Silver Lake “road diet” would trim traffic lanes instead of carbs

Some members of the  Silver Lake Neighborhood Council want to reduce a stretch of busy Rowena Avenue down to one  lane in each direction instead of two as part of a so-called “road diet.”  The idea behind a slimmer, trimmer Rowena between Glendale Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue is to reduce speeding traffic and create a safer and more attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists, according to proponents of the road diet.  The concept  is scheduled to be discussed at a Wednesday night meeting devoted to a proposed 45-unit, Rowena Avenue condo project on the site of the former Coffee Table cafe. Neighborhood council officials said they hope the developers of the new townhouse project will support the reduction of traffic lanes.

The idea of  providing less lanes for cars and trucks, however, might be a tough sell for any of the commuters who pour down Rowena. At a meeting last year of the neighborhood council’s Urban Design & Preservation Committee, Mike Groszkruger, who has spearheaded the Rowena road diet, said:

People in Eagle Rock or Glendale might be upset about their commute route being slowed down.

The Rowena lane reduction remains an unfunded idea that has yet to be officially reviewed by city agencies and elected officials who would make a final decision. Under the proposal backed by road diet supporters, Rowena would be reduced to a single traffic lane in each direction, with a central safety lane, separate bike lanes and additional room for metered parking, according to minutes of a May 2010 meeting. Other portions of nearby Glendale Boulevard would eventually have lanes removed as part of the program.

Wednesday’s meeting on the road diet and the Rowena condominiums is scheduled to begin with a presentation at 7 p.m at the Silver Lake Community Church.

* Update: Elizabeth Bougart-Sharkov, chair of the urban design committee, said shrinking Rowena would create enough room for diagonal parking. Those additional spaces could be used to provide enough off-street parking for a small cafe and commercial space  included in the 45-unit townhouse proposal.


  1. Yes, please! This stretch of road has some nice shops, restaurants, and homes, but the wide street, the speeding traffic, and the relative lack of lights and crosswalks make it a pretty uninviting area to walk, cycle, or generally do anything other than speed by in a car. A road diet would be great for the neighborhood.

    • Aaron,

      Please, attend the Community Meeting tomorrow, Wednesday at the Silver Lake Community Church on Hyperion. A straw poll will be conducted to record the community support for this idea. I hope to see you there. Sign in starts at 6:30 PM

      • Please, MOST people can’t make the meeting, You cannot simply base your decision on the handful who can, must consider all. Those proposing this will be the bulk of who manages to show up, so any straw pole is going to come out in their favor.

        I live in Silver Lake, and I think this not just a bad idea, but an EXTREMELY bad idea. There is a contingent here who thinks everyone should ride a bicycle. I support encouraging bicycle riding, but not at the expense of reality. Reality is that most of everyone need to drive a car. This proposal, as so many others pushed by this bicycle contingent, is simply designed to interfere with cars to unrealistically try to push all people out — and that is not dealing with reality.

        Rowena is the ONLY route from the Hyperion area, where I am, to get to the I-5 freeway south and the 2 Freeway. It is also the only route through that area to any number of other places. Until there is another street through, the cars MUST go through there. I am not going to ride my bicycle on the i-5!

        I will also say, allegations of speeding through there are made up. I drive through there regularly, and if anything, the cars are going at less than the speed limit!

        • Anthony,

          You could easily take Griffith park to Los Feliz to Riverside to get to the 5 south.

          • Well, that’s sounds intelligent. Add at least a mile to the trip — is that the goal of this action, to add more miles driven and make for the maximum gas usage? And clearly you haven’t driven on Los Feliz at rush hour — a long parking lot that certainly doesn’t need any more cars added to it.

            Stop being specious.

        • Needing to drive a car is reality, but the idea is to CHANGE reality.

          Ask yourself WHY everyone needs to drive a car?

          Because we don’t have adequate public transportation in L.A. If we accommodate drivers more and more, no one will bother pushing for public transit save for the few that already are. We will continue the spiral down into more traffic, more smog, more demand for parking lots, and less efficient means of travel.

          Looking at the long term, the reality is we need a fundamental change in the way people in Los Angeles county travel. We need to move towards making driving less appealing, and demanding public transit more urgent.

          Trimming down on street lanes fits that bill.

        • Anthony,
          Hey, I drive; I bike. One of the problems now with Rowena is that it is primed to be a business district, but because the traffic is so fast, it is hard for folks to park. There have been too many accidents, including hit and runs on pedestrians. Rowena needs to be a slower street, particularly south of W. Silver Lake (where I’ve seen cars hitting 50 on their way to Fletcher). This plan does that and makes it easier for folks to access the businesses. With Ivanhoe School right there, we want Rowena to be a safe crossing for kids walking (or biking) to and from school. Driving Rowena at 30 mph is not going to ruin your day. Getting hit by a car does.

  2. This will ensure I never go over to that side of Silver Lake, traffic is already bad enough. And I live IN Silver Lake!

    • Your absence would be more than offset by all the new cyclists, pedestrians, and shoppers that avoided Rowena when it was a speedway, but start frequenting it after the road diet because it has become a nice place to visit.

      Streets are for PEOPLE, they’re not just “sewers for cars”.

  3. This is unnecessary. I walk around that area all the time. How does the width of a road affect my ability to walk on a sidewalk? This would be a total waste of time and money, and just make traffic much worse.

    • Wider roads = drivers feeling that they can get away with speeding without hitting anything.

