Los Angeles Councilmember Chooses the Side of Traffic Safety

Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin sent a clear message to commuters upset about traffic calming projects in his district: "We don’t have to lose one more precious life."
June 23, 2017, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A bike path runs along the mouth of Ballona Creek (to the right), where it meets the Pacific Ocean in Playa del Rey.
Carl-Henrik Skårstedt

Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin published a letter on his website addressing the controversy over traffic calming projects in the Westside neighborhood of Playa del Rey.

A few weeks ago, the City started working on two separate but related projects to improve safety in Playa del Rey. First, crews re-striped Vista Del Mar to move parking to the westside of the road and to remove travel lanes as a way of preventing crashes like the one that killed Naomi Larsen on that road in 2015. Then, crews re-striped and narrowed Culver Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard and Pershing Drive to add bike lanes and make the street safer for all who use it -- especially people walking.

The effect of those projects, however, proved to be slower traffic—in some cases the delay was more than anticipated, admits Bonin, but that's when the calls and emails began to pour into his office. According to Bonin, many of the complaints are coming from people who live in neighborhoods farther south, "many of whom have made clear they would rather see a four-lane highway traverse our neighborhood in Playa del Rey." Councilmember Bonin thus provides the following statement in response, with a show of support for traffic safety measures uncommon among political leaders facing a backlash regarding congestion:

But I want to be clear about something: My responsibility is to my constituents. My responsibility is to keep Playa del Rey, and those who live here safe. My obligation is to provide for the residents of Playa del Rey the safe, vibrant and inviting downtown area that they’ve yearned for, much like Manhattan Beach has with Highland, or Culver City has with Culver and Washington, or Venice has with Abbott Kinney. We should never buy into the notion that convenience is worth endangering lives. It is just not true.

Councilmember Bonin also says his office will continue to work on the problem, and they're seeking constructive comments on how best to do so.

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Published on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Los Angeles Council District 11
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