Traffic signal planned for site of fatal Highland Park hit-and-run

A sidewalk memorial for Irma Yolanda Espinoza-Lugo

A sidewalk memorial for Irma Yolanda Espinoza-Lugo

HIGHLAND PARK — The intersection of Figueroa Street and N. Avenue 55 is a dangerous spot for pedestrians and cyclists. Since 2013, three pedestrians and two cyclists have been injured in collisions with motor vehicles. In September, 51-year-old Irma Yolanda Espinoza-Lugo died after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver in the same intersection. Now, there’s a proposal before the City Council to install a traffic signal at the location.

There are marked crosswalks where Figueroa crosses N. Avenue 55 and S. Avenue 55 but no traffic signals. Funds had already been allocated to install flashing beacons to improve safety when the city’s Department of Transportation determined that a full signal was needed, according a motion by Councilman Gil Cedillo. But there were insufficient funds to install the traffic light.

Now, under Cedillo’s motion, the city would transfer about $305,000 in funds from other accounts to pay for the new traffic signal “to address the critical pedestrian safety needs along this heavily utilized pedestrian and transit corridor.”

Cedillo made his proposal as he has been at odds with bike and pedestrian activists over ways to slow traffic and increase safety along Figueroa.

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  1. A signal is one way of making that crossing of Figueroa safer, and it certainly needs to be safer. But so does the rest of North Figueroa.

    The signal will ironically slow down automobile traffic more than the LADOT’s plan for traffic-calming of North Figueroa that Councilman Cedillo halted. And while a signal stops traffic at one intersection, that traffic can then race up to high speeds between signals, imperiling pedestrians, cyclists, and automobile travelers alike. On the other hand, traffic-calming keeps traffic flow steady, safer, and saner for the entire length of the improved street.

    The other two deaths that happened on North Figueroa since Cedillo killed the LADOT plan last year occurred at signaled intersections — William Matelyan at Ave 26 and Figueroa, and Jose Luna at Marmion Way and Figueroa. While a signal improves safety at Avenue 55 and Figueroa, it does nothing for the rest of that unsafe street, and Cedillo continues to block a plan that would efficiently increase safety and accessibility for all on Figueroa.

    • Yep, and the cost of that traffic signal can pay for gigantic portion of the road diet. It just seems like it’s too far out of the reaches of most folks mental grasp, and they’d much rather run a gauntlet between signals because it feels faster to them. Let these idiots, Cedillo included, eat their big dumb cake until we can finally oust him. What a wasted opportunity.

  2. Total cost for planned, funded, legally approved road diet on N. Figueroa St. which would have reduced crash rates by 25 to 45% based on similar road diets in the City of LA: $250,000

    Two other people have been killed on N. Figueroa St. since Cedillo stopped the road diet in 2014: Bill Matelyan in the crosswalk at signalized intersection of Avenue 26 and N. Figueroa and another man at the signalized intersection of Pasadena Avenue/Marmion Way and N. Figueroa St.

    Both of these deaths happened outside the special zone Cedillo has been focusing his public relations campaign on (he’s been focusing on the Avenue 50 to Avenue 60 stretch of Figueroa). The deaths in the past five years have been between Sycamore Grove Park and the 5/110 interchange in the Cypress Park/Sycamore Grove area of N. Figueroa St.

    Chale con Cedillo. If you want more than a traffic light, a jazz fest, and a typo-ridden press release kick this fool out of office in 2017. The bottom line is: he is checked out. He gets his pay check and wants us all to go away and let him enjoy being Mr. VIP for another decade. We can go off and die in a corner, just don’t bother his staff. Speaking of which, do any other CD1 neighborhood councils notice a lack of CD1 staff at their meetings or is it only Cypress Park that is not feeling the “love”?

    • A road diet on Figueroa would cause a huge public backlash, and Cedillo knows it. You know it too. The only reason there isn’t more vocal opposition is that most people are unaware it’s even in the works.

      I also have to laugh every time people in these threads talk about people speeding between lights on Figueroa, like people are speeding up to 60 mph between Ave 57 and Ave 58. Stop the hyperbole and you might get more support for your pet causes.

