"I’m writing with some important news regarding the road safety projects in Playa del Rey. About two months ago, the City launched two different projects, both designed to improve safety in parts of Playa del Rey.
I said at the time that we would evaluate them and make changes based on community feedback -- and I meant it. That’s why earlier this month we added a lane back on eastbound Culver Boulevard. I have continued to listen -- and today, I am announcing some big changes in response to what I have heard.
ANNOUNCEMENT 1: VISTA DEL MAR
Two months ago, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (DOT) narrowed VIsta Del Mar from two lanes to one in each direction. DOT did so suddenly and without community input because they were told the City faced immediate and serious liability concerns from people who were being killed or seriously injured crossing Vista Del Mar, to and from the beach and free parking on the road. DOT was warned it needed to act before summer, and they also knew they needed to preserve beach parking to make sure everyone, from everywhere and from all walks of life, had access to the coast.
That move was incredibly controversial -- let’s be clear, most people hated it -- and I said that I would eagerly embrace an alternative solution that met the requirements of improving safety and maintaining coastal access. Today, I am very glad to report we now have that solution -- thanks to my good friend, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn.
Janice has agreed to create an equivalent number of public parking spaces below Vista Del Mar, at the beach itself. That will allowing us to address the primary and the largest safety concern, by prohibiting parking entirely on Vista del Mar. And that will allow us to restore the road to two lanes in either direction. We will do it as soon as the county is able to restripe its lots and create the additional public parking. On top of that, LADOT is going to make a change to the signal and the turn at Vista Del Mar and Culver Boulevard, and they expect it will have a significant impact on resolving the bottleneck there.
Thank you, Supervisor Hahn and LADOT, for helping us find a workable solution.
ANNOUNCEMENT 2: PLAYA DEL REY ROAD SAFETY TASK FORCE
Now, for the second announcement, regarding the other streets, the ones that are part of the Safe Streets for Playa del Rey project. That project made changes to Culver, Jefferson and Pershing in an effort to make the community safer and more walkable. For those areas, I am forming a “Playa del Rey Road Safety Task Force” to evaluate and make recommendations regarding the project and its impact on those streets and on the surrounding neighborhood. The task force will be composed of neighbors who have supported the project and were engaged from the start, neighbors who have criticized the project and were unaware of it before, local small business people, and safe streets advocates. It will also welcome the input of other residents, of commuters, and agencies or entities that can bring expertise or financial resources to the table -- such as the County or some of the South Bay cities. I will ask the Task Force to make short-term and long-term recommendations, based on data, community feedback, and available financial resources. I will ask them to make a report 90 days after we make the changes on Vista Del Mar
The primary metric for the Task Force needs to be the most important one -- safety. Our neighborhoods in Los Angeles are suffering from an epidemic of traffic collisions. In April, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck told us more people had been killed this year by automobile collisions than by gang violence. The number one cause of death for children under the age of 14 in Los Angeles County is automobile collisions. This status quo is absolutely unacceptable, and slowing speeds through our residential and commercial neighborhoods is the most important and significant thing we can do to address that. The City absolutely must take the steps necessary to implement Mayor Garcetti’s executive order and eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025.
There is no precise science or single toolkit to guide how we make our neighborhoods safe. It means trying things, taking risks, and often making tough decisions. I’ve never been afraid to do that -- and I wouldn’t be much of a public servant if I were.
But I also wouldn’t be much of a public servant if I did not listen to the people I represent, if I were unable to admit a mistake, or if I didn’t try to fix those mistakes. And that’s what I am doing now. If you are one of the many people who were inconvenienced, who were late to work, or who missed a bedtime story with your toddler, I am truly sorry. We are doing our best to make this right.
I cannot promise that city’s efforts to improve road safety won’t have any impacts on commutes -- speed kills, and we need to slow down in certain areas to save lives -- but the level of gridlock created by Vista Del Mar was unacceptable -- and now, thanks to Supervisor Hahn, we have an alternative.
I hope to have an update in the next week on the timing of the lane restoration on Vista Del Mar, and of the formation of the task force. I look forward to sharing that information with you. In the meantime, thank you for voicing for opinions and sharing your feedback. I hear you, and I am proud to represent you."