      Narrower roads = drivers are forced to drive slower for fear they can easily hit something because they have less elbow room.

      • Drivers who want to drive quickly will drive quickly regardless of the width of the road, and “too fast” is relative to the road itself. Even if the overall speed on a narrower Rowena is reduced, there will still be people who want to drive faster than the pack and create potentially unsafe conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians.

        The only reason that people would drive more slowly on a reduced-lane Rowena is because there will be horrible, abominable traffic. It won’t be because people who tend to speed will look at the more narrow road and think, “Hm, perhaps for once in my lifetime I won’t speed.”

        • This is simply not true. Its been proven time and time again in transportation studies that drivers slow down when the road is narrowed. Wide roadways on the other hand encourage speeding, no matter what the posted speed limit is. Its psychology. On a narrow road, drivers feel like its unsafe to go too fast so close to the “edges” and slow down. They don’t think about it, its all subconscious.

          Another known traffic calming measure that creates the same effect is to plant rows of trees on either side of the roadway.

  4. Joanna, “road diets” usually affect traffic little or not at all. In fact, in NYC, where every taxi has a constantly-monitored GPS unit, many road diets made traffic smoother to such a degree that drivers got through areas faster while not having to drive so hard!

    Also, by allowing residents and visitors the freedom of choice to arrive by bike–and there are lots of cyclists in the area who would ride more often for local chores and pleasures if they did not feel forced into their cars by raging traffic–you generally reduce traffic on those roads.

    And of course, Rowena is a street, not a freeway. There is a perfectly good freeway a block or so away for those who wish to speed.

    • Residents have freedom to ride a bike now. Hardly any have any interest in doing so or ability to do so. Turning over an entire two full-width traffic lanes for bicycle riders that don’t exist and aren’t going to exist is wrong.

      Bicycle riding is good. It is to be encouraged. But it is NOT right to intentionally try to jam up traffic in a fantasy idea that people will park their cars and walk or ride a bicycle instead — especially on the only route to the freeway. If that theory were valid, none of the horror of traffic jams all over the city would exist, everyone would already be on bicycles.

      • Anthony–you’re missing a key to the long-term equation: Public Transit.

        Traffic is already bad in L.A. Right now, it’s about as bad it can get without more people thinking about public transit the next time they vote for city elections or write angry letters to city officials.

        If we placate traffic, we gain very little in the long-term in the way of bettering our transportation. If we frustrate traffic, people will rise up to demand public transit and we will have a better L.A.

        • As someone who takes public transit in LA, I sincerely laugh at people who think public transit is the solution to our traffic problems. Our PT infrastructure has been borked from the beginning, relying on above-ground buses and trains that plug up traffic on city streets. The underground lines are frustrating to get to if you don’t live within a 2-mile radius of a stop, and taking the above-ground buses easily doubles the commute one would experience in a car. Narrowing streets to make things more difficult for cars is NOT the answer. People drive cars here out of necessity — out of the way the city was built, and out of the way that our SUBPAR public transportation has established its running lines. Before our tax dollars are spent making things even more difficult for commuters and LA residents in an asinine attempt to push everyone toward a broken PT system, we should work on overhauling said PT system so that it is actually a viable solution for more people.

          Keep in mind — I say all of this as someone who takes public transportation and wishes I didn’t have to.

          • Amanda6, Alas, you should look at how it has worked in other places. It isn’t about “making things more difficult for cars.” It is about reducing the speed differential between cars, bikes and pedestrians in dense areas. This reduces accidents. Motor vehicle accidents accounted for just under 33,000 deaths in 2010. That’s a big price we pay for our love affair with cars. More importantly, while fatalities have dropped, pedestrian injuries went up by 14% in 2010. So we want to look very carefully at high-pedestrian corridors like Rowena. This plan does.

          • If you’re so familiar with LA’s public transit, you’re familiar with Measure R and the 30/10 plan then, yes? LA is building more rail lines in a shorter period of time than any other American City. In 20 years, this will be a metro oriented city, make no mistake.

            In the meantime, I think you’ll find that the buses are far less “subpar” then you are making them out to be. I commute from Downtown to Wilshire/Western on the 720 rapid every day, but occasionally take the Purple line if there’s no bus waiting for me when I get to the stop. While the Purple line is faster (9 minute journey), the bus route is nothing to sneeze at (17 minutes).

        • Corner soul, I guess you know nothing of bottlenecks — good thing you are not a traffic planner. I guess you also think we people in the Hyperion corridor can go to hell — because you seem to think as long as you cater to those east of Glendale Blvd., the rest of us don’t matter.

          I also think the people n Angus Street better be ready for a lot more people cutting through that area in an effort to avoid the jam up you are creating on Rowena.

          • I don’t wish ill of anyone in the area… I live nearby and I’m over that way fairly often. I just believe a road diet would improve the overall safety by simplifying the flow of traffic for all modes. Regardless, it will be up to LADOT and they are very car-centric, so any potential traffic impacts would have to be negligible for them to go forward with the road diet.

    • Do you think the “speeders” drive down Rowena for sport? Is Rowena a drag strip?

      • Funny you bring this up, living on Rowena (near Griffith Park Blvd) for about a decade we have gone through several periods where cars do drag race down Rowena every night around 10:30pm.

  5. I think this is a wonderful idea. Shopping or going to a restaurant on Rowena is very difficult now. I know in some other parts of town when they added angled parking to both sides of the street, it made it a much more pedestrian and business friendly area, and slowed traffic down a bit. And I have ran across Rowena too many times due to the small amount of pedestrian crossings in that area among the speeding traffic.