      • A road diet on Figueroa would cause a small backlash, and that is not the reason Cedillo stopped the diet. He is being spiteful because he felt slighted by the bike community during his election in 2012.

        There is a speed-back (speed feedback) sign on Figueroa between Amabele and Loreto on Figueroa and while most cars do not get up to 60 mph, 45 mph is a normal cruising speed between lights – that is 15 mph above the posted speed limits. At night, when the streets are empty, drivers do go 60 mph. It isn’t hyperbole, it is selective reporting on the facts.

        Our “pet cause” = we want our lives to be protected from pointless speeding and we want our neighborhood to thrive and grow.

  3. Gilbert Cedillo has gone on record multiple times saying that the #1 issue he’s focused on improving is traffic in Los Angeles. In this interview on KCRW’s Which Way LA(link below, select mobility plan story), he explains that in his district of Los Angeles, the people don’t want to have and traffic calming measures or ‘bike lanes’ installed because it will cause more traffic. Now, facing the obvious consequences of the highway speeds on Figueroa and the deaths and accidents that seem to happen every month, he’s white-washing his failure to do anything in almost 2 years by moving funds to pay for a street light that will (wait for it) slow down traffic. So is he lying now or was he lying earlier about his goal to not create more traffic? http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/which-way-la/la-city-council-takes-another-look-at-contentious-traffic-plan

    • Goals are to keep traffic moving. Goals are to stop traffic congestion. Putting in more traffic signals and putting in “road diets” makes MORE traffic congestion. People that have to drive to work or school or anywhere else do not want to sit in traffic. They want traffic to move without traffic congestion!! Rowena Street is a disaster!! The road diet on Rowena was a HUGE mistake. Now that residence have spoken up that mistake is being reversed.

      No road diet!! Stop traffic congestion!!

      • Carsmakepeoplestupid

        The Rowena Town Hall saw 80% of those in attendance in support. The Rowena Road Diet will not be reversed unless Ryu wants his political career prematurely ended when the next person is hit or killed.

  4. Just to clarify, are we talking a full-on traffic light, instead of a flashing crossing light?

  5. How many people have been injured or killed on that stretch of Rowena and Hyperion that went on the road diet?

  6. How many people have to die for people to see what’s obvious to anyone? Rush hour slows cars down in any town in the country; accept it. Fig is not a freeway, it’s a main street-type of area full of pedestrians and retail. You wouldn’t dare to blast down Main Street in Santa Monica, Colorado in ‘Dena, or Abbot Kinney.

    Cedillo is a clown, but I blame the cops who are not doing their jobs. When was the last time you saw them ticket someone running a crosswalk anywhere in NELA? How about in front of the elementary school on Ave 50, where a woman was run over, so they put in a stop sign they don’t even enforce?

    The politics and policing in HP/Glassell is a joke. When my house got robbed, the cops said it was probably methheads from a house off El Paso. So why the hell weren’t they shutting up the meth operation? Don’t try to reason with them.

    When I worked in Santa Monica, people didn’t just blow stops and crosswalks because basic safety laws were simply upheld. You don’t keep running signs and speeding in areas where you get ticketed. Safety here would improve if LAPD would just do their job.

    • If only there was a high speed road with no intersections that paralleled Figueroa…

    • In the 8 years I’ve lived off of Figueroa, I’ve seen one person pulled over and that was just a few months ago near the Vons. I will only cross Fig at the stop lights not at those blinking, pedestrian ones because people don’t stop. I see people blowing the stop sign near the grade school on Yosemite, wrong way drivers on Eagle Rock Blvd., and I’ve also seen a motorcyclist pop a wheelie all the way down Yosemite, which admittedly was cool, but not safe or legal. Yes, to more cops ticketing speeders and traffic law breakers. I’m guessing they don’t have the manpower.

  7. The community does NOT want “road diet”. Traffic is already slow enough. Putting in more traffic signals slows down traffic even more. Commuters already sit in traffic congestion too many hours.

  8. Carsmakepeoplestupid

    Everyone loves a good road diet!

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