80 tickets and counting for Echo Park left-turn violaters

The Eastsider published a post last week about the many motorists getting pulled over and ticketed for making illegal left turns at Berkeley Avenue and Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park. How many tickets have been issued so far? The answer: eighty citations in three weeks, reports Lt. Wes Buhrmester, who checked in with the Central Traffic Division (CTD) on the matter. The intersection is a “constant source of citizen complaints,” said Buhrmester, who provided more details:

Citizens will either phone the station [to complain] or their Senior Lead Officer, and the information will be passed on to CTD.  The Watch Commander for CTD will then advise the traffic units for the concerned division and they will address it. The location in question is an ongoing project, one of several in Operations-Central Bureau.


  1. 80 tickets, so does that mean the ordinance is unfair, the signage is inadequate, or that too many people make illegal left turns? Without comparing this intersection to a similar the number doesn’t really mean much other than 80 people got caught. There are plent of streets in downtown that have no lefts from 4-7 (with the same size sign) that are routes for freeway access and heavily monitored by traffic officers. Pick one, get the number and compare the two, see what you get. Or, maybe an experiment. Add another gigantic no left turn sign, make it highly visible (I’m thinking a sign dancer dressed like a cop but with a red clown nose, so he doesn’t get in trouble for impersonating an officer) and see if the number of tickets go down.

  2. Well, that is a very legitimate point, that is a lot of people are getting ticketed for it, it might not be the fault but that fault of inadequate signage, whether it is the legal standard or not.

    I know I have accidentally done such in intersections over the years because I didn’t see the sign. And even if you see it, the times on it are far too small to see until you are virtually in the intersection, and at that point, you have to be watching the traffic.

    That makes the ones getting ticketed actually victims.

  3. the city WANTS to give out tickets and make money. this intersection is apparently a gold goose in their giant racket. no chance in hell they’d put up “better signage” after stats like this.

  4. what’s really messed up, though, is the fact that in a neighborhood with as many problems as Echo Park, police are being wasted on monitoring “illegal” LEFT TURNS in an effort to capitalize on a potential windfall of ticketing revenue when they could be out patrolling for any number of more legit and serious illegal shit that plagues the neighborhood, which certainly doesn’t rest between 4-7.

  5. Break the law, get a ticket. Stop your crying

  6. I see illuminated “No Left Turn” signs (that can be turned on or off depending on the hours of the prohibition) hanging next to stoplights all over the city. They seem a better way to let drivers know the situation. How does one go about requesting one of those?

  7. So if 80 people speed through a school zone and get tickets does that mean the law is improper and the speeders are the victims? Lame hipster reasoning if you ask me. Probably you think traffic laws shouldn’t apply to bicycles either.

  8. @Hmmm. That is NOT what anyone said. The point of whether you break the law or not is knowledge. If the signage is inadequate to notify you because it is far too small and inconspicuous, and the hours written on it are even tinier, then you lacked knowledge.

    I very much doubt a single one of those people ticketed saw the sign, and were able to red the tiny writing stating the hours, and realized they were not allowed to turn left at that hour of the day.

    What people here are saying is that if there seems to be an issue with people making such turns, perhaps the better approach to it would be to address the obvious and put in bigger signs to better notify, rather than just grab an opportunity to make money ala la mordida. It is wrong to automatically blame the driver rather than blame the city for inadequate sign notice.

  9. Ignorance of the law is no defence

  10. I agree with you Hmmmmm. People, its simple obey the traffic laws.

  11. Hmmm… agreed. Also, It looks like willfull ignorance in this case. I drive that way almost every day. The traffic trap has been there for a long time–not a recent thing. I see three or four cars stopped there at least two days every week. Very visible. Maybe people looking for shortcuts aren’t paying attention to what’s going on. Also, I used to live up Berkeley. Saw the signs, didn’t break the law, etc

  12. As a resident on one of the streets that connects with Berkeley (Benton Way), all I can say is there aren’t enough “No Left Turn” intersections.

    This sign and law are just a pale attempt to address a very real problem of cut-through traffic between the 2 and the 101 of folks who are trying to avoid the jam of the Glendale corridor.

    While this sign only effects northbound traffic in the evening, from my perspective the far worse situation is southbound in the morning. Folks coming off the 2 and needing to go south on the 101 try to avoid Alvarado because there is no left turn lane to get on the 101 South and there’s always a huge bottleneck in the morning. When the community tried to work with the LA DOT about all of this, they passed the buck, saying that since that section of Alvarado is part of the 2, then it’s an issue for the state.

    The result? A few years ago we had an LA DOT engineer come out and do a traffic count. During the morning rush hours we had an average of 300 cars an hour pass through the intersection at Benton Way and Sunset.