  6. Road diets are awesome for the neighborhood. The regulate speeders and provide safe left and right turn pockets that remove turning traffic from obstructing the flow. Less speeding traffic through a neighborhood does wonders for home values. Also, road diets provide bicycle lanes and safe passage for people crossing the street since only 2 lanes of cars have to be dealt with.

    Considering the benefits to the neighborhood and the added safety for bikes and pedestrians, road diets should actually be called ROAD BUFFETS! yeah. I said it.

  7. It’s a myth that road diets make traffic worse. Road diets have proven time and again around the world to be beneficial to both pedestrians and motorists. A road diet not only makes a road safer for cars, cyclists and pedestrians- it also improves the flow of traffic. Read about road diets before you decide: http://www.fresno.gov/Government/DepartmentDirectory/PublicWorks/TrafficEngineering/RoadDiets.htm
    Making the Rowena corridor more of a business friendly hamlet will be great for the neighborhood.

    • This is our viable solution to all problems along Rowena!

    • Your article is from Fresno, CA. Fresno lacks both the traffic and population density of Los Angeles, and has many wider roads to begin with that accommodate the little traffic they have. The photos were taken in broad daylight hours and show 1-2 moving cars at best. How easy do you think it would be to get a similar photo on Rowena in the middle of the day?

      • Actually Amanda, there’s a precedent for road diets on busy streets right here in Los Angeles. 7th Street, from Downtown to the RFK school in Koreatown underwent a road diet a couple months ago. It was converted from a 4 lane street to a 2 lane + 2 bike lanes + turning lane street. There has been ZERO negative effect in terms of driving time.

        People aren’t speeding the way they used to because there’s more likely a car in front of them, but the FLOW is much better now, because as it turns out, all those lefts people were making from the left lane were clogging up traffic, and creating conflicts whenever the drivers waiting behind them got frustrated and did a quick lane-change to the right. Getting those left-turners into the turning lane alleviated the problem.

        So no loss in average speed, better traffic flow, and two new bike lanes. Win, win, win. I encourage you to visit 7th Street if you haven’t already, and see for yourself what a road diet can do.

  8. “… less lanes for cars and trucks …” should instead read “… fewer lanes for cars and trucks…” Picky point, perhaps.

  9. Awesome… calmer traffic + bike lanes will be a boon to all of the shops and housing along that corridor!

  10. Hopefully funding will never be found.
    The same was proposed for Glendale Bl. in Atwater a few years ago.

  11. I’d like to see this on Hyperion, too. Everyone drives that street like it’s a freeway.

  12. Oooh, can we do this on Glendale Blvd. through Echo Park?
    Oh, wait, that *is* the freeway. Never mind.

    As far as Rowena, depending where you are coming from, Riverside is a suitable alternative.

    • Yes, DEPENDING. My only route to Riverside is ROWENA! So, don’t block me. This plan would be a disaster for all we in the Hyperion corridor.

      • There would still be lanes for cars. By adding a center turn lane you wouldn’t have to deal with vehicles slowing to make a left, and parking for shoppers/residents would become much easier as a result (it sounds like there could even be more parking as a result). Also, with bikes in their own lane, it would be much more harmonious for cars passing cyclists. Anyway, it sounds like LADOT will have to do a full traffic study before anything happens, and they are notoriously car-centric, so I’m sure it won’t be approved unless they deem the road can easily handle it.

        • Anthony,
          I think it will make your commute easier. Read some of the surveys. This should improve traffic flow. If we made 6 lanes, it would move just as fast with more cars. If we go down to 1 lane, it will move just as fast with fewer cars. People who don’t live in the neighborhood and don’t have to use this road won’t. It will be safer and the street, with parking and a nice buffer of cars between the road and the shops, will be much more pedestrian friendly. Businesses turn over so frequently on that stretch. It would be nice to make it easier for them to survive and to make this neighborhood more pleasant. No one is out to ruin your commute.

  13. I’ve been looking for a reason to avoid that stretch of Rowena, this may be the excuse I needed. I’ll just shoot past it on Hyperion to Atwater and San Fernando Rd. and avoid the east side of Silverlake altogether. Saves me the grief of waiting in a block long line to take a turn onto Fletcher in the afternoons….

  14. Another brilliant call from the geniuses of Silver Lake. Eat some fish because you’re all on a brain diet.

  15. It is fewer lanes, not less. When things are countable, use fewer.

  16. Thumbs down from this 30 year Silver Lake resident. I agree with Joanne, Jeremy, eKirby. This is the main route from my home (SW end of the lake) to Hyperion stores/shops. I could go over the hill, but with all the cars parked on the street these days, it’s slow going to impossible.

    • Hi Sandy,
      Please read my response to Anthony. This would be a great plan for our neighborhood in line with urban planning movements around the country. It’s about making communities more livable and with less traffic. If anything your commute will stay the same, but it might get better.

  17. When I first heard about this I thought it would be a disaster. Then driving Rowena I realized it’s one lane wide to the west of Hyperion. And actually one lane wide in the eastbound direction for a stretch just east of Hyperion. As long as plenty of turn lanes are left at Hyperion and Glendale, doesn’t seem like it would affect traffic that much. I’m not sure about the Glendale Blvd portion, though.

  18. I think its a great idea and I drive along there several times a day, often in rush hour. I presume it would remain two lane East of the lights at Glendale Blvd.

