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Eyes on the Street: Angelino Heights Anti-Racing Roadway Redesign Nearly Complete

5:34 PM PDT on May 12, 2023

LADOT’s Angelino Heights Roadway Redesign project is nearly complete. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

This article supported by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney as part of a general sponsorship package. All opinions in the article are that of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of LABA. Click on the ad for more information.

This week, Streetsblog visited recent street improvements in the central Los Angeles community of Angelino Heights. For a few years, neighbors there have been working with the city and with the nonprofit Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE) to design and implement features to curb illegal street racing exacerbated by the neighborhood being the setting for the Fast & Furious movies.

The city Transportation Department (LADOT) implemented some changes there under the prior City Councilmember Gil Cedillo. When those modest interventions failed to deter illegal racing activity, LADOT began formulating new designs that are now being installed under the recently elected Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez.

In a statement to SBLA, Hernandez acknowledged years of dangerous Angelino Heights street racing and takeovers, then expressed "I’m glad that we’ve been able to partner with community members and LADOT to bring these much-needed street safety improvements to the area and I appreciate the hard work that residents, advocates and our LADOT staff put into this project." She added that the current changes are the first phase of this redesign, and that, with the city family, she is "continuing to work with our neighbors to make safe streets a reality for all Angelenos."

LADOT Interim General Manager Connie Llanos calls the Angelino Heights project "a perfect example of what can happen when government agencies, elected officials and community members work together to solve problems with creativity and collaboration." Llanos added, "we’re delivering much needed updates that will facilitate safer and more orderly driving after years of reckless speeding, and make this neighborhood a safer and more inviting environment for residents to enjoy - however they choose to move" and expressed gratitude for Councilmember Hernandez, her team, and the Angelino Heights community, for working diligently with LADOT to make this project happen.

In March SBLA reviewed LADOT's proposed street designs and found them wanting. When the initial plastic bollards phase hadn't worked, it didn't look like doubling down on plastic bollards would make much difference. Since that time, the council office and LADOT worked to improve the project, adding features that should be more effective.

The main difference is that LADOT added lots of 'wheel stops' - basically low plastic curb/bumps, similar to what's found at the end of some parking spaces.

LADOT rendering of Angelino Heights redesign - photo of March 2023 handout
LADOT rendering of Angelino Heights redesign - photo of March 2023 handout
Angelino Heights
Angelino Heights's Bellevue Avenue at Marion Park this week. Note the added black and yellow wheel stops, between the white plastic bollards.

In addition to adding wheel stops, LADOT expanded the size of some of the medians, and is adding speed humps, expected to be installed by the end of this month.

Below are more photos of the Angelino Heights roadway redesign project.

The city of Los Angeles' Angelino Heights neighborhood is located just northwest of downtown
Bob's Market is featured in Fast & Furious movies. Street racing film fans visit the location, often driving dangerously, revving engines, and sometimes doing donuts and other dangerous illegal behavior.
Lots of plastic bollards have been added to wider parts of Angelino Heights roadways where donuts have been common (note tire marks)
LADOT added medians including this mini-traffic circle on Bellevue Avenue at Kensington Road
The redesign reduced travel lanes and expanded medians along and near Marion Park, the small triangular green space at the intersection of Bellevue Avenue, Kensington Street, and Marion Avenue. This wide area, in front of the market, is where racing donuts are most prevalent.
The redesign added a new median space at the wide intersection of Bellevue and Boylston Street, a second location where donuts are common.
Bellevue Avenue is marked for speed humps, which will be installed later this month.
Along the west side of xxx
Along the west side of Bellevue Avenue, LADOT converted on-street parking from parallel to diagonal, adding about a dozen new parking spaces (increasing Bellevue's on-street parking by about 10 percent). This diagonal parking has the benefit of slightly narrowing the over-wide roadway, but the added parking pretty much precludes shifting space to other modes of transportation, such as adding protected bike lanes. (The city essentially refused to add any kind of bike facility on Angelino Heights' aging concrete streets, in large part due to a policy stemming from a misinterpretation of earlier lawsuits elsewhere where injured cyclists sued the city over unsafe roadway conditions.)
The Angelino Heights redesign includes no features for cyclists, and its medians push drivers into narrowed lanes shared with cyclists. Streetsblog observed cyclists cutting through median spaces, which is illegal (the above cyclist cut across a double yellow line) but it's what cyclists commonly end up doing in spaces designed with no regard for cyclist safety.

Post updated 5/15 adding LADOT statement.

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