Eyes on the Street: Vista Del Mar Returned to Desolate 4-Lane Highway

Vista Del Mar as returned to four car lanes in August. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Vista Del Mar as returned to four car lanes in August. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Last Friday, Streetsblog L.A. visited the latest iteration of Playa Del Rey’s Vista Del Mar. The scenic coastal route has been returned to four lanes of fast-moving cars.

Vista Del Mar will soon return to four travel lanes, with free parking at the nearby Dockweiler Beach lot. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Vista Del Mar in June, 2017, with beach-side diagonal parking. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Streetsblog readers may recall that in June, responding to pedestrian deaths and lawsuits, LADOT shifted Vista Del Mar’s parking to the beach side. In doing so, LADOT reduced Vista Del Mar car lanes from four to two. These safety improvements touched off an unruly cacophony of driver complaints, many coming from adjacent South Bay cities’ residents who could no longer use the city of Los Angeles’ Vista Del Mar as their own highway. Various commentaries opposed bike lanes on Vista Del Mar, though no bike lanes were ever actually striped there.

Earlier this month, LADOT announced that Vista Del Mar would be restored to four lanes, with on-street free parking to be relocated to a county lot below, at Dockweiler Beach. Nonetheless, the complaints spawned a lawsuit.

As of late last week, Vista Del Mar has been returned to four fast-moving car lanes. With no parking, no pedestrians getting out of cars, and lanes even wider than before, the deserted stretch of coastal road practically invites drivers to break speed limit laws. Though the posted speed is 40 mph, last Friday afternoon, several drivers appeared to be going much faster.

L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin recently appointed a task force to review Vista Del Mar and other Playa Del Rey streets. On the task force is a representative from Los Angeles Walks, which has committed to push “to create a permanent pedestrian facility on the west side of Vista del Mar …to make sure that extra roadway space will not merely be left to encourage unsafe driving speeds.”

The task force will also be looking into possible changes to safety improvements on Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive, where road diets remain in place for now.

Safety improvements, including bike lanes, remain in place on Playa Del Rey's Culver Blvd
Safety improvements, including bike lanes, remain in place on Culver Blvd though the center of Playa Del Rey’s commercial district.
A portion of Playa Del Rey's Culver Boulevard (through the Ballona Wetlands) features a protected bike lane
A portion of Playa Del Rey’s Culver Boulevard (through the Ballona Wetlands) features protected bike lanes.

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At last night's meeting, Playa/Westchester NC's David Voss arguing against LADOT's Playa Del Rey safety improvements. Photo by Marcia Hanscom

Westchester Playa Neighborhood Council Votes Against PDR Safety Projects

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At a standing room only meeting last night, the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa voted to approve a letter calling to “immediately reverse the lane reductions in Playa del Rey.” The letter was approved mostly as proposed, but opposition to the Pershing Drive road diet was removed. Responding to traffic deaths and lawsuits, the city Transportation Department (LADOT) installed four road […]