  19. Brilliant. Why don’t we just close all the streets in Silver Lake so that hipsters can ride around naked on unicycles eating granola and gazing at each other’s navels? But seriously this just means that more people will drive through side streets looking for a way around all the backed up traffic on Rowena. I’m sure all the nearby homeowners will love that!

  20. You “eastsiders” are a bunch of privileged whiners. I used to live on Auburn. Traffic sucks whether it’s two lanes or one. Look at the four lanes on Hyperion…it’s a mess. The only way to alleviate this mess on both Hyperion and Rowena is to tear down the Hyperion bridge. And if you people don’t know the short cuts in an out of your own darn neighborhood, that’s your fault. But that’s what Angelenos get for getting in their darn cars to drive five blocks. Angelenos are lazy. It doesnt matter anyway, America is collapsing, and Los Angeles will not be exempt.

  21. What a completely idiotic idea.
    Taking away lanes will not eliminate the traffic going through Silverlake – it will just ensure that there is constant gridlock up and down Rowena. Idling cars spewing carbon monoxide don’t exactly make for a more pleasant pedestrian experience.

      • This article is a one-sided conversation from a bicycle blog. The basic premise appears to discuss the benefits of having less cars on the road. They completely side steps the concern of rush hour congestion in favor of using the additional space of an idle road. There also appears to be an interest in the 45-unit townhouse, and rallying of troops in favor of the road diet.

        • If traffic slows from 35-40, to 25-30 as a result, there won’t be “idling cars spewing carbon monoxide”, and it will be much safer for residents, shoppers and the little kids at Ivanhoe. Rush hour congestion is only for a few hours during the week, and the rest of the time the street moves very fast, making it difficult to park, unsafe for cyclists (who are traffic too) and unpleasant for pedestrians and residents. Also, bear in mind it’s only for a few blocks (it’s like a 1/2 mile from Hyperion to Glendale), so commuters will hardly be affected time-wise.

          • Of course commuters, and everyone else, will be affected. Bottlenecks are a major cause of traffic backups, not to mention accidents! And this plan is to intentionally create a bottleneck.

  22. Sounds like a great idea that will be good for businesses, our economy, and overall environmental health of the area.


  23. I think this is a bad idea. I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1994, and the traffic has gotten progressively worse on this strip. This will not help traffic at all, nor will it help parents trying to drop off their children at Ivanhoe. More lights on Rowena, perhaps at the corner near Blairs, would be helpful. More traffic congestion, and less access is not helpful.

    • This improves access and safety. And it makes it much safer for the kids who walk to Ivanho.

      • My understanding is that the Rowena Road Diet would provide a dedicated turn lane for Ivanhoe and increased parking… This should significantly improve the commute to Ivanhoe by car, while letting other cars go on their way, and it would certainly improve the commute by foot!

  24. This is an excellent idea. The turn lane in the middle will help avoid people being blocked by those who are turning. The extra parking will help create a community feel and increase the likelihood of the little shops to succeed. Also, kids walk up and down that road all the time on the way to school. It is scary to think that if they got too close to the edge of that road and fell they would be hit by a speeding car. I would like for there to be a barrier (even if it is a parked car) to stop this from happening.

  25. So you want to approve a 45 unit structure that will increase traffic while removing lanes to reduce traffic? This math does not add up to me.

  26. All you nervous nellies and Chicken Littles who are so convinced that a Road Diet would rain down disaster on your neighborhood should do a little research before denigrating the idea and the people who want to improve the area. Road Diets have been proven to make life better and neighborhoods more livable. Hate to use the “appeal to authority” argument, but are you people professional traffic planners? Okay, you have a right to your opinion, but please, base your opinion on SOMETHING CONCRETE, not your closed-off speculations and unfounded fears.

  27. We’ve lived on Silver Lake Blvd directly behind the Ralph’s market at Glendale & Fletcher since 1994. When there is a back up of traffic on Glendale Blvd, which there will be if Rowena is cut down to one lane in each direction, people use our street to get up to Fletcher and we end up with a traffic jam. There have been times where we can’t even get out of our driveway!!
    The addition of the townhouses will only bring MORE traffic to that stretch of Rowena.
    This is a really bad idea!!!

  28. I've done some research

    Here’s what I’ve discovered from my “research” as a driver and cyclist for 25 years: having one lane of traffic each way, with diagonal parking, is asking for trouble. Ever driven or ridden on Brand along “auto row?” Motorists are blind when they back out of a diagonal parking spot– can’t count the number of times I’ve almost been rammed by someone backing out of those spots. So, I drive in the left lane to avoid that possibility. On Rowena, there would be no left lane, so anyone backing out of a spot would stop traffic and/or endanger motorists and cyclists.

    You want “SOMETHING” else “CONCRETE?” College Ave in Berkeley. It’s a good comparison if you’ve ever seen it, because people use that street to get in and out of Berkeley, just like Rowena is relied upon by commuters– and there’s gridlock on that street every day. The result is people driving headlong through a neighboring maze of sidestreets. Cyclists are crazy if they use College Ave, and they’d be crazy to use Rowena, so what does that accomplish?

    • That’s a really good point about Brand.

    • Sadly, your research is, shall we say, incomplete. Diagonal parking certainly has its drawbacks, but if cars are going between 25 & 30mph (unlike some of the folks who drive 50 on Brand), it is much easier for folks to back out. I, btw, have ridden my bike on Rowena many times. Not my favorite street because of the folks who race from W. Silver Lake to Fletcher, but not insane. That said, it could be a lot safer for all with this plan in place!

