Oh #%&@! Bonin Caves to Backlash, Announces Playa Del Rey Safety Un-Do

Say goodbye to bike lanes in Playa Del Rey. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Say goodbye to bike lanes in Playa Del Rey. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Earlier today, via a post on his website, L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin announced that the city will undo the remaining road diet safety improvements in Playa Del Rey, restoring car travel lanes on Culver Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard and Pershing Drive.

The ambitious Playa Del Rey safety improvements, implemented in June, sparked an unruly backlash from drivers, who filed a lawsuit to undo the safety measures, and began a recall campaign against the councilmember. The full roll-back follows smaller partial rollbacks.

From Bonin’s announcement:

The [road diet removal] move came at the request of Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin, who asked the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to immediately begin restoring lanes that had been removed on Culver Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard and Pershing Drive — and to install new, strong traffic safety measures to be completed over the next several months.

“This pilot program has shown us that lane reductions are not the right approach in Playa del Rey, but we can and will find a way to ease congestion and improve traffic safety in this neighborhood,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We have the will and know-how to find smart, balanced, effective, and flexible solutions — and I’m confident that the new safety measures we are putting in place will help us accomplish those goals.”

The new safety measures include new crosswalks with flashing beacons to better protect pedestrians; “speed tables” that prompt vehicles to reduce speed at intersections; speed feedback signs that notify drivers when they have exceeded posted limits; “pedestrian head start” signals that allow people on foot to enter crosswalks at intersections before vehicles are allowed to make turns; and traffic signals that will be adjusted to require drivers to slow down as they approach downtown Playa del Rey from Culver Boulevard.

Bonin tried to put the retreat in a good light by announcing the following safety features to be implemented in Playa Del Rey:

  • Speed Feedback Signs – LADOT will place speed feedback signs on Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive, notifying drivers when they have exceeded the speed limit.
  • Flashing Beacon Crosswalks – LADOT will add flashing beacons to the crosswalk at Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive to better protect pedestrians as they cross the street.
  • New Crosswalks – LADOT will install new flashing beacon crosswalks at Culver Boulevard and Earldom Avenue and at Pershing Drive and Rees.
  • Speed Tables – LADOT will install speed tables at crosswalks to slow speeding traffic and protect pedestrians.
  • “Rest in Red” Signals – The traffic signal at Culver and Nicholson and Culver and Vista Del Mar will be adjusted to require drivers to slow their speed as they approach downtown Playa del Rey from Culver Boulevard. “Rest in red” settings will also be applied to signals at Pershing and Manitoba, Pershing and Westchester Parkway, Culver and Vista Del Mar and Culver and Nicholson.
  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals – Commonly referred to as “pedestrian head start” signals, crossing signals will be adjusted to allow pedestrians to enter crosswalks at intersections before vehicles are allowed to make their turns. This will occur at Pershing and Manchester, Pershing and Manitoba, and Pershing and Westchester Parkway.
  • The Mayor and Councilmember will work together to identify funding to expedite installation of new pedestrian-activated signals at intersections that include Culver and Earldom, Culver and Pershing, and Pershing and Rees. Mayor Garcetti said he would direct the LAPD to step up speed enforcement in the area, and City officials will work with state officials to explore ways to lower automobile speed through the Ballona Wetlands.

In addition Bonin pledges to enhance downtown Playa Del Rey with “additional parking, wider sidewalks, art work, lighting and more.”

Bonin does not announce it explicitly, but the bike lanes currently on these streets will be eliminated by undoing the road diets.

For many years, Bonin has been among the strongest L.A. City Council voices for livability, traffic safety, and multi-modal mobility. SBLA acknowledged Bonin’s exemplary leadership with a recent Streetsie award. Bonin has displayed extraordinary courage in supporting far-reaching countywide, citywide, and local mobility efforts. From Vision Zero to Mobility Plan 2035 to Mar Vista to Playa Del Rey, Bonin has championed important far-sighted projects, programs, policies, and plans.

