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LADOT: Good at Increasing Speed Limits, Bad at Installing Crosswalks

9:05 AM PDT on August 13, 2008

An article in yesterday's City Watch perfectly illustrates exactly what is wrong with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.  It seems the Department is nigh powerless to install pedestrian safety amenities, even when the funding is available, but can move with swiftness and dedication when it comes to raising speed limits.

The City Watch article compares two proposals for the corner of Zelzah Avenue and Kingsbury Street directly in front of Granada High School  Following a tragic pedestrian crash, where a student was struck by a speeding car; parents and officials rallied for a "Smart Crosswalk" to be placed on the intersection.   The crash occurred over six years ago.  The construction of the "smart" crosswalk remains incomplete with the new signals inoperable.

If there is one thing the LADOT is good at, it's working tirelessly to move more cars as quickly as possible.  A strategy which has led to encouragement of a car culture that clogs our surface streets and pollutes our air.  Yet, the LADOT moves tirelessly forward.  An LADOT proposal to raise the speed limit on Zelzah Avenue was recently tabled by the City Council after a showing of community outrage at a committee hearing.  City Watch explains the dilemma facing the city:

The LADOT pleads helpless in the speed limit raising proposal, pointing out that they merely conduct the engineering and traffic surveys that are required as a condition of certifying the speed limits, all in accordance with state law as a condition of using radarto enforce speed limits.

Which means, the LAPD can’t use radar on speeding motorists until thespeed limit survey certifies the speed limit, but the large number ofspeeding motorists “vote with the gas pedal” and the new speed limit isset at the 85% mark so the speed limit is raised. Now the LAPD can useradar on the motorists who are now not speeding because the speed limitjust got raised.

Meanwhile the intersection where a student nearly lost her life to a driver moving at an unsafe speed remains unimproved.

Photo: arkitecht/flickr

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