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David Ryu

Committee Approves Motion Directing LADOT to Further Study Rowena

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

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This afternoon the L.A. City Council Transportation Committee approved a motion (council file 11-2130-S4) directing the Transportation Department (LADOT) to further study the feasibility of projects outlined in the recent Rowena Avenue study.

A half-mile of Silver Lake's Rowena Avenue received a road diet safety upgrade in 2013. Crash statistics show that Rowena is safer, but some vocal stakeholders have pushed to undo the diet. City Councilmember David Ryu paid $88,000 for a Kimley-Horn study of cut-through traffic in the Silver Lake neighborhood surrounding the Rowena road diet. Safe Streets advocates are concerned that the study includes options that would undo the safety improvements.

Introduced in September, Ryu's motion would direct LADOT and the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) to report on feasibility and estimated costs of projects planned in the Kimley-Horn report.

Folks affiliated with Keep Rowena Safe were critical of the Ryu motion for not explicitly prioritizing safety. Ryu recently responded to this concern in a clarifying letter stating "any and all recommendations and/or improvements place the safety of Silver Lake residents first and foremost."

At today's committee meeting, public comment included nine stakeholders who spoke in favor of keeping the road diet - calling it "empirically safer," a "life-saving project" and a "really great success." No one spoke against the road diet.

Committee chair Mike Bonin questioned LADOT staff about the scope of their feasibility study and whether it includes evaluating safety. LADOT Assistant General Manager Dan Mitchell responded affirmatively, stressing that "safety is always top priority." LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds echoed Mitchell's statement, adding that making side streets safer does not require any changes to Rowena.

The committee approved the motion, which puts it in the queue to go to the full council. If approved by council, LADOT and BOE would report back in 90 days.

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