LA City Councilmembers Ryu and Krekorian are proposing a motion at the February 14th Transportation Committee meeting (headed by Mike Bonin) directing the LADOT to refine their implementation of Vision Zero. The motion would give priority to projects having the largest impact on reducing injuries and fatalities for all roadway users. Further, the motion would require the LADOT to validate the data it uses to determine what streets actually are most dangerous.
That means any “road repurposing” would have to address actual contributing factors leading to accidents, rather than using the current “take our word for it” approach that has resulted in dangerous conditions and gridlock on streets subjected to road diets.
To date the LADOT has focused on "pet projects" in select districts that appease a vocal minority of residents — roads that were never flagged as needing such treatment. Special interests and personal agendas have been allowed to drive decisions rather than actual concerns for public safety.
The road diet on Venice Blvd, in Mar Vista is a prime example. In the 11 years leading up to the Venice road diet, there was one fatality and seven severe injuries to people walking or biking along that 0.8 mile stretch. None of the contributing factors to these tragic accidents have been addressed by the road diet. Rather than analyze these accidents and implement real safety improvements fixing the problems, the LADOT chose instead to implement a road diet. They installed a road diet on a road with 45,000+ cars per day, in violation of their own standards. (The LA Complete Streets Design Guide states that road diets should only be used on streets with excess capacity and volume less than 20,000 cars.) The disastrous and wildly unpopular Playa del Rey road diets, defeated last Fall, had the same issues. In fact, in both PdR and Mar Vista, accidents and injuries increased after the implementation of road diets. Not only on the roads dieted, but on the residential side streets as well, as drivers searched for alternatives to the gridlocked boulevards.
Tomorrow’s motion states that going forward, Vision Zero should "incorporate a data validation process to ensure that the High Injury Network supporting data was appropriate and reliable.” Currently, data is heavily weighted in favor of pedestrians and cyclists, all but disregarding the safety of motorists. According to LADOT's Vision Zero website: "We also give more weight to counts of Killed or Serious Injuries among people walking or biking, so deaths or serious injuries at all intersections are multiplied by three, while vehicle-vehicle deaths or serious injuries do not receive a multiplying factor. For example, if an intersection contains one fatal pedestrian collision, two severe bicycle injuries, and one fatal vehicle-vehicle, the score would be 10 (3 for the pedestrian, 6 for the two bicycles, and 1 for the vehicle-vehicle)."
In the Vision Zero Action Plan, released in 2017, the LADOT states that "people walking & biking account for roughly 15% of all collisions". It’s not surprising then that Vision Zero hasn't reduced accidents and injuries since its inauguration in 2015 because the LADOT is only focusing on 15% of the problem! What’s more, the LADOT says "Vision Zero is an injury reduction strategy, not a collision reduction strategy.” And of course, collisions aren’t being reduced either. Vision Zero needs to concentrate on both reducing the severity of accidents and on the number of accidents that happen!
Ryu and Krekorian’s proposal would be a big step in the right direction, effectively putting an end to the misuse of road diets in our city. Please call and email City Council members urging them to pressure the transportation committee to do the right thing and pass this motion. Feel free to use the letter below if you don't have time to write your own.
COPY AND PASTE THIS LETTER AND EMAIL IT TO THE CITY COUNCIL.
I support Councilmember Ryu’s and Krekorian’s motion to require the LADOT to get smarter about improving road safety and I hope you will, too. This common-sense proposal comes before the Transportation Committee on February 14, 2018. It directs the LADOT to fix the most dangerous streets in LA, instead of wasting money and risking lives on pet projects like the disastrous road diets in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista.
Recent SWITRS data shows that in both PdR and Mar Vista, accidents and injuries increased after the implementation of road diets. Not only on the roads dieted, but on the residential side streets as well, as drivers searched for alternatives to the gridlocked boulevards.
Instead of these kind of dangerous boondoggles, Councilmember Ryu’s and Krekorian’s motion would give priority to projects having the largest impact on reducing injuries and fatalities for all roadway users. Furthermore, it would require the LADOT to use honest data to determine what streets actually are most dangerous. That means any “road repurposing” would have to address actual contributing factors leading to accidents, rather than using the current “take our word for it” method that has resulted in dangerous conditions and gridlock on streets subjected to road diets.
Please let the Transportation Committee members know that you want a smarter approach to making our streets safer and give the thumb’s up to Ryu’s and Krekorian’s motion. (http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2017/17-1137_mot_10-04-2017.pdf)