Tragic Turn at the Hollywood and Vine T.O.D.

6_22_10_box1.jpgPhoto: Stephen Box

If Hollywood were to make a movie entitled "Hollywood & Vine –
Transit Oriented Development" they’d have to hire professionals to
manage the streets, control the traffic, move the trucks and make sure
the entire environment was safe. There would be a 1st Assistant
Director on set, legally responsible for the safety of all cast and
crew, a commitment that would include a safety meeting each day. It’s
been this way for a long time, ever since the tragic incident on the
set of "Twilight Zone" that took the lives of Vic Morrow and two child actors, Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen.

;

But
"Hollywood & Vine – Transit Oriented Development" isn’t a movie,
it’s simply real life. That means that there were no Teamsters on set,
there were no SAG or DGA rules in place, there was no 1st AD on the
streets watching out for the safety of the pedestrians crossing Vine on
Monday afternoon when a truck driver traveling west on Selma passed an
18 Wheeler being unloaded and then turned north onto Vine Ave.,
striking and killing a woman as she attempted to cross the street.

The
intersection of Vine & Selma is at the southwest corner of the
Metro’s Hollywood & Vine TOD, home to the W Hollywood Hotel &
Residences and the 1600 Vine Apartment Community. The new Trader Joes
sits right on the corner with huge plate glass windows that look out
onto the Walk of Fame.

The
south side of the building has more of an industrial aesthetic,
featuring seven driveways including an exit for Metro & DASH buses
on layover, an exit for Trucking, entrances and exits for customers,
for residents and for visitors. Selma, between Argyle and Vine, is a
monument to engineered conflictAs for the corner of Vine and
Selma, the cement is new as a result of the construction of the
Hollywood & Vine Fortress but the cosmetic repair of the sidewalk
failed to include any of the improvements that would demonstrate a TOD
commitment to enhancing the safety of pedestrians. There are no bulb-outs, no refuge islands, no ped scrambles, no perpendicular curbcuts, no preferential signalization, nothing that would support the anticipated pedestrian activity to be found at a Transit Oriented Development.

The
notion that the development of the Metro’s Hollywood & Vine TOD
should have resulted in traffic mitigation improvements that support
pedestrian comfort and safety with enhanced sidewalk and intersection
features is an old topic. It has been several years since
representatives from the LADOT, the CRA, the Developers and the City
Council staff attended neighborhood council meetings and heard requests
for community benefit improvements that included everything from
car-share and bike-share to delivery services to streetscape
improvements that facilitated pedestrians and cyclists.

Vine
is a shortcut to the freeway but it has an unenforceable speed limit.
Argyle is a shortcut to the freeway and it doesn’t have demand actuated
crosswalk buttons. Selma is an inhospitable industrial zone that has
just demonstrated that the movement of this many trucks in the
afternoon may be good for the employee schedule but deathly for the
humans who live in the community and walk the streets.

In the
movie industry, it took a tragedy to get the attention of the public.
It took the risk of financial ruin to get the attention of the film
studios. It took a personal safety threat to unions to mobilize and
demand protection.

On the streets of Hollywood, this woman’s
tragic death is a call to action. The specifics behind this incident
may be complicated but the fact remains, a pedestrian lost her life, a
truck operator’s life will never be the same, their families will
suffer and the witnesses to this tragedy will be forever traumatized.
This completely unnecessary death demands the attention of the Metro,
the CRA, the City of LA, the LADOT, the City Council, Gatehouse Capital
and Legacy Partners, all of whom share in the responsibility for the
impact of the Hollywood & Vine TOD on the streets of Hollywood.

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