Rowena Avenue Report: Ryu Motion, NC Meeting Tonight, Crash Nearby Last Night

Silver Lake's Rowena Avenue. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Silver Lake's Rowena Avenue. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

In recent days, there have been a couple of new developments regarding the road diet that has improved safety on Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake.

Background

A half-mile stretch of Silver Lake’s Rowena Avenue received a road diet in 2013, reducing travel lanes and adding bike lanes. Though the reconfiguration improved safety on Rowena, it has drawn criticism from some Silver Lake residents, including some leaders of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. These traffic safety deniers blame the Rowena road diet for cut-through traffic on adjacent parallel streets (this cut-through traffic existed before the diet – and it may have gotten worse), though the critics have opposed LADOT proposals to calm those adjacent streets.

L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu commissioned a study of traffic in the area. Ryu’s $88,000 Kimley-Horn “Rowena Avenue, Waverly Drive, Angus Street Cut Through Traffic Study” was completed in May, 2018, and released to the public in August. The study found that Rowena is safer since the road diet. The study recommends improvements to calm traffic on adjacent cut-through streets. It also includes several scenarios for undoing the road diet.

SLNC Meeting Tonight

The agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council includes a motion to allocate $300 to fund a community meeting on the Kimley-Horn study. Safe streets advocates are planning to attend and speak in support of Rowena’s road diet safety improvements. The SLNC meeting will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at Ivanhoe Elementary School at 2828 Herkimer Street. 

Councilmember Ryu Motion

Last week, Councilmember Ryu introduced a motion (council file 11-2130-S4) that, if approved, would direct city departments to evaluate the feasibility of projects outlined in the Kimley-Horn report.  Though the motion language is largely neutral, in the preamble, Ryu states that “concerns have been raised about the cut-through traffic on nearby local streets, particularly Waverly Drive and Angus Street, and the increased potential for safety hazards with cyclists and pedestrians, including children walking to school, parents with strollers, and joggers.”

If the motion is approved, first by the city council’s Transportation Committee, then by the full council, it would direct the Department of Transportation (LADOT)

  • to report to Council within 90 days on the feasibility of implementing the potential mitigations presented in Kimley-Horn’s May, 2018 report;
  • with the assistance of the Bureau of Engineering, as necessary, report to Council with cost estimates for each of the potential improvements presented in Kimley-Horn’s May, 2018 report.

Nearby Hit-and-Run Crash Last Night

Last night a car driver rear-ended a motorcycle-type scooter, injuring two riders and sending them to the hospital, with one reported to be in grave condition. The driver fled. Though TV news reported that the hit-and-run crash ended at the intersection of Rowena Avenue and Glendale Boulevard (the eastern end of the road diet), the impact took place a block north, at the intersection of Glendale Boulevard and Waverly Drive. The driver dragged the scooter a city block, then dislodged the scooter and left the scene.

Waverly is one of the cut-through streets where the Kimley-Horn study proposes safety improvements – the same kind of safety improvements that the road diet opponents have blocked.

Safety improvements proposed for the intersection of Waverly Dr. and Glendale Blvd. Image from Ryu report
Safety improvements proposed for the intersection of Waverly Dr. and Glendale Blvd. Image from Ryu report

The five-way intersection where Waverly, Glendale Boulevard, and Rokeby Street is known to be dangerous. LADOT already studied and approved a new traffic signal there. Ryu’s Kimley-Horn study recommends essentially reconfiguring the north end of Rokeby Street to be a cul-de-sac, which would make the five-way intersection into a four-way.

The details of last night’s crash are not entirely clear, so it would be a stretch to say that intersection improvements – whether a signal and/or other reconfiguration – would have saved a life last night. But the gruesome hit-and-run crime is a reminder of the need for keeping Rowena safe (and preferably making it even safer), and for extending traffic calming safety interventions into nearby areas.

Sign Up For Rowena Updates

Numerous residents and stakeholders have come together under the banner of Keep Rowena Safe. Interested readers should go to the group’s website to sign up for their e-news list. Follow them on Twitter: @KeepRowenaSafe.

Keep Rowena Safe
Keep Rowena Safe

 

  • That five-point intersection fix is something that should be done like yesterday.

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