    The best way to address situation that would be to add a No Left Turn sign @ Berkeley and Benton for the morning hours. I’ve been sending that up the flag-pole for years but it hasn’t generated much traction.

    Why do I care?

    Two reasons. ONE, in the 9 years that we have lived on Benton, my wife and I have sustained THOUSANDS of dollars of damage to our cars parked along the street. We’ve both had cars that were TOTALED because of the damage incurred, plus so many lost side mirrors and scrapes that we stopped keeping track.

    Finally, TWO: the second reason is that we are in the middle of the Mayberry Elementary School attendance area, where most of the 400 or so kids walk to school. With so many cars speeding through our neighborhood, it’s only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs. Frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

    So, don’t expect me to shed a tear for the folks bemoaning the fact that they got a ticket for breaking a No Left Turn law. My advice? Take another route.

  13. Thank you Max. I concur.

  14. Thanks Max. Made my point much better than I did.

  15. First, perhaps, a light will help, however I have been at that intersection plenty of times and the signage was clear to me that the left-hand turn had restrictions, so when I am heading north to the 2 during these times, I take an alternate route.
    Second, I make the turn from Alvarado to Glendale between 4pm-6pm everyday and have seen the motorcycle cop who has been pulling people over the last couple weeks, he casually walks right into the middle of the street and signals for people to pull over to the side. The drivers don’t seem too surprised.
    Lastly, Max, sorry to hear about the damages you have incurred! The traffic going through those areas and the speeds people think they can travel down residential streets is ridiculous.

  16. Well said, Max. This just points out a larger issue – that almost everyone in a car feels like it’s their right to blast through someone else’s neighborhood like a bat out of hell.

  17. If you’re aware of your surroundings as a driver, you won’t miss a no left turn sign. I’ve been in L.A. 12 years and I’m always keeping an eye out for those out of sheer force of habit, both for not wanting to get a ticket and for courtesy. The most frustrating intersection with regards to this is Beverly at Vermont, where despite the presence of a large “no left turn ever” sign for Beverly going east and west, people make that left all the time.

  18. Well my guess is that the freeway and Alvarado corridor where there before Max. I mean how can you live right next to the end of a freeway and one of the busiest intersections in LA and then complain about all the traffic. Besides, don’t you have off street parking? Isn’t that mandated in LA?

    I had my car smashed into in the middle of the night a few months ago. So in a way I feel for you. However I blame myself. I was too lazy to move it to a safer place and took my chance leaving it where I knew it was a risk.

    Oh and if you look at the street view… well that no left turn sign is pretty small and on the other side of a very wide intersection. Maybe there would be something to making it bigger or adding more sings. How about those ones that light up or something like that.

  19. @ Mark:

    I don’t “live right next to the end of a freeway and one of the busiest intersections in LA.” I live nearly a mile away. It’s simply that these commuters have decided to use our residential street as a cut-through. That’s not okay with me. I should be able to park in front of my home without worrying that some SUV-driving boob is gonna side-swipe my car. Parking there is legal. Hitting cars is not.

    As far as the signage, you’re right, it could be bigger or brighter, but I’m willing to bet that most of those that commit this act have been driving this way for years – long enough for them to be aware of the traffic regulations on their daily route.

  20. I have lived in the area for over 25 years – first on Coronado Terrace and then now on Brandon. I got ticketed because I did not see the sign. This was a few months after it went in.

    The cut through traffic is because of people trying to get through from downtown and points west to the 2. The left turn signal at Sunset and Alvarado is horrible, you can typically wait for over at least 3 changes of the light or longer to get on to Alvarado and then you have to slog through Alvarado to get to Glendale. It’s really a night mare, and I DO feel bad for the residence on these streets, but I also feel bad for the commuters just trying to shave some time off their drive home. This is poor infrastructure and poor planning and people are pitted against each other when they are all having to endure a crappy situation. I wonder if employers were offered incentives to set their employees up to work from home, would that help the traffic sludge hour? Or incentives to stagger work hours? Car pooling and public transportation just doesn’t cut it.

    At any rate, I don’t think that the signage is adequate at all. Also, the motorcycle cops who walk out into traffic and point at the cars that they’re pulling over – they’re not helping the traffic at all. Everyone has to stop, and that causes more back up on Glendale Boulevard. There is a root cause here, which is the traffic flow and unless that is addressed the residents and the commuters are both going to be enduring a situation that will just continue to get worse.

  21. Robert Szeles (@SzelesRobert)

    2012. They’re still doing it. I just got one. Didn’t see the small text under the signs, I was kind of busy paying attention to the oncoming traffic.

