One-Year Data Shows Mar Vista’s Venice Blvd Is Safer; Pilot Upgrades Will Stay

Traffic safety deniers are challenging Venice Boulevard safety improvements. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Traffic safety deniers are challenging Venice Boulevard safety improvements. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
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Today, L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin has announced that the one-year data is in, and that the Mar Vista Great Streets project on Venice Boulevard will remain in place. Bonin also announced some small tweaks coming to the project corridor soon.

The 0.8-mile Mar Vista Great Streets project includes improved pedestrian crossings, parking-protected bike lanes, a short stretch of buffered bike lanes, and a road diet lane reconfiguration from six through-lanes to four. Project construction finished in May, 2017. Previously released six-month data was largely inconclusive. Bonin had announced that the pilot project’s future would be decided based on analysis of a full year of data.

Bonin summarizes the latest news in a short video.

In the video, Bonin denounces the project’s traffic safety-denier critics “For sure the Great Streets project has been controversial, but a lot of the chatter about it online is flat out wrong. The data shows that the street is safe and that people feel more comfortable here than before.”

The city’s Transportation Department (LADOT) produced a 40-page report outlining the Venice Boulevard project history, process, and the latest data. Among the report findings for May, 2017, to May, 2018 are:

  • No severe or fatal injury collisions took place in the one-year post-project period – compared with two severe injury crashes (no fatalities) in the year pre-project.
  • Upgraded bicycle lanes resulted in a decrease in bicyclist injuries, and a higher proportion of cyclists are using the bike lane instead of the sidewalk.
  • There has been a reduction in the number of collisions due to speeding vehicles (though average speeds on the corridor remain about the same.)
  • The busiest intersection, Venice Boulevard and Centinela Avenue, saw a 75 percent reduction in collisions.
  • Traffic volumes returned to pre-project levels, meaning that the new roadway design handles existing vehicular demand.
  • Peak-period travel times are only slightly longer. City data indicates that for less than 10 percent of the day, current travel times are 30+ seconds longer than they were pre-project.
  • Some parallel residential streets are experiencing higher car traffic volumes, ranging from one to three additional vehicles per minute during the evening peak.
  • Combined pedestrian, bicycle, and scooter counts increased by 11 percent (981 to 1,090 per 6-hour period), though bicyclist counts decreased by 16 percent (483 to 405.)
  • Pedestrian counts increased 32 percent (437 to 577 ), with the percentage of females walking increasing from 31 to 36 percent.
  • Official state data (via SWITRS) showed post-project collisions increased by a small margin: 28 increased to 30. As mentioned above, severe injury crashes dropped from two to zero; fatalities remained at zero.
Mar Vista Great Streets crash data - via LADOT report
Mar Vista Great Streets crash data – via LADOT report

In the video, Bonin announced some additional changes are coming to make Mar Vista “even better.”

Future corridor improvements will include new left-turn signals, public art, street furniture, pedestrian lighting, Metro Bike Share, and LADOT’s one-year micro-transit pilot. To minimize parallel cut-through traffic, the city is also adding extended right-turn pockets on Centinela Avenue, at Venice Boulevard, as well as new stop signs on some residential streets.

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