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Transportation

Rideshare’s Rise Coincides with 34% Fall in WeHo DUI’s

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by Ethan Ward, Crosstown LA

In 2010 and 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was making about 3,100 arrests each year for driving under the influence. Then, in 2012, Uber arrived; Lyft followed the next year. Suddenly, the number of DUI arrests started to drop.

By 2017, DUI arrests had fallen 32% from five years earlier. Though DUIs started ticking up again in 2018 and 2019, they’re still 30% below their 2010 level. (Coincidentally, 2018 was the year recreational marijuana became legal in California.)

There could be many reasons for the decrease, such as more awareness of DUI penalties, such as fines and jail time. Yet the Sheriff’s Department said rideshares do help.

“We stress to all of our community members the importance of using rideshare,” said Sgt. David Jennings, of the traffic division at the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Lancaster station. “There’s no reason why anyone should get a DUI. Anyone who is drinking should partake in those services.”

The department conducts law enforcement for various LA County cities – from Compton to Malibu – as well as unincorporated areas. Crosstown was unable to get reliable data on DUI arrests for the City of Los Angeles.

A spokesperson for Uber said trips peaking at prime drinking times, such as Friday and Saturday nights.

“Drinking and driving is 100% preventable,” the spokesperson said.

Studies conducted in other cities, however, have shown inconsistent connections between rideshares and drunk driving. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that Uber’s impact on alcohol-related crashes in four American cities had varying results. Other variables, such as city density and availability of parking, also had an effect on alcohol-related crashes, researchers found.

Despite the decrease since Uber and Lyft came on the scene, DUIs are still a serious issue here in LA County.

In LA County, almost 25,000 people were arrested for DUIs in the last decade by the Sheriff’s Department, averaging out to about six DUI arrests a day.

In 2019, 5% of the DUI arrests to the Sheriff’s Department resulted in injury or death.

Of the four LA cities with the highest number of DUI arrests last year, West Hollywood, famous for its nightlife, saw the biggest decline — dropping nearly 34% from 2018 to 2019.

Of the other top cities for DUI arrests, Compton saw the largest increase, at 120%. Lancaster, located in the Antelope Valley, saw the second-highest increase — over 20%. Both stations are addressing DUIs through increased traffic enforcement.

Jeff Yeh, a local criminal defense attorney, has represented numerous clients in DUI cases at his private law firm. He has even had cases where both his client and the person they hit were charged with DUIs.

He said that sometimes people were already out with their vehicle, and did not plan on drinking ahead of time. Instead of leaving their cars parked overnight, which could lead to parking fines, they opted to drive home intoxicated, instead of using Uber or Lyft.

Base fines for people arrested for DUI in California are between $390 – $1,000. With penalty assessments, fines can be even higher. None of this includes fees for towing and vehicle impound or someone’s insurance premium going up.

Shields for Families, a non-profit in South LA, has provided DUI prevention classes for more than 10 years through their Place of Family Program.

“[Avoiding a] DUI is like [addressing] any other substance abuse issue,” said spokesperson Leyla McGuire. “It’s up to the person who is going through it and what they want or don’t want to change about their lifestyle.”

How we did it: We examined Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department publicly available data for DUI arrests from Jan. 1, 2010 – Dec. 31, 2019. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.

Crosstown covers the neighborhoods of Los Angeles in a different way — through data — to help people make their neighborhoods and the city safer, healthier, and more connected.

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Transportation

Expedited Wilshire Metro Work Continues in Beverly Hills

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Subway Tunnel - Photo by Claudia Soraya/cc

BEVERLY HILLS — With the temporary, full closure of Wilshire Boulevard between Crescent Drive and Beverly Drive, crews are making significant progress on completing extensive piling work on the Metro Purple Line Project.

The City Council earlier this month approved the closure and a new construction timeline due to reduced traffic flow in connection with the COVID-19 emergency.  

The piling work on the south side of Wilshire was originally scheduled to last through August.  Under the current expedited timeline, the piling work is expected to be complete by early May.