While cyclists and safety advocates are expressing their disappointment with Bonin’s capitulation today, it will be difficult to find a more progressive and visionary politician than Mike Bonin.

 

  • Matti Paul

    Wrong. Much of Los Angeles, as we know it today, developed after the advent of the car. The vast size and single-minded layout of our city is largely a result of our historic focus on automobiles.

  • Matti Paul

    It looks like this already, without the cyclists. Do you live in Los Angeles?

  • D Man

    It is very true. The Larsen lawsuit identified the names of the LADOT officials, the dates of the emails and the exact language of the emails verbatim. The Larsen’s took their depositions and obtained the emails in discovery.

    1. Brian Gallagher, Senior Traffic Engineer, 6/14/13, “Install new midblock traffic signal next to Dockweiler Beach on Vista Del Mar….”

    2. Selwyn Hollins, Executive Officer LADOT Operations, 6/14/13, in an email to Darren Powell, Office of Cheif Legislative Analyst for Mike Bonin, conveyed Mr. Gallagher’s recommendation.

    3. Rudy Guevara to Norma Kulla, Senior Counsel for Councilmember Bonin, 6/1/13, “we can’t be exposed to more liability and we don’t want to encourage pedestrians to cross or make u-turns.”

    You need to stop believing whatever you read on Streetsblog as it is all propaganda.

  • D Man

    He did it under the guise of a “pilot program.” That also led to him not doing any studies – as recommended by the USDOT and LADOT before any road diet – and it now cost us Millions of Dollars changing the road three times. Bonin is an idiot.

  • Jason

    If Streetsblog is so awful then why do you hang out here?

  • Jason

    That’s great for people who need to go those specific routes, but doesn’t do much good for everyone else.

  • D Man

    To correct all of the propaganda and convey a viewpoint that is based in reality and fact. The comment above about the LADOT recommendations in 2013 is a great example. All the bike activists have created a lie that the LADOT did not make those recommendations when, in fact, they are part of the public record in a lawsuit filed because of Bonin’s utter negligence.

  • girb1492

    And that’s exactly why you need a car Jase.

    “Ass, gas, or grass, nobody rides for free.”

    Commuting in LA on a bike is as illogical as travelling from LA to NY on a bike. But if you need to go to NY and you want to get there on 19th Century oh so green and wonderful technology start pedaling .

  • Vooch

    wrong

    SoCal developed around its InterUrban Rail lines.

  • Jason

    So driving on Ocean Park yesterday I realized that if you’re going to resort to flashing signals there’s a better way to do it. Now, granted, in instances like the one I’m linking to the reason seems to be steep hills that block drivers’ visibility of pedestrians (remember, street view cars are mounted on the top of the cars so the higher-than-normal vantage point can make visibility issues look less bad than they are), but the overhead signals are a lot more noticeable than the ones embedded in the pavement.

    https://goo.gl/maps/2anPfti6rtH2

    The combo of a pedestrian sign and the alternating yellow lights is a lot more visible than the normal barely-visible-implanted-in-ground flashing lights. It’s also easier to register because an overhead yellow light is something drivers actually know, reflexively, how to respond to.

  • Alex Balcerzak

    They aren’t wetlands of old cause Howard Hughes’ past decisions. Secondly, I couldn’t care less what you think sense you think as you don’t know what stewardship of lands even is.
    Have fun never seeing the lanes expanded and forever being frustrated with them.
    -Peace

  • Chris Thomas

    Not always.

  • Chris Thomas

    Wow.

  • Chris Thomas

    Safety of cyclists matter a hell of a lot more than the inconvenience of longer commute times by car. I drive and bike and those who don’t bike need to see things from our perspective. Too bad Bonin cowered to selfish residents.

  • Chris Thomas

    Talk about a sense of entitlement.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

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

|
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 […]