An uphill battle against speeding motorists *

An Echo Park resident who lives on Morton Avenue has grown weary of the motorists who speed up and down the street that slices up into the hills near Elysian Park. The resident is blaming residents who live up hill, on Park Drive and Lucretia Avenue,  for carelessly zooming down Morton, and he wants them to stop, according to his posting on the Echo Elysian Forum. A homemade  “Yield to Uphill Cars” sign has been installed on a post:

“Today a woman’s dog ran out into the street on the 1700 block. A Park Dr. motorist (I followed him/her down) could hardly stop to save the dog because he/she was going too fast in a 25MPH zone. The dog escaped (a recently rescued dog) within inches of being run down. I’ve seen some of you doing at least 45 down the hill. Knock it off, please.”

* Correction: A previous version of this post said that the Morton Avenue resident quoted above  followed one of the speeding drivers home. That’s not correct. Jeff de la Rosa, the Morton Avenue resident, said in a comment to this post that “I pulled out of my driveway and ‘followed’ the Park [Drive] Driver down the hill…meaning I was behind his/her car.” Also, he said he was not involved in the installation of the sign.


  1. This is LA. People have places to go. Stay out of the way. Dogs don’t belong in the street.

  2. Traffic calming measures (i.e. speed bumps). Its the only thing that works. Asking nicely doesn’t work, and speed limit signs don’t work. When people get behind the wheel they go into “me me me” mode, and nothing will slow them down other than the threat of physical damage to their car.

  3. Glad to see this. As a pedestrian living in EP, I’ve almost gotten hit LEGALLY crossing at walks in the neighborhood. Drivers definitely need to be more courteous and observant.

  4. @GEAH

    Thank you for proving my point.

  5. It’s NOT just people who live on Park Drive (like me). It’s all the people who get off 5 and come down Academy Drive and then “carelessly zoom” down Morton. We need a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Morton, Academy, and Park Drive.

  6. I am having the same problem in my neighborhood. Our problem is exasperated by a stop sign that is routinely ignored. My neighborhood is a generally quiet place that usually only sees traffic from neighbors. I have begged for help from my council person only to be ignored. I am not sure what to do, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  7. It happens on all hills–I live in Mt. Washington, and people fly down it all the time. It’s so dangerous, but I agree with Chris, speed bumps are the only cure.

  8. I remember the old days when there was no stop sign on Echo Park at Morton, and none at Echo Park and Effie.

    As far as hills and narrow streets – run into this on the Baxter hill(s) too – the right of way has to go to the uphill driver, for safety reasons.

  9. I have to agree with Beth. In cases like this, it’s almost always the through traffic that’s the problem. It’s people who think they’re taking a “short cut” to get around traffic somewhere else or cut some distance off their commute, assuming that they’ll be able to go just as fast on narrow, steep residential streets that they can on main thoroughfares in the absence of traffic.

    People frequently speed up and down the steep hills on narrow Marathon, and they don’t turn up any of the side streets. They go straight from Lucille to Silver Lake Blvd. in order to avoid Sunset.

    I agree with Chris that speed bumps are the best solution, but unfortunately, from what I’ve heard, it’s difficult to get those installed, especially in denser neighborhoods like mine, because it requires a consensus amongst residents. That said, for Morton, it might be a workable solution. It’s certainly a better solution than yelling about it on message boards, pointing fingers at neighbors, and putting up fake street signs.

  10. This is the norm for Echo Park. It has been for over 30 years. Adjust or move……

  11. if this a big problem with people speeding then there is a way too slow them down with speed bumps”

  12. I was happy to see this sign installed. (I think it’s very attractive by the way.) If the downhill car doesn’t yield it can be hurtling towards you at scary speeds. Thanks for posting the sign and educating drivers.

  13. I believe the city does not allow speed bumps on inclined streets.

    The best solution is to join the appropriate committee at the Echo Park Neighborhood Council and create a “Sub-Committee on Morton Avenue Traffic Safety”. Then work with Garcetti’s office to place the allowed remedies in place. It takes a few months, but eventually you do get the results. The key thing is that YOU (& your Morton Ave neighbors) need to do it – complaining to the EP Neighborhood Council will not achieve anything.

