By NATHAN SOLIS
A group of residents have started a campaign that would reserve the right lanes of the Arroyo Seco Parkway only for exiting and entering the freeway as a way to reduce collisions and improve safety at the highway’s notoriously short onramps and offramps.
The idea would give motorists more time and room to safely exit and enter the historic roadway, according to proponents who have set up an online petition. Under the proposal, through traffic on the parkway (110 Freeway) would be limited to the middle and left lanes on both sides of the freeway. Caltrans, which had previously floated the idea a few years back, is expected to release a study on the concept in the next few months.
Jack Fenn of Montecito Heights and Clare Marter-Kenyon of Mount Washington began the online petition in response to numerous collisions that have taken place at the Avenue 43 entrances and exits.
“I use the parkway on a daily basis during the week and see the results of accidents,” says Marter-Kenyon who has lived in Mount Washington since 1977. “I have ceased to use [the] northbound on-ramp, as I feel I am a sitting duck for those who do not heed the 5 mile per hour warning, or notice it too late to avoid an accident.”
Petitioners ask State Senator Kevin de Leon to focus attention on the “dangerous situation” at the Avenue 43 entry and exit “by dedicating the right lanes to on/off.” The petition, which has been signed by more than 400 persons, says, “We have witnessed far too many serious and fatal accidents associated with exiting and entering the Parkway, particularly at Avenue 43.”
Fenn and Marter-Kenyon note that the idea of converting the right lane into a restricted on/off lane was included in a 2012 Caltrans report about the ways to improve the winding and narrow roadway.
The report proposed creating a “Parkway Auxiliary Lane Safety Demonstration Project” between Orange Grove Avenue and Avenue 43. That auxiliary lane “would be intended to improve the distance available for entering traffic to reach parkway speeds and safely merge into traffic, and in selected locations provide a dedicated safe lane for deceleration and/or stacking at the Parkway exits,” according to the 2012 report.
A representative from CalTrans this week said that the state highway agency is looking into limiting the use of the right lane during off-peak hours by converting it to an ingress/egress lane. The public can expect a report on the study within the next month or two.
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.