  29. Yes great Idea… because surely bumper to bumper traffic and wailing car horns in the new single lane will improve the beauty of the neighborhood…. what kind of idiot could possibly believe this?

  30. I agree with the anti-road diet group. Reducing lanes will deter traffic from Rowena elsewhere, including residential side streets that normally wouldn’t see that much traffic. If speed is a legitamate concern, petition the police department to have motorcycle cops wirth radars camp out on Rowena. Schoolkids walk up and down Glendale too, and don’t seem perturbed by it. If one is so hell bent on significantly reducing, altering or changing traffic patterns in their neighborhood to satisfy the needs of a select group of cyclists (when we clearly live in a car/motorcycle commuter’s world), perhaps they should gather up their like-minded friends and build a community solely with those ideals in mind. Best case scenario, change the far rights into parking during off-peak hours but open during morning/evening rush hour.

    Frankly this idea sounds like one driven by the developers of the over-scaled Rowena housing project or perhaps someone whose interests are aligned with them. No need to alter a long-standing community to fit the needs of one which hasn’t been developed yet or in an attempt to better sell over-development.

    • cristi,
      Ah, but we don’t “clearly live in a car/motorcycle commuter’s world.” We live in a place where cars became the predominate form of local transportation after WWII. That hasn’t worked out so well. In fact, you can look up projections about what LA would look like if we grow as predicted and everyone needs a car. The solution is to make roads safer for ALL users. London is a great example. In just a few years, the city became real cycling paradise. And what happened? Traffic congestion dropped!

      • I think we need to know how many people cut through on Rowena who don’t live in the neighborhood. My sense is that there are a lot but perhaps I’m mistaken. Living on Rowena rush hour means that people peal through off Los Feliz Blvd and cut down to Glendale and Fletcher. I would love it if all these people went around from Los Feliz to Rowena and keep our neighborhood for our peops.

  31. I work at the intersection of Glendale and Fletcher. Traffic on Glendale and Rowena during rush-hour is already so bad that I don’t drive anywhere in that direction, although I would love to hit up Monkey House Toys, Trader Joes, or even Pinkberry after work. With a single lane, traffic will be horrific! And casual driving customers will just bypass this road – business will then suffer in this already bad economy.

    If you want the neighborhood businesses to grow, make the roads more accessibly to outside customers, and not throttle traffic even more!

    With condos coming to where the Coffee Table used to be, there’ll be even more people and cars.

    This is just ass-backwards thinking.

  32. So this amazing idea is so great! How long do you think it will take to push even more traffic to cut through the residential streets? There isn’t any schools around there that might get hit by cars trying to get around the increased traffic. So well thought out. Good job.

  33. I’m down for a road diet, though I’d prefer a streetcar to do that instead. Give up a lane to a streetcar.

    It makes so much sense to run one along Rowena to Glendale Blvd., then down Glendale to Silver Lake Blvd., then down to Sunset, up through Sunset Junction and connect it back to Hyperion. Connect the three nodes of Silver Lake: Hyperion/Rowena, Glendale/Silver Lake and Sunset Junction. We all already shuffle in between the three enough as it is.


    If NIMBY’s along Silver Lake Blvd. at the Reservoir would freak out over the overhead cables impeding their already barbed-wire-fenced view, run it down Glendale all the way to Sunset and then back up to Sunset Junction.

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more talk already in the Edendale community about getting a streetcar back up and running in our neighborhoods.

  34. How bad was the traffic recently when Rowena @ W. Silver Lake Drive was one lane each way due to pipe construction? Not that bad if noticably different at all. When I’m on Rowena 99% of the time I’m cruising along. The bottlenecks are turning off of Rowena (onto Fletcher or Hyperion) so hypothetically if the road will be slower getting to stop at those lights faster doesn’t do much to ones commute.

    But really if any road needs help it’s Hyperion where people block the left lane to turn onto Tracy and in front of Trader Joes where people inch their way into the parking lot with their carbutt sticking out blocking traffic.

  35. This is a sick fucking joke. Anyone who wants to deliberately slow Los Angeles traffic is crazy. What? Our commutes aren’t bad enough?

    • Please don’t confuse calming traffic, and smoothing the flow of traffic with ‘slowing’ traffic. Traffic moving smoothly from one red light to the next doesn’t actually take you any longer than stop start traffic.

  36. A road diet is a traffic-calming mechanism, it reduces the number of lanes on a street to curtail speeding and congestion, make room for bicyclists, minimize accidents and improve pedestrian safety. It is a misconception that the road diet creates traffic. Turn lanes, synchronized lights, decreased accidents and no need for cars slowing to pass bicyclists all improve the flow of traffic. It is designed to improve efficiency and safety while recreating a pedestrian friendly main street. The sky will not fall!

    From personal experience of walking that section of Rowena daily for six +years, I can tell you that parents walking their kids to school are not okay with cars speeding by inches from the sidewalk. A car drove through the business on the East corner of West Silverlake and Rowena for the fourth time recently. This is the intersection that the children cross to get to school. It is a miracle that no one has been injured to date. Please, keep an open mind and inform yourself about road diets before making a judgement.

    • I’ve lived across the Ivanhoe school for the past 12 1/2 years, and I guarantee you that giving Rowena a road diet will make the daily traffic nightmare of self entitled parents driving their kids to school, far worse.

