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Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Movement can Coexist



At Weho Daily, we don’t think that increasing pedestrian safety has to come at the cost of slowing down traffic in West Hollywood. But we also think that traffic does need to be slowed down.

In a Weho News report today on the accident that took the life of Derrick Gardner on San Vicente, Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem John Duran, who counted Gardner as a friend, said, “Whenever we put up crosswalks , we may increase pedestrian safety, but we may slow down traffic in an already congested city.”

Clothing and medical supplies strewn about on San Vicente after an accident involving a pedestrian. The pedestrian, Derrick Gardner, later died of his injuries. (Photo Brandy/Brandy29 on Twitter for Weho Daily)

It seems natural to think of a traffic signal as something that is an impediment, and that nothing good can come of it if you’re trying to move quickly. But perhaps that is not the case. (And Duran did say “may slow down” in his quote.)

As we’ve said before, we think that more traffic lights in West Hollywood — and crosswalks of course — might actually improve and speed up traffic flow. That is, if they are put in with good computer controls and timing that has that effect.

Everyone knows that when you are close to the front of a line of traffic waiting at a signal, you’ll be moving a lot faster than people several cars behind. All the cars can’t start moving at as soon as the signal changes… only the first car in the lane. And then the next car. And then the next car. If you are 20 cars back, you probably won’t even make the signal before it changes.

On the other hand, if you have fewer cars stopped at MORE lights, then it would seem to naturally make sense that you could start more cars moving for blocks in either direction, closer to the same time. Then you would have more cars up to a faster speed, somewhat in unison. Admittedly, we’re not traffic engineers, but if true, then Weho might acutally increase the flow of traffic on our streets.

Along the same lines, we fail to see how it makes much of a difference if you insert a crosswalk and signal into a long line of cars that are already stopped in rush hour traffic.  That would seem to only insert a small, safe area for pedestrians to pass amid the lines of already stopped cars.

There doesn’t seem to be much point in keeping a street clear so that a car can make it to be the 20th car in line, stopped at the signal light just ahead.

And if our theories are flawed, which they very well could be, we say it doesn’t matter.  Traffic needs to be slowed down in West Hollywood anyway.

Derrick Gardner, the pedestrian killed on San Vicente, in his photo from Facebook.

To be fair, Duran seems reasonable about considering the calls for more crosswalks once emotions, including his own, cool down a bit after the unfortunate tragedy.

“I am waiting for things to cool off a bit before I consider some of the concerns people are raising about whether a crosswalk should be there, or if we should do something about traffic flow there,” he said to Weho News.  “I don’t want my emotions over the loss of a friend in any way color [a public safety/policy question].”

Let’s just hope that emotions don’t cool to the point where nothing is done and we return to the status-car-centric-quo.  There are things that can be done to prevent at least some of the tragedies that undoubtedly are going to unfold in our city.

How many Derrik’s are we willing to throw out in the road to die in the name of speedy traffic?  There are going to be other names in the headlines of those who end up paying the price for our traffic flow.  Will yours be one of them?  We as a community need to demand that measures be taken to drop the projected number, whatever it is, at least in half.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kiki

    July 12, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Thanks for putting the question out there to start a dialog, certainly City Hall is taking a different approach. Think it was last week the person in charge of the Transportation Division was laid off. Below if from the city’s web site and what the Transportation Division is responsible for….

    The Transportation Division facilitates access to and travel within the City in order to improve the quality of urban life for residents, visitors and commuters. The Division accomplishes this goal by implementing, maintaining and improving neighborhood traffic management, traffic controls and pedestrian crossings; monitoring and participating in regional transportation service planning and operation; assessing the impact of local development on the transportation system, applying measures and/or fees towards mitigation; and implementing plans for future needs.

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Art & Galleries

‘afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city’ Exhibit Opens in Los Angeles Feb 22



LOS ANGELES — LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (LA Plaza) presents “afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city,” an exhibition that explores the history and contemporary realities of the Afro-Latinx community in Los Angeles. 

It will exclusively feature personal objects and art from LA’s Afro-Latinx community and invites audiences of all backgrounds to understand this long-standing and vibrant history. The exhibition will be on view February 22 through July 20.

afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city is the first exhibition at a major institution examining the history and contemporary experience of Afrolatinidad in Los Angeles. 

The exhibition will be installed in LA Plaza’s 1,000 foot, 2 first floor gallery and will feature a recreation of an Afro-Latinx home, complete with personal objects, photographs, art, and digital media. 

“afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city is co-curated by Walter Thompson-Hernández and Mariah Berlanga-Shevchuk, and advised by Samantha Blake Goodman, La Mikia Castillo, Mike Davis, Kimberly Drew, Kelly Lytle Hernández, Tanya Melendez, and Kaelyn Rodriguez. The exhibition is designed by Aviva Rubin.

The exhibition will explore the presence of Los Angeles’s Afro-Latinx community, beginning with the pre-American founding of LA by the pobladores, a group of settlers of mixed African, Indigenous, and Spanish descent. It will continue with the contemporary experiences of residents identifying as Black and Latinx, in the many forms that can take.

The Afro-Latinx community represented in the exhibition includes Latin Americans of African descent, as well as those of mixed African-American or Black and Latinx heritage. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore cultural touchpoints that are assumed to be Latinx but are in fact of African origin.

Objects on view will include paintings, ceramic art, family photographs and video installations, as well as personal mementos, including musical instruments, devotional objects, clothing, jewelry, hand-written recipes, and a home-made plantain grinder made of washing machine parts. 

The exhibition also includes contemporary artwork and videos by June Canedo, Wayne Perry, Patrick Martinez, Carolyn Castaño, Nery Gabriel Lemus, and more.

When: February 22, 2020 – July 20, 2020 Hours: M, W, & Th, 12-5 pm, Fri-Sun 12-6 pm
Where: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 North Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Admission is free.

PHOTO: Esperanza Bandera with her mother Rosie Dominguez and father Rafael Bandera, ca. 1993. Courtesy of Esperanza Bander

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LAPD Scandal Opens Window Into CA’s Secret Gang Database



LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times) — Brian Allen was on the CalGang database, though he is not a gang member. In 2017, he was driving with a friend when police pulled him over for expired tags. A year later, Allen received a letter informing him he’d been identified as a gang associate.

Brian Allen wasn’t surprised when he recently heard officers in the Los Angeles Police Department may have fabricated evidence to label people as gang members.

He believes it happened to him, landing him on CalGang, the state’s secretive database of criminal street syndicates and their suspected crews that is in the middle of a contentious reform process.

In June, after a two-year fight that ended in front of a Superior Court judge, the Los Angeles city attorney agreed to take Allen off the gang […]

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Kenneth Anger Inspires Sunset Strip Pop-Up Art Exhibit



WEST HOLLYWOOD (Hollywood Reporter) — Jeffrey Deitch and Nicodim galleries will co-curate “Hollywood Babylon: A Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,” an art show inspired by the experimental filmmaker and author in the former Spago restaurant space in West Hollywood.

Launching with an invite-only opening on Monday, Jeffrey Deitch and Nicodim galleries are co-curating a pop-up art exhibit inspired by the work of the experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger, author of the 1965 book of scandalous film-industry tales, Hollywood Babylon . More than 25 artists will be included in the group show, which will take place in the original […]

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