By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
According to West Hollywood council members on Monday night, residents concerns about crosswalks seem more perplexing than solvable.
No one on the dais bit at the bait offered by the street activists and council candidates, that a series of pedestrians being hit on the street required a swift, comprehensive approach to keep the streets safe.
Jeff Prang put it simply, saying “I don’t think it requires a tremendous amount of research, and part of the explanation is that we have bad drivers and bad pedestrians.”
He said that pedestrian activated signals suggested might work, but not in all cases.
John Duran pointed out that two of the “worst” intersections in Los Angele rest in the city, at La Cienega and Santa Monica Boulevard and at La Cienega at Sunset Boulevard, so adding additional crosslights would create bottlenecks further snarling traffic.
John Heilman wanted those listening that a social media campaign will not be the limits of the city’s efforts. There will be a look at certain intersections where pedestrian activated signals would control all signals in the area to keep traffic running smoothly.
After hearing what council and residents had to say about pedestrian safety, WeHo City Manager Paul Arevalo gave out information to provide context to those who were looking only at anecdotal information.
As we reported last week, pedestrian accidents a at a low, down forty percent from 2012; he sought to put the anecdotes into context. “In the past three and a half years, we have had 71 accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists in the city. The peak year was 2012, when there were 21.”
He noted that most of the accidents happen at controlled intersections,” something he called counterintuitive, but has been proven by scientific studies.
So far this year, there have been five accidents, but only one in a crosswalk. That was he accident that set off the call from candidates seeking council seats to begin their public awareness campaign.
That group, called Cross Safe WeHo, has been agitating for additional crosswalk controls, handing out leaflets to pedestrians and, in a lapse of judgment, taped notices to city owned lamp poles – a misdemeanor (for which they were not charged).
The council Monday put $15,000 toward a public awareness campaign to promote crosswalk safety.