  14. @JoseG

    Yeah, that’s great. If you’ve got a problem in your neighborhood, especially one that affects public safety, get used to it. Don’t do anything to try to change it… better yet scoff at people who do. Tell them to move. Thanks for your insight!

  15. Umm…2 corrections. I did not make or put-up the sign — AND
    I did not follow anyone home. By “followed,” I meant that I pulled out of my driveway and “followed” the Park Driver down the hill…meaning I was behind his/her car.

    No, dogs don’t belong in the street AND the speed limit is 25MPH, neighbor. There is a stop sign at Academy but not on the Morton section of that intersection. I-5ers have to stop, so it is the Morton traffic which is up to speed and acting like idiots.

  16. Hey folks – I live on Morton and I have to agree with some of the previous callers. I would like to see speed bumps. People go way too fast.

    Or, put a cop there to do a little speed trap and get the message out and make a little money for the city.

    In fact, I am willing to do it on a free-lance basis. I have a policeman Hallowe’en costume and a motorcycle I can paint. Let me know and I will handle it.

    Also, my only concern with speed-bumps, as alluded to by a previous caller, is that when they are on an incline motorists tend to treat them as jump-ramps. The speeding is bad enough. The last thing we need is someone flying down the hill Dukes of Hazzard style. Although it may be cool to watch, I can imagine it would get tiring to hear the cars crashing down on the street…and then to constantly have AAA come to pick them up when the axle breaks.

    Not cool. Folks! They are speed-bumps…not jump-ramps.

    Thanks for your attention and I look forward to your feedback.

  17. I am constantly seeing a red mini race down the hill like crazy.

  18. Try going on Baxter over Alvarado every day. The locals get it & let the driver going up have the right of way. Like BrianM said, people cut through trying to find a shortcut & then freak out when they get to the top of Baxter & can’t see the road when they crest over the top of the hill. I am especially irritated by the people who stop at the top as if the city just let the road end & you’re going to drop off a cliff. Seriously, you can see how big the friggin hill is from the bottom at Allesandro. If you’re going to chicken out at the top, don’t even start going up. And, if you’re in a big delivery truck, take the long way around. If you’re coming from a Dodger game, just sit in traffic w/ all the other idiots. There really isn’t a quicker way out – you’ll just end up getting lost.

    whew, glad I got that off my chest.

  19. Re: the red mini…if you mean my ’72, that’s wrong. It just sounds fast. I do, however race up the hill so as to avoid rolling down the hill.

    If you mean the MINI from Lucretia…haven’t seen that happen.

  20. @Gena: “Stay out of the way. Dogs don’t belong in the street.”

    Yikes. Morton is a residential street, marked 25 mph precisely BECAUSE kids, dogs, old people, etc, might be walking on it or crossing it. It is not a freeway or a major arterial street. Slow the heck down!

    And yeah, sadly the city is often pretty useless, and hugely resistant to speed humps.

  21. I went to Home Depot and made a spike strip for just such occasions. If you speed up or down my street, I’m gonna take note of your vehicle and chuck my own little “speed bump” in front of your car next time I see it. If you don’t like it; move.

  22. @Jeff – I see you zip up on lucretia in your red mini, speeding way too fast, and you almost hit my daughter one day. if you want people to slow down, take a look at yourself dude. this is a case of “do as i say not as i do.” you don’t run this neighborhood and that’s a good thing.

  23. I live on Morton Ave and have thought about starting a petition to have speed humps installed. People drive crazy fast! It may be LA and people do have places to go but that doesn’t mean you can disregard the speed limit! That is just an absurd and ignorant excuse. I understand that dogs should be on a leash but this is a neighborhood with a lot of children, I can’t count how many times I’ve been nearly smashed by a speeding motorist. It’s like a game of frogger, without the restart button.

  24. I live on Morton Place and it is most definitely the residents on Park who tear around the steep one-lane hill as fast as their Volvos will go. They know the street, so many of them thoughtfully blast their horn a couple times as they accelerate towards the blind 90 degree corner. For safety’s sake! No need to stop if you toot your horn twice — that’s the law, right?

