Silver Lake residents gathered Monday to discuss possible solutions to make Rowena Avenue and nearby streets safer in the wake of a fatal traffic accident and a maze of construction detours. But the nearly 2-1/2 hour-long, rambling meeting hosted by Councilman Tom LaBonge left those who were expecting some relatively quick fixes disappointed. In fact, the meeting at Ivanhoe Elementary School was short on short-term solutions and long on complaints and stories of speeding cars, near-misses, jay walking, illegal u-turns and confusing construction detour sign. One man said he even saw a DWP truck recently collide with a van as work crews placed orange traffic safety cones along Rowena.
“We need it now,” said one exasperated woman of a solution to reduce traffic speed and increase safety. “There are people getting killed.”
The litany of traffic problems described during the Monday night’s meeting stem from long-term issues – speeding traffic and jay walking – and several recent public as well private construction projects, most notably the installation of new water pipelines that have torn up neighborhood streets and prompted months-long road closures and detours. In fact detours related to the pipeline construction, which is part of a larger project to remove the Silver Lake reservoirs from the city drinking supply but retain them as open bodies of water, are expected to last well into 2013 along Rowena and other nearby streets.
That road and water line construction would delay or interfere with some proposed safety solutions, including a proposal to put Rowena Avenue on a “road diet,” which would eliminate a traffic lane in each direction in an effort to slow down cars and trucks and make it safer for pedestrian to cross the street.
In the short term, LaBonge said his staff has asked LAPD to beef up police presence on Rowena to deter speeders even though a traffic officer who was present at the meeting expressed skepticism at how effective that would be to slow down traffic. LaBonge also called the Department of Transportation to adjust the timing of the traffic light at Rowena and West Silver Lake Drive near Ivanhoe Elementary to discourage speeding. In addition, LaBonge’s staff is planning on working with Rowena merchants to promote a campaign to discourage jay walking on a street there is a half mile stretch without traffic signals or marked crosswalks.
However, LaBonge, who as a child was struck crossing the street, remained opposed to installing crosswalk markings or flashing pedestrian crossing signs because he said they create a sense false of security.
- Heated Silver Lake traffic safety meeting Monday. Patch