West Hollywood has completed crosswalk safety improvements along Fountain Avenue at five key intersections — part of an effort to address traffic concerns on an artery seen by residents as a neighborhood street and by others as an alternative to Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards for crosstown traffic.
The city’s efforts have included the installation of high-visibility striped crosswalks in October 2018 at Fountain’s intersections with North Harper Avenue, Havenhurst Drive, North Hayworth Avenue, North Formosa Avenue and North Detroit Street.
This month, the city added new flashing pedestrian warning lights that assist pedestrians with visibility when using crosswalks and help stop traffic along Fountain Avenue for safe crossing. New lighting is installed on the edges of yellow, diamond-shaped pedestrian warning signs. Bright lights facing traffic lanes have been embedded in the roadway, forming a visual line along the perimeter of each crosswalk. Lighting is activated by push buttons located at poles along the curbside step-off points for each crosswalk and flashes rapidly during the duration of pedestrian crossing.
The crosswalks feature small refuge islands in the center of the roadway in order to reduce the exposure of pedestrians crossing and to increase motorist awareness of pedestrians crossing. The islands are marked with bright yellow paddle signs, which face lanes of traffic.
Additional safety treatments include bulb-outs at intersection corners to reduce crossing distances and enhance pedestrian safety, as well as selected right-turn-only signs in order to reduce potential conflict points. In addition, trailer-mounted electronic signs have been placed at key locations within the city to encourage drivers to slow down and abide by posted speed limits. Speed radar feedback signs have also been installed near Sweetzer Avenue, Fairfax Avenue, Gardner Street and Detroit Street. The city will evaluate these new improvements to determine their effectiveness in reducing vehicle speeds and accident rates. Pending the results of the testing phase, the striped bulb-outs and refuge islands may be replaced with permanent concrete fixtures.
This crosswalk improvement effort is part of the effort to explore a mix of measures to address safety in a densely populated city where the mix of dense vehicular traffic and pedestrians in close proximity is an ongoing challenge. These enhanced crosswalks join a variety of improvements as part of a comprehensive plan developed by the city to improve pedestrian safety that focuses on engineering, enforcement and education.
In February 2019, the city’s contracted Parking Enforcement personnel began monitoring major intersections during commute hours and are issuing citations to drivers who block intersections or crosswalk areas. The aim is to help ease bottlenecks at intersections during rush-hour traffic and to increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
The city also installed several new signalized pedestrian crosswalks along Santa Monica Boulevard and has installed solar-powered radar speed indicator signs along major corridors in order to remind drivers to drive within the speed limit. Striping improvements were also made at the Fountain and La Brea Avenue intersection to improve traffic circulation and increase the length of the left turn pocket in the eastbound direction in order to accommodate more vehicles.