      • It must be frustrating to live across the street from an elementary school.
        I do believe that more parents would walk if Rowena was safer, which would ease traffic during the morning drop off.

  37. Lessening street lanes while increasing occupants on the same street is a recipe for distress. In these tough economic times, when resources are at an all time low, using funds in such a way to further aggravate an already yucked up system screams of not thinking things through. Surely, there must be a better way to use money than screwing over an entire neighborhood. Turning left from Glendale would be a nightmare, the right turn lane from Hyperion would most likely turn into a “no right on red” situation, and now add 45 new occupants to town…. this is not the best idea for this area, by far.

  38. I like how those in favor of this use arguments like “read this” and don’t offer up even a glimmer of alternative thinking to this proposal. It seems like a my way or the highway literally.

    I also notice how if this really is a straw vote issue at the meeting, Elizabeth isn’t interested in the community coming together as a whole to vote. She only wants to invite those in favor of this proposal to her “party.” Way to make an effort to win over everyone in the community. Sounds fishy.

    • I’m for this, and I’m open to alternatives. However, I think the biggest traffic conflicts on this short stretch of the street (all hours of the day and night) are because some commuters are using it as a cut-through highway, while others are trying to park or make an unprotected turn into a driveway, or cycling where there is no safe space on the road but merged in front of cars that are often traveling at highway speeds of 40mph.

      A center turn lane and bike lanes would fix these problems, and since it’s only about a 1/2 mile segment of street, I fail to see how commute times will increase by more than even a minute.

      Personally, I prefer when traffic moves at a calmer/smoother speed of 25-30mph through the city as I have more time to smoothly slow or stop if there’s an accident/jaywalker/animal/cyclist/etc., it’s a lot less stressful than gunning it from light to light.

      A lot of people drive literally everywhere in LA (sometimes 4 or 5 blocks) because our streets are not nice places to walk or cycle. You have to ask yourself is it worth saving maybe a minute during rush hour but creating a dangerous environment for others that choose to walk or ride a bike (or maybe have no other options)? Are we a society based on equity and fairness? Or does might make right? Silver Lake is supposed to be a progressive community… shouldn’t our streets reflect that?

  39. Living in Crazy Town

    Of all of the infrastructure problems in the Silver Lake area, a subjective impression of “speeding” on this portion of Rowena is the least of our problems. I’d prefer to see some of the outrageously bad paving from the early 1900’s be addressed, or perhaps completion of the current unending construction projects. Los Angeles is struggling with a budget nightmare and neglected infrastructure already. Attention from the LADOT to this pet project is wasted time and money. Is this REALLY the most important issue on the neighborhood council’s agenda?

  40. After we implement this brilliant, self serving idea, how about we turn Hyperion into a hiking trail? That’ll cause everyone’s property values to double!

  41. for those of us who have to commute during rush hours, we know that 1/2 mile of road can cause much more than one extra minute. add in people backing out of diagonal parking spaces and you are looking at a significant delay when all folks want to do is be home already.

  42. Should be an interesting meeting. Just went to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s website for more general information. The navigation to pages that show who is on the Council have disappeared. When you click on the link for HOW DO WE SPEND THE CITY’S MONEY?, you’re sent to an error page, and, on the top navigation bar, CRIME ALERT! sends you to information on Neighborhood Council elections.

    They should correct that.


    Of course this is all just my observation and opinion.

  43. If there were only one route to get somewhere, which is what many people are saying here, I would want that route to accommodate more than just motor vehicles. Why put all your eggs in one basket? LA has done that through bending over backwards to make the car THE mode of transport. Has the city succeeded? Well sure everyone drives but traffic STILL sucks because everyone is driving and there’s no viable alternative. We need to create alternatives, bicycling is a cheap way to give people transportation choices.

    People here complain about traffic (read: cars), people complain about lack of parking (read: parked cars). Hello people, bikes are a solution to traffic, not a problem. The problem is everyone is driving and pissing you off. How about we get those suckers onto bikes, then you have more parking spaces, fewer cars ahead of you!

    The only self-serving people here are the ones that think of the present rather than the future. We need to plan solutions for the future. Will it make sense of the population increases to make driving the only viable form of transport? Traffic will then be even worse! This road diet is likely to save the money costs from reduced crashes, the street will require less maintenance if more people choose to cycle as bicycles don’t wear the road out like cars… kinda a no brainer here.

  44. Bike lanes are great, but let’s not forget the possibility of a bus-only lane as well for those that commute by bus. Having a bus-only lane also makes a lot of sense if you take into account principles of mechanical engineering as buses, trucks and fire trucks, etc. already have difficulty making turns on this street given the awkward inherently haphazard layout of this street.

  45. If done right, this could improve traffic. Much of the traffic on this street is caused by people blocking traffic while trying to make left turns from the second lane. The proposed middle turn lane could alleviate this. Also, going in both directions, most people need to be in the left lane either turning left on Fletcher or Hyperion. Many motorists consequently drive fast in the less congested right lane, then try to merge in last minute.

  46. I drive that stretch all the time to get to the stores at the north end of Silverlake . It’s not as if there were lots of alternative routes other than winding through hilly residential streets or going way out of the way on Riverside. And I ride a bike sometimes and never felt there wasn’t enough room.
    That streetch of Rowena is mostly commercial and if the traffic is too fast, put more stop signs. If I have to go slower, that’s not a problem but don’t make it hard for me to get to those stores and restaurants because I’ll just find others that are easier to get to. And No, I’m not taking a bike to shop for several bags of groceries at TJ’s. And I’m not going out to a restaurant on cold or rainy days on a bike either. And for those of us who drive our kids to school — what’s the plan for that?
    This is a bad idea. And no, I can’t make the meeting tonight but if I could, I’d vote a loud NO for this short sighted plan.

