According to Seleta Reynolds, who is the general manager of the L.A. Transportation Department, safety should be perceived as “our North star”. Between 2002 and 2013, there were more than six hundred and sixty-five thousand road accidents in Los Angeles County. This data comes from California’s Highway Patrol.
Some intersections are “lightning rods” for crashes – over five hundred and seventy intersections have higher-than-average levels of traffic accidents, some of which involve pedestrians. While some intersections are used without incident, a few intersections are really rather dangerous and feature very high accident statistics.
The downtown core is the place where the most “accident-prone” intersections are found. During a 12-year period, 600 pedestrians have been struck by cars at just under fifty intersections in the resurgent downtown area. This equates to one accident involving a pedestrian per seven days. Eleven people lost their lives due to these accidents.
One very dangerous intersection is Westlake, close to MacArthur Park. At this intersection, three hundred and forty three people were hit by cars and three people died within an area which measures only one square mile.
In addition, Koreatown, which is situated close to a couple of Metro rail lines, is a dangerous place for pedestrians. Four hundred people who were walking were struck by vehicles during the 12-year period in question. Eleven of these people died of their injuries.
According to Janette Sadik-Khan, who used to be NYC’s Transportation Commissioner, and now works at Bloomberg Associates, there is a misconception that people in Los Angeles don’t walk much. She feels that this misconception is a dangerous one. The truth is that a lot of pedestrians do get hit by cars, especially on some of the city’s most famous boulevards, such as Hollywood, Sunset and Santa Monica.
In total, three hundred and sixty-nine people were struck by vehicles at twenty-three intersections in Los Angeles. Eight people were killed due to their injuries. Another “hot spot” for accidents is Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. This intersection is situated outside of L.A.’s TCL Chinese Theater. At this intersection, thirty-eight people were struck by vehicles over a 12-year time frame. One person died due to injuries stemming from the accident.
While traffic doesn’t move quickly in this area, a lot of people traverse the area on foot and a lot of them are tourists, who are unfamiliar with the region. This sets the stage for problems. While this area does now feature more crosswalks and new traffic signal devices, which has helped to lower accident frequency, it’s still a dangerous place in many ways.
The consensus is that street design should be more focused on pedestrian safety. Ryan Snyder, who works as a transportation planner, as well as teaching at UCLA, witnessed an accident near the Ripley’s Believe It or Not building, which involved a female tourist who wasn’t paying attention to traffic because she was taking a “selfie” which featured an iconic Hollywood Boulevard street sign in the background.
Snyder believes that implementing extensions on curbs would help to keep pedestrians safe. However, this new design would make sidewalks bigger and would necessitate eliminating one lane of traffic. Los Angeles drivers would surely make a fuss about this. Nonetheless, the change would decrease the amount of distance that pedestrians need to cover. By converting the right-hand lane to a bike lane, increasing the size of bus stops or adding more parking, pedestrian safety would be enhanced.
If this happens, drivers may find solace in the fact that re-striping a road often leads to better movement of traffic. A couple of impressive traffic lanes often function more efficiently than a trio of “bad” lanes, especially when cities place turn lanes and also enhance the design of intersections, with a mind to reducing traffic accidents. Aside from Hollywood and Highland, Slauson and Western is a danger zone. This intersection is found in South L.A. and forty-one people were struck by vehicles over a 12-year time frame.
A lot of work remains to be completed in this area, according to urban planner Deborah Murphy. She advocates for pedestrian safety and believes that wider streets encourage speeding and other dangerous driving habits.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to get a better sense of what the dangers are. The changes which are proposed here are designed to help save the lives of pedestrians and drivers alike.
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