Vision Zero Painted Curb Extensions Come to Koreatown’s 3rd Street

New curb extension at Third and Vermont in Koreatown. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
New curb extension at Third and Vermont in Koreatown. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Catching the bus last night, I spotted some new street markings at the westbound bus stop on Third Street at Vermont Avenue in Koreatown. Initially I assumed it was some kind of bus stop treatment.

According to L.A. Department of Transportation engineer Tim Fremaux, these are striped curb extensions, which are part of the toolbox that LADOT is applying to Vision Zero Priority Corridors identified in the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan. Among the 40 priority corridors is Third Street from Vermont Avenue to Normandie Avenue.

Vision Zero
Vision Zero Action Plan priority corridors

Fremaux states:

We are experimenting with different designs, including some with vertical delineators and some with only raised pavement markers like in your photo. The goal is to reduce right turning speed and create a buffer between those right turning cars and pedestrians waiting at the corner.

The curb extensions consist of diagonal white thermoplastic stripes with some reflectors.  Approaching the curb extension, in the adjacent vehicle lane, there are new arrows indicating that vehicles can go straight or turn from that lane.

Curb extension on Third Street at Vermont Avenue
Curb extension on Third Street at Vermont Avenue

Third Street’s new striped curb extensions are somewhat like the painted curb extensions or bulb-outs on Cesar Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights. These interventions are cheap enough to be implemented quickly. Though Fremaux states that delinators (sometimes called candlesticks or posts) or color might be part of a future phase, they are not planned for Third Street at this time.

Right now there are twelve of these curb extensions on Third Street. They are located at all signalized intersections from Vermont to Normandie: Vermont Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue, Catalina Street, Kenmore Avenue, Alexandria Avenue, and Normandie Avenue.

This area has plenty of foot traffic and quite a few sidewalk cyclists. Many of the sidewalks are narrow, typically 6-8 feet, and effectively even narrower with street furniture, newspaper racks, poles, etc.

Curb extension at DASH bus stop at Third and New Hampshire
Curb extension at DASH bus stop at Third and New Hampshire

In my observations, most drivers stayed out of the painted curb extensions, though there were exceptions.

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Third Street at New Hampshire curb extension serving as a loading zone
Mostly I observed buses pulling entirely into the curb extension area, which allows cars to continue to pass in the through lane
Mostly I observed buses pulling entirely into the curb extension area, which allows cars to continue to pass in the through lane
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In some cases, buses pull over part of the way into the curb extension while still briefly blocking the through traffic lane
ThirdStreetparking
At Vermont Avenue, there is a metered parking space inside one of the curb extensions
Cyclists currently ride through the extensions (or ride on the substandard sidewalk)
Cyclists currently ride through the extensions (or ride on the substandard sidewalk)

The project has also upgraded crosswalks to the new “zebra” version.

New zebra crosswalk at Third and Berendo Street
New zebra crosswalk at Third and Berendo Street

What do you think readers? Have you seen these treatments popping up in other places? Are they working well? Or will they need more posts, paint, or something else to be totally effective? How are they for walking, bicycling or other modes?

 

  • Jake Bloo

    It’s a good start. It’s too bad it costs so damn much to do anything more.

  • Jason

    That one with the parking meter makes me even more dubious about drivers respecting these than I was going into this, because of the mixed messaging it sends them.

  • Joe Commuter

    That sure as hell doesn’t look like any curb extension I’ve ever seen before. If this is what passes for Vision Zero we are in for some bloody years well beyond 2025, unfortunately.

  • LAguttersnipe

    LADOT needs to go to the hardware store cuz they need new tools and a new tool box if this is all they got.

  • Joe Linton

    My guess is that that parking space will be removed in the future. That was the only parking space in all of these extensions.

  • Expert Blockotect

    It’s a start for sure, but as we saw with the original bike lanes on Los Angeles Street, not even the police respect paint.

  • Jason

    I probably shouldn’t have focused on the parking meter…these just don’t look like curb extensions. Put bollards up to make it clear that cars shouldn’t go in, at least.

  • Jason

    At bare minimum they need to put bollards up to make it clear that cars shouldn’t be there.

  • Richard

    Still no scrabble crossing?

    Also, has that street been cleaned in the last year? The area is filthy.

  • Oren

    These are not curb extensions. As Fremaux states, all DOT did was create “a buffer between those right turning cars and pedestrians waiting at the corner”. Actual curb extensions would allow pedestrians to stand farther out into the intersection, which would increase their visibility and reduce their crossing distance.

    Perhaps instead of taking out the parking meter, they should install more meters in order to fill up the buffers with parked cars.

    Exhibit A for why the Vision Zero budget needs to be increased.

  • Richard

    This isn’t Koreatown, it’s Little Bangladesh

  • Joe Linton

    My opinion is that it’s both. Neighborhood boundaries/residents/names change over time, but at least as of 2010, the region’s paper of record, the L.A. Times, calls this area Koreatown: http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/neighborhood/koreatown/

  • Richard

    The LA City signs disagree.

    But I would say that Koreatown extends even beyond what the LA Times map shows. Certainly down to near Pico between Crenshaw and Vermont(Byzantine Latino quarter not withstanding). Also further North along Western to Melrose. Further East to Hoover in the far South.

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