Another Car Crash on Fountain, Focus of Residents Traffic Safety Complaints

Car involved in a three-vehicle collision today on Fountain Avenue at Crescent Heights Boulevard. (Photo by Jim Garrecht / ANG News)

Three cars collided today on Fountain Avenue, which those living in houses and apartments on either side of it are seeing as an increasingly dangerous road.

The crash occurred at around 12:45 p.m. on Fountain at the intersection of Crescent Heights Boulevard. Sgt. Lance Eddins of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said a car headed west on Fountain turned left in front of a car headed east. The two cars collided and then hit a third car. Eddins said one driver was injured but already has ben released from the hospital.

There have been nearly two dozen vehicle accidents on Fountain Avenue since last December, with one resulting in the death of a pedestrian, Enrique Lopez-Nava, a long-time resident of Formosa Avenue. The most recent accident occurred on Thursday when a pedestrian was hit by a car.

Those accidents have become a major issue for those living along Fountain and on its side streets. While Fountain is within West Hollywood’s city limits, the residences on much of its north side are in the City of Los Angeles.

At a recent West Hollywood City Council meeting, Hany Demitri, the city’s principal engineer, said that city staffers are working on an interim plan to improve safety on Fountain Avenue. He 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.

However, City Council pushed City Hall to quickly implement some procedures to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety, which City Manager Paul Arevalo agreed to do.

Those measures could include moving 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.

  1. For those suggesting one lane in each direction, that’s known as a “road diet”. That’s been tried in s few places in the city of LA. Not only did traffic get considerably worse, there was significant public resentment which has led to the restoration of traffic lanes on many of the streets. There’s an ongoing recall campaign for the councilman who pushed for the diet. One would think the West Hollywood council keeps this in mind with their recommendations.

  2. Lots of hand wringing and concern over something that has been happening for decades but only now is being given attention. Fountain is the only east-west street that moves quickly enough to be a viable alternative to Sunset or SMB. To choke it off would be a mistake. I’ve always thought that parking should be removed permanently from the portions of the street that jut out to impede 2-lane traffic. The loss of a few parking spaces is worth the sacrifice. The alternative is to make Fountain one lane in each direction with a center lane for left turns and no parking where the road narrows. Dodging cars that suddenly stop to turn left (Uber/Lyft the worst) or going around the one car parked where it shouldn’t be parked contribute to the problems. And how many accidents are caused by pedestrians running into traffic to cross the street? How many are caused by cars trying to turn left onto fountain from one of the small residential north/south cross streets without a signal? They can’t see into traffic because of parked cars so they nose into a lane of traffic causing even more dodging. Oh, and bicycles? I have yet to see one obey traffic signs/signals and a slow moving bicycle in a car traffic lane contributes to the problem and is dangerous for everyone.

  3. Let’s face it, the only way to solve the issue is to make Fountain one lane in each direction, with a turn lane down the center. The rampant jaywalking, plethora of cyclists, narrow sidewalks, and inconsistent parking restrictions – combined with reckless, speeding, and distracted drivers – guarantee non-stop accidents. I hate to advocate for such a drastic change, but why work TOWARD accommodating a dangerous, overcrowded, over-traveled street? At the end of the day, I have a feeling the streamlining would only improve the flow.

  4. Kimberly: Unfortunately this is not your hood so even though you may ride a bike you don’t have the benefit of knowing what is going on with Fountain on a daily basis. The myopia and entitlement of cyclists that demand they be there because cycling has its benefits is rather akin to madness and knowingly putting one’s self in the path of unnecessary harm.
    because the city decided to provide sharrows after do good bicycle enthusiasts and their coalition. It’s excessively dumb.

    Making Fountain safe for vehicles and pedestrians crossing is the first concern. Bicycling, with all its benefits may have been better served to find their own safe route on Willoughby, or other east west streets, rather than thinking vehicle drivers could somehow be magically be converted to riding bikes in place of vehicles. The number one interest of clear thinking people would consciously appear to be a safe conveyance and finding the most reasonable access to that would be beneficial to all.

  5. Motorists mistakenly think Fountain is an expressway. In fact, it is a designated bike route and has been marked with sharrows. These icons are painted in the roadway to the left of where a parked car’s door (thrown open with no regard for possible passing cyclists) likely will each. Bicycles are in fact allowed to take the entire lane wherever the roadway is too narrow to allow them to ride safely far enough to the right to permit cars to safely pass them. Motorists in a hurry should not weave down Fountain, they should select wider thoroughfares.

  6. @CM John D’Amico: With all due respect several points in your post are troubling.

    1. Timeline appears to be several months ago until spring 2018. Not efficient.
    2. What is the showing of effectiveness of radar speed signs & message boards?
    3. Traffic consultants involved looking at many modifications but not focusing of exactly what
    has changed in the equation on a previously effective roadway pre cell phone era.
    4. Meetings, meetings meetings and more hired consultants.