    • Cold rainy days? I heard there’s tons of them in Portland. Thankfully this is LA where we have (I think I read somewhere) 300 days of beautiful weather out of the year. Again we see the argument “there’s no alternative”. Well why on earth do you want the only good path to be so car centric? Wouldn’t it make sense to encourage multiple modes of travel? That way not everyone is trying to force their way through limited space in the most inefficient mode of travel. Nobody is saying you have to cycle with your children in a rainstorm. How about you cycle for a quick trip to the grocery store or how about you cycle on non rainy days? Cycling isn’t the solution for 100% of trips, but given that 40% of trips in the US are under 2 miles there are plenty of shorter trips you could be making by bicycle, even if you only do so on sunny days which LA has tons of. Don’t let this winter fool you, it by no means is what LA weather is like the majority of the time.

      And if you are sincerely curious about transporting children by bicycle, there are cargo bikes, which are popular in Copenhagen (which has colder, wetter weather than LA). Flying Pigeon LA sells practical bicycles for everyday transportation like going to the grocery store or lugging kids around.

    • Should also add that not everyone transports children to school, there are also a great deal of people that travel solo in their cars. They would perhaps be better suited on bicycles so that people who really ‘need’ to drive can do so.

  47. The problem on so many LA streets is that they were built in an earlier era of narrow streets, so we have limited choices for keeping traffic moving. That’s what the “road diet” design improves.

    Have you ever found yourself stuck behind someone making a left turn where there’s no left-turn lane, then you’re stuck jockeying for a quick (and dangerous) lane change? That’s what this street design fixes. Have you tried to park parallel on the street, with onrushing traffic behind you? With an adjacent bike lane, you’re able to park much more safely without obstructing traffic.

    It may seem counterintuitive, but with a single lane of steady traffic and new left turn and bike lanes, it’s been proven that the result is a better flow of both cars and bikes, and a much more pleasant pedestrian experience with car traffic steps further removed. This is the kind of simple engineering that can make a significant improvement in the livability of our neighborhood. People need to

    • Sorry didn’t get to complete my post… somehow it submitted too early.
      The problem on so many LA streets is that they were built in an earlier era of narrow streets, so we have limited choices for keeping traffic moving. That’s what the “road diet” design improves.

      Have you ever found yourself stuck behind someone making a left turn where there’s no left-turn lane, then you’re stuck jockeying for a quick (and dangerous) lane change? That’s what this street design fixes. Have you tried to park parallel on the street, with onrushing traffic behind you? With an adjacent bike lane, you’re able to park much more safely without obstructing traffic.

      It may seem counterintuitive, but with a single lane of steady traffic and new left turn and bike lanes, it’s been proven that the result is a better flow of both cars and bikes, and a much more pleasant pedestrian experience with car traffic steps further removed. This is the kind of simple engineering that can make a significant improvement in the livability of our neighborhood. People need to relax just a bit and recognize how this kind of solution really can work.

  48. How bout we just have city crews keep replacing water & sewer mains, ad infinitum?


  50. How about all you singular drivers get out of your massive 5 person car ONE DAY PER WEEK and take public transport or walk to work? Not only will this help reduce traffic by 20% but it will also help improve public transportation. And the atmosphere will be less polluted. Yes, it will take you longer. Yes, it will not be as convenient. Sure, you’ll have to plan. Another alternative – carpool twice a week… that reduced traffic by 40%!!! It doesn’t always have to be about MORE, BIGGER, FASTER and hoarding resources.

  51. Jennie Chamberlain

    This is a FANTASTIC idea. Except, it won’t actually SLOW traffic, just reduce the number of cars flowing through and making the road much safer for drivers, bikers and pedestrians alike. With more efficient turn lanes, more parking and pedestrian friendly sidewalks it would be a boon to business and the neighborhood!

  52. While this plan might be helpful, it might be a disaster. I think it needs more study and input, from people who are concerned about it as well as from people who support it.

    I think there are 3 categories of people who drive/bike/walk on Rowena: (1) people who live or work there, (2) people who are visiting businesses and people there and (3) people who are passing through there on their way to somewhere else.

    All of these groups have legitimate concerns, even the third one. (That one isn’t completely separate from the others — witness the Hyperion-area resident who needs to use Rowena to get to the I-5 and the 2 Freeway.)

    I regularly visit businesses in the area. For those who say the proposed change will reduce the number of cars flowing through the area: What if it reduces the number of cars and people going to area businesses? Also, like some others, I’m concerned about cars backing out of diagonal spaces. Rowena is a lot narrower than Brand. Finally, I think that adding a 45-unit condo to such a congested area is sheer madness.

    As someone who frequently uses public transport, I know that it’s not very good in that area. But I would not support the plan as a means to encourage the development of more public transport. I would only support if it could be shown that the plan would benefit people in the three categories above, in the short as well as the long run.

  53. I am unable to resist chiming in on this subject as it is near and dear to my heart. I am a transportation planner in the Los Angeles area and I have implemented a similar Road Buffet project, which I then spent a year and a half studying and reviewing the impacts of the reconfiguration on the traffic flow.

