The removal of traffic lanes on the western section of York Boulevard through a “road diet” has helped improve traffic safety, including a sharp decline in hit-and-runs, according a review of traffic collision figures for the road that passes through Eagle Rock and Highland Park. However, the number of collisions involving pedestrians continued to rise – albeit slightly – as did those involving cyclists, said an analysis published by the L.A. Department of Transportation’s Bike Blog.
While many motorists have complained about increased traffic congestion on York, the analysis found that collisions and injuries per mile declined 23% and 27% respectively after a 1.3 mile-section of York between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Avenue 54 was reduced to one traffic lane in each direction in 2006. The results of the study compare five-years worth of collision figures before the traffic lanes were removed in 2006 and the five years after the road diet took place.
The study also compared the slimmed down, western section of York to an .09-mile stretch between between Avenue 54 and North Figueroa Street that kept all its four traffic lanes until October 2012, when a road diet reconfigured west bound lanes. Collisions and injuries dropped in both sections of York but the declines were more pronounced on the west end of the street that had traffic lanes removed.
The LADOT Bike Blog hailed the results as proof that road diets improve traffic safety:
Road diets aren’t without their critics, but these projects ultimately make us all safer and everyone is a beneficiary of a street made safer in their neighborhood. Not only does it mean fewer collisions are happening when streets are reconfigured to be made safer, but it also means the city resources that would otherwise go towards responding to traffic collisions can now aid other emergencies and neighborhood needs.
Click here for Bike Blog’s analysis of the collision figures.