“While we recognize this work is some of the most difficult and impactful to date, it is happening at a more rapid pace and will reduce future congestion in our busy business district when merchants re-open following the COVID-19 emergency,” said Mayor Lester Friedman.  “We appreciate the community’s patience as crews complete this complex project as quickly and safely as possible.”

Map of detours around Metro construction on Wilshire in Beverly Hills

The current work hours are in accordance with the approved Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and were not adjusted for this expedited construction.  The project does include new hauling hours between 7 A.M. and 9 A.M. and 4 P.M. and 7 P.M. Metro may work on non-religious holidays such as Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Father’s Day.

Soft closures will be in place along Wilshire Boulevard within the detour area and local access to businesses will be maintained.

This specially authorized Metro work may continue until the City’s local emergency is cancelled or within five days of notice from the City Manager or designee. For more information, please visit www.beverlyhills.org/purpleline.

Other Purple Line work underway this week includes the following:

  • Wilshire Blvd./Western Ave. – Tunneling Support and Street Maintenance 
  • Wilshire Blvd./La Brea Ave. and Wilshire Blvd./Sycamore Ave. – Hauling, Deliveries and Tunneling Support
  • Wilshire Blvd./Rimpau Blvd. – Center Enclosure, Material Deliveries and Underground Construction
  • Wilshire Blvd. and Side Streets between Western Ave. and San Vicente Blvd. – Instrumentation, Environmental Testing and Street Maintenance 
  • Wilshire Blvd./Fairfax Ave. – Station Construction, Hauling and Concrete Pouring 
  • Wilshire Blvd./Crescent Heights Blvd. and Wilshire Blvd./La Jolla Ave. – Utility and Tunnel Investigation
  • Wilshire Blvd./La Cienega Blvd. – Station Construction, Material Deliveries and Instrumentation
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Transportation

New LAPD Guidelines Put Pause on Towing & Ticketing Vehicles

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LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — Los Angeles traffic cops are easing up on writing people tickets and towing away their vehicles … and you have coronavirus to thank for it.

L.A. City Hall sources tell TMZ … the LAPD just issued new city-wide guidelines as a result of the state of emergency in California and because of what City Council has ordered them to do … vowing to not issue any citations or haul anyone’s ride away for a lot of parking violations they normally would.

For example … 5 or more unpaid parking tickets are chillin’, so are the folks who park in one location for more than 72 hours, and yes — any inoperable vehicles aren’t going to be touched either for the time being. Just so long as none of these situations pose a threat, that is.

There’s more though — the police department says rush hour parking restrictions are scrapped, street sweeping violations in residential areas are exempt, and abandoned/oversized vehicles or those that park somewhere overnight won’t be hassled at the moment.

And, for those who are behind on their vehicle registration or who may have an expired driver’s license over the last 6 months … you’re good to go too. LAPD will leave you be.

These are fairly sweeping changes amid the pandemic — and considering L.A. is such a huge city, it’s likely other law enforcement agencies across the state (and maybe the country) will follow suit.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Business

During Pandemic, Lime & Bird Pull Back; Spin Steps Up

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The scooter fleets could be stalled for a while during COVID-19 — unless advocates urge companies to keep them open. Image source: Derrick Pollack/Creative Commons

(Streets Blog USA) — The two largest micromobility companies are pulling their fleets in response to the exploding Covid-19 pandemic — but some smaller players are stepping up to provide citizens with the essential solo transportation services they need to weather the crisis.

Lime — the largest micromobility company in the world, with roughly 120,000 scooters in 30 countries — announced on Wednesday that it is pausing operations apart from a handful of cities in the Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Bird, the second-largest scooter provider with fleets in 100 cities worldwide, pulled back this week, too, albeit only in Europe, San Francisco and San Jose.

And Uber’s scooter division, Jump, pulled out of Sacramento today; the company did […]

Continue reading at usa.streetsblog.org

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