    But the worst drivers are on Academy, engines screaming like they’re trying to get Steve McQueen air at the top. And the worst of the worst? The ones who I jump up to look and see who could be that insane, (no joke) 70 mph up a 25 mph hill at the entrance of friggin’ park??

    It’s always a cop cars. No lights. No emergency. But half a mile from the Academy, so what the hell.

    We’re *never* going to get legal speed bumps on these streets. But maybe some sandbags and 2×4’s in the middle of the night…

  25. The Black Bob Dole

    You know, I like the idea of installing the jump ramps instead of speed humps. With jump ramps at least we get entertainment when someone launches their mini into the air for 100 feet.

    But imagine the look of shock and horror on the drivers faces as they release that they are like 12′ in the air and the ground is coming fast.


  26. Resident is right, no stop sign on Morton Ave and there are 3 streets that dead end within about 30 feet of each other on Morton Ave…Park, Academy Rd. and Morton Place. There are no sidewalks on Academy Rd and there are tons of people with children and strollers walking up Academy from Morton Ave to the park in the summer…and there are NO sidewalks on Academy. I don’t know how it is possible that there haven’t been any deaths as a result of this “perfect storm” of an intersection. Scary shit. And to think…Eric Garcetti and his s/o probably drive this every day – I’ve seen them many times on this route.

  27. This is a problem in my neighborhood as well (SL). Unfortunately, it seems even worse at night. This area is not always very well lit and when walking my dog there are many cars zooming down nearby streets that HAVE speed bumps. While it’s not the worst I’ve experienced, I wish people would realize there aren’t always sidewalks for people with or without dogs to walk down and in the picture accompanying this post it seems that trash cans are blocking side walks.

  28. @Jeff You are famous all over the place, aren’t you? It seems like your neighbors have their eyes on you and they don’t like you too much either. I feel bad for them

  29. I live in Mt. Washington which in some areas has even more narrow, more twisty streets than in Echo Park (maybe not those steep fuckers y’all got tho’) and NOBODY follows the ‘uphill has the right of way’ general rule of thumb OR the general rule of thumb that you shouldn’t drive like a NASCAR-addicted fanboy shithead. One always ends up having to execute the scary “back up DOWN a street” maneuver to avoid getting hit. I would love to have one of these signs for our windy hilly street.

  30. How come nobody is commenting on the big ass SUV parked in the background on the sidewalk? I mean, if you have to park on a narrow street get a small car. I like the way the whole street is empty, but they decide to park right across from that trash can that is pulled out into the street, making the roadway even narrower. Oh I get it, you don’t want your car to get hit, so you decide to force pedestrians and dogs to walk out in the dangerous street. I bet you drive that bad boy right up the center of the roadway and complain that downhill traffic isn’t yielding to you the whole way.

    Why don’t we propose eliminating street parking on one or both sides of the street on these dangerous hills? Shouldn’t houses in LA have off-street parking?

  31. Being a Park Dr. resident, no Volvo however, I appreciate the sign, it reminds people of the right of way and it seems to help the situation. I can’t believe no one mentioned the endless construction and the road sliding down the hill up near the top. Morton is really dangerous and there aren’t many options to get up here. There aren’t actually many volvos on Park Drive but there are quite a few dog folks that park up here and walk their dogs. I always assume the bad drivers don’t live here. Go figure!

  32. There is no parking on the uphill side already. And no, alot of homes in Echo Park don’t have off street parking. That vehicle is an illegally parked work truck. It looks like someone is having some roofing done. It’s been there for a few days now….

  33. I’ve been trying to implement a stop sign on Marathon St. and Waterloo for the same reason. Marathon St (south of Sunset and west of Alvarado is only four blocks long and there is a speeding problem. Cars use the residential streets as shortcuts, rush through and disregard the pedestrians.
    “this is LA. people have places to go” yes this is true, but please don’t forget the word respect for others when you get into your car.

  34. This morning I saw a pack of cars speed down Morton. Must have been doing 75. It was insane.

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