    The city transportation department should possess the knowledge to remedy all traffic issues. They are highly paid but seemingly less resourceful and frequently need to depend on outside consultants.

    The major issues that appear to have made this roadway dangerous is SPEED, LACK OF ATTENTION through TEXTING & PHONE USE preventing full attention to the task of driving, taking into account all the moving parts a driver must consider and again SPEED coupled with RECKLESS DRIVING because drivers are impatient.

    SUGGESTION: While these deliberations are percolating at City Hall, please hire some old fashioned motorcycle cops with radar guns. Make it known that this type of negligent driving will not be tolerated in WH. They should also observe the Jay Walkers and ticket them accordingly. All those that receive tickets should be required to go to safe driving courses which should not offset any increase in their insurance premiums.

    Meanwhile please show the public itemized expenditures of the SM Blvd Crosswalk Rehabilitation.

  7. Thanks Hank. CM Meister and I, along w the rest of the CCounil are continuing to work on this since our months ago public meeting. Today LA Councilmember Ru’s office contacted me and is interested in helping. Our intent is not to slow traffic below the posted limits but to make the street safer given our current laws and limits. Here’s what we have done to date with more to come.

    Please see the summary below:

    · The Department of Public Works has purchased and installed 4 radar speed signs and 2 message boards. The locations for the signs were coordinated with the Sheriff based on collision data. 4 more radar signs will be installed in February / March 2018. The signs and message boards have proved effective so far in slowing down some drivers.
    · Two City consultants have completed a study of recommended improvements and enhancements to pedestrian and vehicular safety. The findings will be presented to Council in February 2018.
    · The traffic consultants have addressed in their comprehensive evaluation the potential for new traffic signals, turn restrictions, sidewalk bulb-outs, high visibility crosswalks, and other strategies to slow down vehicular traffic and enhance pedestrian safety.
    · Preliminary findings and recommendations were vetted through the Ad Hoc Joint Safety Sub-Committee on December 20th and will be discussed in greater detail with the Transportation Commission later this month and the Public Safety Commission in January 2018.
    · Based on the analysis and recommendations from Council, the chosen measures will be advertised for construction in Spring 2018.

    If you or residents (others) have questions please give me a call at city hall 323.848.6460 or on my mobile 310.498.5783.

    Thanks. CM John D’Amico.

  8. Something needs to done about Fountain Ave. There is no reason there is only one traffic lane eastbound most of the day until one reaches Gardner. Besides widening the sidewalks another lane should be added. This could be achieved by imminent domain on both sides of the street taking a portion of front yards on all properties. It’s a drastic endeavor but one that is sorely needed.

    Currently one has to weave in and out of traffic in order to keep moving especially at intersections where cars are turning left. Additionally we need more motor officers. I believe the city only has one or two. And are the sheriffs unaware those that might be intoxicated late at night avoid Sunset and Santa Monica and instead use Fountain Ave. to transverse the city.

  9. Does anyone have statistics on the number of accidents on Fountain compared to those on Sunset and Santa Monica, West Hollywood’s other east-west thoroughfares?

  10. I’ve lived here for 20+ years and all of a sudden Fountain is this dangerous road that needs immediate calming measures. Please. People are on their phones. Have the police issue some more citations for driving while distracted on the cell phone and you’ll see the numbers drop. Won’t cost the City a dime. End of story.

  11. Please don’t add mobile traffic warning signs. They just block a lane of traffic.

    Although you write “nearly” let’s say it’s two dozen accidents a year.
    That’s two a month. 35,000 vehicles travel Fountain daily. That’s OVER 1 Million vehicles a month. Is 1 accident per 525,000 vehicles high? I am certainly not pro-accident, but wonder if statistically this is worse than any other street.

    And I don’t support adding crosswalks. I WALK more than I drive in West Hollywood, and as a pedestrian, I am saying other pedestrians are lazy, entitled and inattentive. It’s like they never learned how to cross a street. We shouldn’t change speed limits or spend money adding crosswalks because a few people are too lazy to walk to the next light to cross.

  12. Anything regarding public safety should have an expedited procedure at City Hall dedicated to ACTION rather than constant studies and deliberations. Supposedly we are a city that can financially and logistically turn on a dime…… why are we wandering in the weeds?


  13. Sadly the city is 5 years behind the crosswalk updates proposed years and years ago. Seems like we took care of Santa Monica Blvd and then froze.

  14. SPEED

    All contribute to overrun roads that were previously safe for drivers, parked cars and pedestrians. Now squeeze bicyclists, who think they are impervious into the mix because they think they need to be there, is sheer insanity in a city that is watching from the sidelines.

    Hello City Hall “What is your Tipping Point” for the general public who is past theirs?

    Additionally these accidents will likely drive up the insurance rates of cautious drivers living in the vicinity.

  15. Traffic calming measure is the only solution. The collisions are now happening on a near daily occurrence on Fountain Ave.

    What many are not talking about is how narrow the sidewalks are on some stretches of it. Wheelchairs cannot even pass through.

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