Eyes On the Street: Dept Of DIY Intersection Cameras

Department of DIY surveilance cameras in Silver Lake
Department of DIY surveilance cameras in Silver Lake. Photos by Don Ward

SBLA wasn’t planning to reveal the location of the Department of Do-It-Yourself’s latest street improvements: intersection surveilance cameras. But The Eastsider already broke the news that they are at the intersection of Reservoir Street and Coronado Street in Silver Lake, and that the city Transportation Department (LADOT) already has plans to remove them.

DIY Intersection signage
DIY Intersection signage

As readers can see from the photos, there are cameras (that have wires that do not appear to go anywhere) and signage that states “STOP – TRAFFIC CAMERA ON.”

As shown by testimony at the recent Rowena Avenue town hall, lots of places throughout these Silver Lake neighborhoods, along with many others throughout the city and the country and probably much of the known universe, are plagued by serious cut-through traffic. Perhaps apps like Waze are making it worse. Perhaps many drivers were discourteous before advent of smart phones. Hard to tell.

Many cut-through drivers seem to have missed the latest round of memos about Obeying the Rules of the Road. Shockingly many of these drivers actually do not respect stop signs. With LADOT and LAPD unable to curtail all the cut-through scofflaw traffic, neighbors are taking things into their own hands. When city departments allow neighborhood quality of life to erode, the Department of DIY gets involved.

And on the subject of video enforcement: at the city’s Vision Zero town hall last month LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds called for the return of camera enforcement, especially to curb speeding, as a relatively quick and low cost way to make streets safer.

What do you think, wise readers? Should L.A. bring back real cameras for speed enforcement? How can we overcome the political resistance in reining in law-breaking unsafe drivers? What should Silver Lake residents, and others, do to combat scofflaw cut-through drivers?

  • Asher Of LA

    There are two extremes of offenses:

    1. Flagrant violations, such as a hit and run, running red lights that didn’t just turn red, etc. These also tend to be extremely dangerous.

    2. ‘Small’ violations, that are extremely frequent and seen as “not really illegal.” Example: going 37 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone. These are arguably hardly more dangerous than what’s legal.

    The mass of motorists support, or at least do not condemn, the first class of offenses. The second class of offenses arouses the ire of motorists, because many of them do it, and the perceived threat to safety from the violation is small.

    Since people as motorists are a numerous and powerful share of the electorate, too much enforcement can backfire if it induces a backlash and they get enforcement dialed back, making you worse off than when you started.

    In that vein, the wisest move may be focusing on the most flagrant violations and punishing them, while letting the smaller ones go, at least for now, just as Vision Zero advocates advise for pedestrian and cyclist enforcement. Say, a stop sign camera where California rolls are not penalized, but more brazen blitzes through stop signs are (of which there were plenty in that video posted). I imagine virtually most of the safety gains are from punishing the flagrant violators, and the odds of inducing a driver backlash this way are small. Being so tough on drivers that drivers get your enforcers removed isn’t a recipe for long-term success.

    We’ve trained people for decades to think that minor violations of the law are okay, and they get upset, understandably, when that suddenly changes.

  • Derek Hofmann

    “What should Silver Lake residents, and others, do to combat scofflaw cut-through drivers?”

    Get the city to bring express lanes to the I-5 so people no longer have to cut through Silver Lake in order to avoid traffic on the I-5.

    Also, that so-called “road diet” they did is laughable–they didn’t make the road any narrower. They only restriped it!

  • Sounds like somewhere needs a good dose of traffic diverters.

  • User_1

    “What should Silver Lake residents, and others, do to combat scofflaw cut-through drivers?”

    Traffic calming? Traffic divergent? Speed bumps that really deliver a serious bump? It’s not like there’s no options. Getting the city to implement it is a whole different story. Doing the DIY project is good way of getting their attention.

  • neroden

    Yep. I really want to get the killer drivers off the road (which does not happen in NYC — really. Massacre a few pedestrians, the corrupt NYPD just lets you keep driving, no charges, nothing.) Ignore the small stuff.

  • neroden

    By the way, the Department of DIY is awesome.

    I suppose the DOT has to say that they’ll remove the signs and cameras… but surely they could make it their “Lowest Budget Priority”, the way many cities have made marijuana possession enforcement their “Lowest Priority”?

  • City Resident

    Automated speed cameras


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