flashing lights on Fountain to warn drivers to slow down.

Demitri said that 20 accidents on Fountain was not an exceptionally high number, given that the avenue is considered a minor “arterial,” meaning that it is used by drivers to cross through the city. Demitri said that number of accidents isn’t unusual given the average of 35,000 cars a day on Fountain.

Councilmember D’Amico said that while Fountain may be seen as an artery, it is also a residential street, given that most of the avenue is bordered by apartments and houses. Automobile crashes have resulted in cars landing in people’s front yards, he said.

Mayor John Heilman said that it might make sense to prohibit left turns onto Fountain from side streets and find a way to warn drivers not to try to cross Fairfax during rush hours.

  1. This is the kind of story, that if an article is written about plans for to keep more people from dear and serious bodily injury ….. The City is already moving too slow & letting people get hit on a know dangerous road, with repeated Cars Hitting Pedistrians. SHAME ON OUR CITY! HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE BEFORE, AT LEAST THE SHERIFF PUTS CARS ON FOUNTAIN WITH LIGHTS AND APPEARANCE OF RADAR DETECTORS TO SCARE DRIVERS INTO SLOWING DOWN UNTIL A MORE PERMANENT FIX IS ENGINEERED

  2. I think enforcing the “no left turn during rush hour(s)” rule is a good one. As a pedestrian who often crosses Fountain at Fairfax, I know that the stragglers racing to beat the light or beat the surge are the most dangerous part of the problem. Fairfax used to be a mess until LA enforced a no left turn policy on the street through the District area. The same plan would help Fountain, greatly…

  3. I agree that there should be no left turns on fountain during rush hour. I take a right on to fountain from crescent heights and drive West to LaCienaga. The cars coming East get so backed up at the light at crescent heights that they block intersections and cars try to turn left on to fountain blindly because they can’t see any cars coming. It’s dangerous to have cars crossing stopped traffic and blindly turning left. I have seen many accidents one block east of crescent heights because of this.

  4. Alison – this is simply incorrect. Traffic calming and road diets, when used in conjunction with alternative transit methods (i.e, better bus lines, bike infrastructure, etc.) will actually speed up travel times for everyone – including drivers. They’re a win-win option. I think people are focusing on this now because most of us are just sick and tired of tolerating unsafe roads.

  5. Hank – last paragraph. Warn drivers not to cross Fairfax or pedestrians?

    Preventing left turns? It’s – what did you call it – a feeder road?

    Collisions happen because people are distracted for a moment, whether driving or being the recipient, unless it’s mechanical failure.

    1. Warn drivers not to drive to drive across Fountain during rush hour because of the likelihood of being hit by a car driving east or west on Fountain.

  6. Since the speed limit appears to be about 80 MPH along Fountain Avenue between Fairfax & Labrea, …how about setting up some obvious speed limit enforcement spots? Too simple and too obvious, obviously.

  7. “there have been 20 accidents on Fountain, one involving a fatality, since December.”

    Hank, did you proofread this before you posted it? It’s Dec. 4. Your sentence is confusing.

  8. There have been accidents on Fountain for years. What is the reason they are focusing on Fountain now? Most of the accidents happen late at night caused by speeding. I have lived 1 block south of Fountain for 39 years right by a “hot spot” for accidents. I don’t want the City Council to mess up Fountain like they have messed up Santa Monica with their “traffic calming” measures. It only makes things worse.

  9. Franz — Traffic calming methods are not for arterial streets like Fountain. State law prohibits artificially low speed limits. Restricting turns WILL help as a large number of accidents occur due to cars (moving and stationary) turning left.

  10. Preventing left turns is just a way to make it even more convenient for motorists to speed through during rush hours. Accidents and collision happen because people are speeding. One step forwards, two steps back. Why can’t they use other proven methods, like I dunno, bulbous, actually reducing the speed limit and other traffic calming measures? Oh right, that just inconveniences people at the expense of residents.

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