The death of a 65-year-old Echo Park man after he was struck by a car has prompted many residents to ask for additional measure to protect pedestrians. Aureliano Polanco was hit as he was crossing Echo Park Avenue at Lucretia Avenue, an unmarked intersection. What would it take to get crosswalk markings, a stop sign or other “crosswalk enhancements” installed here? Patience and paperwork.
The city’s Department of Transportation has a process and guidelines (see the list below) to determine whether an intersection needs a painted crosswalk, a crosswalk with stop signs or traffic signals. The department studies numerous factors – from recent accidents, traffic data, vehicle speed and the number of “pedestrian units” – before it issues a recommendation.
But it could take a while before they study is completed any any action is taken. Transportation engineer Jeannie Shen said it can take two to three months to complete a study. “If a crosswalk or stop signs are recommended, it may take another 1-3 months for installation due to severe reduction of the field crew,” said Shen via email. “Certainly if the request is urgent, the study would be expedited.”
Guidelines For Crosswalk Markings
When studying a request for an uncontrolled marked crosswalk, the District reviews the following:
1. Collision Experience – two or more documented collisions involving straight-ahead vehicles and pedestrians crossing the uncontrolled street during the most recent 12-month period, or three or more during any two of the most recent five year period.
2. Minimum requirements – the 85th percentile approach speeds do not exceed 45mph or the posted speed limit is 40mph or less; motorists would be able to see pedestrians on the curb at the proposed crosswalk from a safe stopping distance base on speed and a perception-reaction time of 1.5 seconds; adequate street lighting illumination for the crosswalk is provided; pedestrian volume is equal to or greater than 20 pedestrian units during any hour; and the proposed crosswalk location is more than 300 feet from a controlled (traffic signal or stop sign) crossing or another uncontrolled marked crosswalk.
3. Once the proposed marked crosswalk meet all the minimum requirements, it must them meet on or more of the following requirements:
- Pedestrian Volume – 40 or more pedestrian units during the peak pedestrian hour or pedestrian volume is 30 or more during each of any two hour, during an average day
- Pedestrian Route Definition – the proposed crosswalk will result in substantial improvements in pedestrian safety by accomplishing any of the following: define or clarify pedestrian routes across complex intersections; channelize pedestrians into a significantly shorter path; position pedestrians to be seen better by motorists; consolidate pedestrians to a single preferred crossing; or provide a needed crossing where there is no nearby legal unmarked crosswalk.
- Special Facilities – the proposed crosswalk serves one or more the following facilities: Transit stop; designated school crossing; government office with a public counter or meeting room; senior citizen center; recreation center or playground used by senior citizens or children; public library; medical center or clinic; day care center or childcare facility; post office; or church.
Guidelines for Installing All-Way Stop signs
When studying for all-way stop sign control, there are ten guidelines that the District office reviews. One of the ten guidelines must be met in order for an all-way stop sign to be installed. The ten guidelines are the following:
1. Minimum Volume – is satisfied when the total vehicular volume entering the intersection from all approaches averages at least 500 vehicles per hour during any 8 hours of an average day, the combined vehicular and pedestrian volumes entering the intersection from the minor street averages at least 200 units per hour during the same 8 hours.
2. Collision Experience – is satisfied if the intersection has experienced three or more reported accidents in the most recent 12-month period; or has experienced two reported accidents per year during any two years of the most recent 4-year period. The accidents must be a type susceptible to correction by all-way stop control and where adequate trial will less restrictive control has proven unsuccessful.
3. Interim Installation – is satisfied on two-lane or collectors streets or low-volume arterial streets when the need for traffic signal control is urgent, and that the traffic signal control is warranted and arrangements are underway for the signal installation.
4. Restricted Visibility – is satisfied where the cross traffic visibility on the STOP sign controlled approaches at the intersection is less than 160 feet. Additional red curb zones are installed as a less restrictive solution if it does not negatively impact on-street parking demands.
5. Railroad Crossing – is satisfied only where the crossing has no automatic signals, gates or other train-activated control devices and there is an average of two or more trains per day.
6. Midblock Crosswalk – is satisfied when a marked crosswalk has been established at a mid-block location on a local or collector street without signal control or warning beacons.
7. Special Facilities – is satisfied at the intersection of local or collector streets without signal control or warning beacons less than one block from an institution primarily serving youth, elderly and disabled.
8. Excessive Speeds – is satisfied when the 85th percentile speed on a local street exceeds 30mph and the distance between controls is greater than 750 feet; or when the 85th percentile speed on a collector street exceeds 35mph and the distance between controls is greater than 1500 feet. The proposed stop sign would not significantly divert traffic to nearby local streets.
9. Excessive Through Traffic on Local Streets – is satisfied when the distance between controls is greater than 750 feet, the volume on the street to be controlled exceeds 1,000 vehicles per day and is at least 25% greater than that on similar adjacent parallel street.
10. Excessive Through Traffic on Collector Streets – is satisfied when the distance between control is greater than 1500 feet, the daily volume exceeds the volume generated by the dwelling units served by the collector street, and that the stop signs would not result in diversion of through traffic to nearby local streets.
How to Request an Echo Park Crosswalk
Requests for a marked crosswalk in the Hollywood-Wilshire District area can be emailed to use at LADOT.HollywoodDistrict@lacity.org or by US mail at 6501 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028.