    Anyone applauding the city or cops for this is NOT thinking. I wasn’t taking a “shortcut.” This was the only way for me to go left to where I was going. You think I’m disturbing the neighborhood? To obey the law, I would have to go straight at the intersection, disturb THAT neighborhood by driving in there and turning around (possibly in someone’s driveway), then come back and turn right instead of left. Yes, STUPID, APATHETIC urban planning. And yes, the cop running out in the middle of the street almost caused an accident. IDIOTIC!!!!!

    Obviously the city doesn’t care about the safety or they would have done something. They only care about the cash flow. Thanks City of Los Angeles! And thanks citizens who support such horrific bullshit in the name of law and order.

  22. Regarding the ‘no left turn’ off Berekely onto Alvarado, I am one of the recent suckers to pay into this city scam… how much?? $619!!! why so fucking much money?? i had a month window to pay the initial $265, but i missed deadline when wife went into labor and other expenses took presidence. this is the biggest crock of shit and the LAPD is the biggest mob of gangsters out there. nevermind, the actual gangs that live 2 blocks off Berkeley, no, we must suck the blood of the taxpayer with this ridiculous 4-7pm no left turn. No one mentions above, this 4-7pm ordinance is totally bunk because all cars are stopped on Alvarado anyway!! the opposite traffic coming down Berkeley is miniscule. fucking crock of shit… mother fuckers!!!

  23. If anyone knows whom I should speak to about the problems with this sign I’d love to know. I live in the neighborhood and don’t believe proper traffic studies were performed before installing this sign. There is now no safe way to get out onto Glendale Blvd Northbound to the 2. I use this freeway a fair bit for both grocery shopping and the gym, usually between the hours of 4:30 and 7pm. I don’t see why the frustration of some neighbors should overrule the safety of others. I also feel very bad for the businesses at the Southeast corner. Their parking lot has become a loop around for people dodging the sign. I don’t blame the people doing so. I consider they may also be from the neighborhood and I know the danger they would face trying to get out unprotected on Scott or others. Also, they need to paint lines in the intersection for those going straight and those turning right or left because between the no left turn hours it becomes a drag race. I’d also like to propose a solution. If certain neighborhoods can claim public street parking is private between chosen hours then why can’t those of us living in this neighborhood have a sticker allowing us to turn left. I realize a lot of people cut through this neighborhood but this poorly thought out bandaid is not the proper solution.

  24. Just got a ticket there yesterday. I dropped a friend off at the ER at a nearby hospital, and not knowing the best route to take to get home, I did what my navigator told me to do. There was a truck ahead of me who turned left there and I did not see a sign either saying I couldn’t. I was driving my friend’s Porsche and I must have looked like an arrogant, rich Porsche owner….but I personally own a 20 year old van. What I really was was a guy in a small car who couldn’t see over the large truck in front of him.

    Now, I AM aware that ignorance is not an exemption under the law. I wasn’t coming here to bitch, and was (still am) ok with paying for the ticket – my first ever in 30 years of living in LA. But imagine my surprise when all I wanted to do today was find out how much $ I should save for (not complaining, but I am one of the “poor people)…..and I simply Googled “how much is a left turn at no left turn street ticket in los angeles?” and all THIS shows up at the exact intersection I was ticketed at?! So maybe people DO have a legitimate beef?

    Again, I’m really not trying to make waves. I’m still not upset. The police were just doing their job. The navigator likely doesn’t know there is a 3 hour window where it’s instructions can get one in legal trouble, so I don’t blame the navigator either. I drop my friend off and pick him up at dialysis 3 times a week in downtown LA and use a different route to go back home to the valley which does indeed take me on Glendale Boulevard; so I can see the frustration residents feel at the congestion that does indeed happen on that street. I am not opposed to the attempt at trying to relieve some of it. It really IS incredibly congested.

    So no, I’m not mad. But thought I’d chime in. Maybe make the sign much, much bigger or placed better or something – anything – to alleviate the actual problem of people getting tickets when they had no idea they were breaking the law? That way the people who are indeed intentionally breaking the law because they are impatient and think they are too important to follow the law can still get tickets, but those of us who would never do that intentionally can have a better way of avoiding doing something illegal in the first place?

    Just a thought.

  25. As probably the only officer at CTD that writes citations there regularly, I take pride in reading all of the comments from people that I have no doubt cited there.

    I love reading complaints about how “I didn’t see the signs”. That’s a load of crap. And here’s why, as you sit there at the intersection on the red light, no one bothers to look around the signal for the signs. Strangely, the signs are placed in very close proximity to the signal. So, if you can see the red light change to green, why can’t you see the sign sitting next to the signal?

    Short answer, you don’t wanna see it or you don’t care it’s there. It wouldn’t matter if there were illuminated signs. I’d still get a crap load of violators there. As proven at Melrose and Vermont.

    As for the “gang problem” in that area. I’ll let he gang units and patrol coppers handle those shitbirds. I’m a motorcycle officer tasked with traffic enforcement.


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