    Long story short, after some tweaking of some signal timing, the time that it took to drive a car from one end of the corridor to the other remained exactly the same before and after the implementation of the Road Buffet. In fact, in some instances the corridor actually saw an increase in the number of cars while traffic remained steady. What this means is that no you will not beable to speed through the area so that you can quickly stop behind that car blocking the inner lane trying to make a left turn, but you will be able to maintain a steady speed and get to the same place in the same amount time.

    Further, we saw a dramatic increase in bicycles along the corridor. On one pleasant day there were more than 200 of them, all-ages. On another day I counted more than 50 in a single hour (4:30pm-5:30pm). So, yes, if you build it they will come.

    We also conducted counts on nearby streets to see if the new set up cause an increase in overflow traffic… it did not. The simple fact is that these types of project work, and they work well by simplifying the roadway. I suggest that LADOT try the project as a pilot also, study the corridor over a year and make whatever tweaks they need to in order to maximize the quality of the project. It is only paint, it can be removed at a relatively low cost.

    The reason behind the term “Road Buffet” is that not all streets are created equal, what works on one may not work on another, but there are many options in the tool box to choose from, hence the buffet.

  54. I say do it. I have experienced the road diets in NYC and SF and they’re great. Plus this area in SL could use something to make it nicer, because it’s an awful stretch of road and I never visit it because it’s not inviting. Good luck to those promoting the diet.

  55. You need to contact your City Councilman, Tom LaBonge. Roads are for all users. The bicycle lobby has been dominating the conversation about how our roads are going to be used since the passage of the Master Bike Plan. I don’t know about you but I was never informed or part of any discussion about the Master Bike Plan until City Council passed it last March? Our streets need to work for everyone…not just bikers. Our Mayor fell off his bike last year and all of a sudden millions of dollars and our precious city resources are being poured into reducing traffic lanes, removing parking and creating bike lanes? What happened to public transportation? Less then 1% of the population in LA rides a bike as their main source of transportation.

    • Nice try… but cyclists receive far less of the funding pie than what their mode share is in LA. Simply put: our streets are overwhelmingly devoted to cars.

      We are spending billions on public transit and highways (Google Measure R), and lanes cost next to nothing in comparison. On top of that, bikes don’t damage the roadway like buses and cars so they require very little maintenance.

      Anyway, the article states that a Rowena road diet could create more parking, so it’s not just about bikes.

  56. Somebody in this discussion cited traffic on College Ave. in Berkeley as a reason not to do a road diet on Rowena. Rest assured that College is nothing like Rowena. It’s a much busier commercial street, which has some strategically placed stop signs. College is a lot more like Main St. in Santa Monica. You guys might look closer to home for comparables, maybe Franklin Ave. in Hollywood.

  57. As an active bike commuter (28 miles per day) who lives in this specific neighborhood (and still mourns the Coffee Table) I can tell you that this stretch of road is among the worst in my commute. Besides the awful condition of the pavement, the tremendous congestion and the seemingly never ending construction of the hyperion pipeline I dread having to bike through here. As a complete aside, the only place that is worse is the evening northbound Sunset from Union Station through Echo Park to Alvarado.

    I think that this is a fantastic idea and it will certainly help to create a much nicer retail district along this stretch of Rowena which is long overdue.

  58. If cyclist want their fair share of the road, they should pay their fair share of the revenue needed. People that use their cars pay gas taxes that are specifically used for our city roads. According to the 2010-2011 Budget Summary, the city takes in about $104 million each year in gas taxes that go straight into a special fund that can only be used for fixing or building roads or rail lines. What do the cyclist contribute? Not to mention that we have to register our vehicles, have insurance in case of any accidents, and actually follow the rules of the road. Finally, how many times have we been delayed by the dozens if not hundreds of teens that do not follow the rules of the road, take the whole street and cross red lights and then have to be escorted by police just so someone doesn’t run them off the road when they out just for a joy ride.

    • @Chris: I believe gas taxes mostly go towards highways that bikes don’t use, not our city streets which we all share and are maintained mostly through property taxes that we all pay. Besides, many of us drive too, however bikes do no damage our roads and they don’t kill thousands of people every year like cars — which explains why we aren’t required to carry insurance or registration.

      And don’t forget, the federal gas tax hasn’t even been raised since 1991 (nor has it even been indexed to keep up with inflation) so as motorists, we aren’t even paying for proper maintenance at this point.

      I agree, a good amount of cyclists in this city need to do a better job of following the rules of the road, but same goes for motorists and motorcyclists — we need better enforcement of the laws, safer street designs that accommodate all users equitably, and more education on how to share our roads, since we all pay for them, and we all use them.

  59. Ah, yes, the tired old lie about drivers “paying” for roads. Get some numbers, and a reality check, in this article on The Gas Tax Fallacy:


    Cyclists (and everyone else who drives less or not at all) are overcharged in general fund taxes to subsidize the Roadhog-American community. Nearly all public space in this country is now arrogated by motorists. Nearly all!

    Bad for business, too. Speeding drivers don’t stop at local stores.

  60. Are you enjoying the unofficial Rowena”road diet?” It took me the better part of 15min 3 times this week to get from the TJ’s-Mayfair-Video Journeys (Griffith Bl.) parking lot area to Glendale Blvd. At the 3-way merge at the corner I observed 3 near misses involving autos, bike, and pedestrians. Just saying……it will not work when permanent. 2 lanes in each direction whilst enforcing existing laws is a better idea.

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