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Tom LaBonge

LaBonge Wants Safety Study of Deadly Intersection Near Park LaBrea

The intersection of 6th Street and Hauser Boulevard just south of the popular Park La Brea residential compound has long been considered an inhospitable one for pedestrians. Residents of Park La Brea complain about crashes happening "all the time," and the wide four lane streets encourage fast moving car traffic. But following a fatal car crash on July 11th, City Councilman Tom LaBonge is calling for changes to the intersection.

Tom LaBonge provides some personal traffic calming during the 2008 "Positively 4th Street" ride. The ride ends at Park LaBrea, blocks from the July 11th crash. Photo:##http://www.flickr.com/photos/ingridpeterson/2698936429/##Ingipet/Flickr##

The July 11h crash was the kind that usually makes the evening news: A car runs a red light and crashes into another car. The force of the crash is so great that the struck car is forced off the road where it pins an elderly woman to the wall of a nearby residence. The driver of the struck car was sent to the hospital. The pedestrian died shortly thereafter.  The Beverly Hills Press has the full story.

While the intersection is signalized, it never had  automated red light cameras which were outlawed on City controlled intersections last year.

But maybe some good can come from the horror of July 11th. LaBonge's office is pushing LADOT to create a plan to make the intersection a safer one. A motion for the City Council calls for a traffic calming plan for 6th and Hauser that includes a look at bike lanes for Hauser Boulevard. The motion goes to the City Council Transportation Committee before a final vote in front of the full Council. At this point, there's no timetable for the motion.

"This is our opportunity to find new solutions to decrease speed here, add left-turn lanes, and possibly install bike lanes," says LaBonge. "The Mid-City West Neighborhood Council also has expressed interest in this "road diet," and it also has support from the Park La Brea Residents Association."

For those using the intersection, the clock is already ticking. Last year, after two young girls were hit crossing the street at the intersection of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Archwood Street it took over six months for a new traffic signal to be installed.  That timeline was considered a victory of efficient planning. The intersection of 6th and Hauser already has a traffic signal, so other changes could come even faster.

Full Disclosure: When I lived in the Fairfax area, I regularly biked up and down Hauser to the Ralph's and Union Bank buildings on the corner of Wilshire and Hauser and advocated for bike lanes for the wide street.

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