West Hollywood has witnessed another tragic death of a pedestrian after a 21 year old woman was hit by a car on the Sunset Strip overnight. But as Weho Daily readers know, pedestrians and bike riders being hit by vehicles is a fairly common occurrence on our streets and those of neighboring areas. Numerous accidents occur every month. In fact, during the time this article was being written, a bike rider was hit on Melrose Avenue at Detroit (at 1PM).
While many people lament these tragedies, we also complain loudly about being slowed down by traffic on our streets. It seems natural to complain about something getting in your way. Isn’t it an obvious problem that needs to be solved when people are slowing down your drive? Maybe not. It’s certainly a worthwhile goal to reduce the amount of gridlock on our streets and situations when traffic is hardly moving. But we are much safer when we are moving on congested streets at about 20 to 25 miles per hour than we are when streets are wide open, and people are speeding around us even when we are not.
People are much more likely to be injured or killed in accidents at higher speeds. Some witnesses reported that the car that left a woman dead overnight was speeding down Sunset Blvd, and may also have ran a red light. Traffic wasn’t heavy, so higher speeds were possible. Another recent accident that left a pedestrian dead occurred on San Vicente, which is also a street that usually provides the possibility of driving over the speed limit.
According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, of pedestrians killed in 2007 and 2008, more than 50% died on arterial roadways (like San Vicente, Sunset Blvd and Fountain) that are designed to be wide and fast. They also state that eighty percent of pedestrians struck by a car going 40 mph will die; at 30 mph the likelihood of death is 40 percent. At 20 mph, the fatality rate drops to just 5 percent.
It’s not hard to see reckless speeding in action, especially on streets like Fountain, which is prized specifically because it is a fast moving corridor through West Hollywood. The speeding becomes especially alarming at night and on weekends, when taxi cabs zoom east and then back west to try to squeeze in extra fares, and relaxed and possibly inebriated drivers weave between lanes to rush to their next nightlife destination.
Our city is only two square miles in size… we can get anywhere in town in just a few minutes, even driving at 20 to 25 miles per hour. There really isn’t any good reason to have streets like Fountain and San Vicente make it feel safe to drive substantially faster. Our streets should be designed to serve the needs of people and residents for whom our city is an origin and a destination, not to speed along those who are merely crossing through to jobs in Santa Monica or Burbank, or to other destinations.
There are a wide number of options we can use to slow down the speeding traffic on our streets while still providing for getting around town at reasonable speeds. Improved safety might even come from something as simple as making people hit more red lights during times of light traffic when they might be inclined to speed. If we wanted to get fancy, perhaps we could connect radar detectors to traffic signals so that lights ahead of speeding drivers start to turn red more often. But there are also many things we can do without putting more red lights in front of people.
The Complete Streets movement provides a wide range of additional ideas that cities and states can use to make streets safer while also keeping the traffic moving. These “complete streets” are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.
Cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have adopted some form of Complete Streets policy. While West Hollywood has some initiatives related to safety on our streets, and has even recently formed a Bicycle Task Force, we don’t have a wide ranging, high profile initiative and policy of prominence and significance such as Complete Streets.
Perhaps it is time that we adopt a Complete Streets policy of our own. We can have safer streets that improve the quality of life in West Hollywood while we also keep traffic moving in ways that make sense.
There was an outcry for safer streets after a pedestrian was killed on San Vicente some months ago, but those calls faded away as emotions subsided. Will things be different this time around? Will the City of West Hollywood start to take serious steps towards fundamental changes to our transportation policy before then? The clock is ticking towards that next death. It will come. Who will it be?
West Hollywood cannot eliminate all of these accidents, but there is no question that we can eliminate some of them. And we can improve our everyday quality of life in the process. It’s time to get busy toward that goal.
Aid for Renters, Seniors, and Community During Emergency
WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood has updated its website with information and links to resources for a range of programs to assist residents and businesses, and they say they are implementing additional programs to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.
For the latest City of West Hollywood information, visit weho.org/coronavirus .
The City’s website features information about rental assistance and eviction protections for renters facing economic hardship due to coronavirus; links to resources for workers and businesses; and information for seniors to connect to services from community organizations and find out about basics such as current neighborhood grocery store hours.
There are also details about the Safer at Home LA County Order, which urges all community members to stay at home to reduce transmission of coronavirus.
As a reminder, West Hollywood City Hall is currently closed to the public and is suspending all in-person transactions. All public City buildings and facilities are closed.
City Hall will remain accessible for business and essential services with transactions to be conducted by phone (323) 848-6400 and via the City’s website at www.weho.org.
The City encourages community members to continue to follow @wehocity on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and turn on notifications for up-to-date information.
LA County Workers Cut Down Beach Volleyball Nets Due to Coronavirus
LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — The coronavirus pandemic is giving new meaning to the March tradition of cutting down nets … beaches across Los Angeles County are making sure no one plays volleyball.
L.A. County workers are busy cutting down volleyball nets across the Santa Monica, this only hours after California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay home to help slow down the spread of the novel virus.
The decision to take volleyball off the table makes sense when you think about it … everyone in a volleyball match touches the ball, and they’re usually sweating and perspiring, which is not a good combination when it comes to COVID-19.
Despite the “Safer at Home” order for California residents, people can still go outside to walk and get exercise … officials urged folks not to congregate at the beach, and now there’s no way to get a volleyball game going.
We’re used to seeing basketball players cut down the nets during March Madness … but that’s just another annual tradition suspended due to the pandemic.
WeHo JFS Service Changes For Seniors and Others Due to Virus
WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood is taking every precaution to prioritize community health and well being to respond to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The City is getting the word out about updates regarding services for seniors at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park and services available from Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS)
- JFS has immediately cancelled all activities at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park until April 10, 2020 as a precaution to safeguard health and safety and JFS will make assessments as the situation evolves;
- The JFS meal site will provide a frozen meal for each client coming to its meal sites on Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and the organization anticipates providing additional meals for clients in order to minimize client contact and support recommendations for social distancing;
- Additionally, SOVA, the JFS food pantry, located on Pico and Robertson Boulevards, continues to remain open for community members.
The JFS West Hollywood Comprehensive Service Center remains a vital resource for seniors and people with disabilities and it will continue to be operational at this time. Operated by Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), funded in large part by the City of West Hollywood, and located in the community center at Plummer Park, the Center is a one-stop source of support and assistance.
In response to concerns about coronavirus, JFS requests that community members contact the Center by phone instead of in person. Currently, case managers are reaching out to connect with clients and assess needs. For more information, please call (323) 851-8202.
For additional information about social services in the City of West Hollywood, please call (323) 848-6510.
For updates from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health about Coronavirus, please visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus.
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This Just In…
- Petition Circulating to Ask Judge to Keep Ed Buck in Jail
- RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic
- Koretz Won’t Back ‘Uplift Melrose’ Plan
- Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of Pedestrian on Sunset
- Beverly Grove Man Charged for COVID Relief Loan Fraud
- County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family
- Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day