Councilman orders study of Rowena Road Diet

Councilman Tom LaBonge wants city staff to study the possibility of reducing a stretch of busy Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake to one traffic lane in each direction as part of a “road diet.” The Eastsider reported earlier this month that some members of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council have proposed reducing traffic lanes on Rowena between Glendale Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue to reduce speeding traffic and create a safer and more attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists.  Now, LaBonge seems to be getting behind the concept by introducing a City Council motion asking the Department of Transportation and Planning Department to study the feasibility of a reducing Rowena from two lanes to one in each direction. LaBonge spokesman Todd Leitz said the councilman will  “assess whether to support the idea after hearing the report and discussing it with interested parties.”

The motion, which is must be reviewed by the City Council’s Transportation Committee,  says in part:

This is a concept has been a successful throughout other communities where bike lanes have been added to their neighborhoods.

The motion said that now is “the opportune time” to study a road diet since sections of Rowena and other nearby streets being torn up for a DWP water pipeline project.


  1. How about people just drive the speed limit? Also, wearing helmets and not using headphones/ear buds would make all roads safer for cyclists. So would lights and proper reflectors. I see way to many with headphones on, insufficient lights/reflectors and NO HELMETS! Crazy.

    • if your over the age of 18 in the state of california you don’t have to wear a helmet while riding a bike. It’s a matter of choice to wear a helmet . cyclist shouldn’t be forced to wear one if they don’t want to. Are you morons aware of how much traffic that would cause if it was one lane each way? If it aint broken why fix it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. hmmm, I don’t think that’s such a bad idea. You’ve got the school there so a little less traffic would be better in that regard. Also, there’s plenty of potential for more commerce development along that stretch. Perhaps if it was combined with some parking facilities at either end it might encourage more ‘walking’ (imagine that) like to TJ’s and that area generally. It could help reduce the congestion on that stretch of Hyperion. It may also draw off some of the ‘blow-through’ short-cutter’s down to Riverside that could handle a little extra load. I kinda like the idea of there being something of a parkway through there, it could be really pretty and ‘quality-of-life’ enriching, slow down, and dig it.

  3. Awesome!

  4. Ya but… I don’t see where the traffic that is already there will go. Won’t it just be a steady stream of bumper-to-bumper traffic at a slow smog-spewing crawl?

    • Well this analysis will determine if cars have superfluous space or not. It could be cars have statistically more space than they need! Also, a steady stream of 25 mph may end up being faster than stop and go that fluctuates between 35mph and 5mph. Also, how does one make a city more environmentally friendly, encouraging one mode of travel (the automobile) or giving people choices that can allow local trips to be made by bicycle? Additionally, this road diet can make the street safer (as road diets have across the entire US) which means reduced emergency calls required to the area.

    • Understandable reaction @myk….but the point is not necessarily to move the traffic elsewhere but rather to make it run more safely, more efficiently and at the posted speed limits. In fact, in many studies of road diets in various locations, the total number of vehicles actually increases. Silver Lake Blvd is one lane each direction as it winds through the northern sections of Silver Lake and while it does back up (just as do the sections which are two lanes) it tends to be only during peak traffic time and does not seem to have any deletarious effects on that area…in fact the section of Silver Lake Blvd which is road dieted tends to be the safer, quieter, more pleasant & most vibrant stretch of Silver Lake Blvd.

      There are numerous studies easily accesible online if you search “road diet” to give you a fuller picture of what they entail (they are interesting and sometimes surprising). As long as the street meets a minimum criteria of under 25,000 auto trips per day, they tend to work quite well in a variety of geographic and situational settings. The key element in a road diet is the designated center left turn lane. While not so much an issue during off peak hours, during peak hours, drivers turning left are a main cause for lesseining the efficiency of the street.

    • EXACTLY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • I am very heartened by this as the facts of any traffic study will debunk the myths and reveal the counterintuitive truth: road diets improve traffic flow. This is controversial only amongst those unfamiliar with and ignorant of road diets and their effects. Bravo CM LaBonge!

  5. Ouch… this will make the trip between Hyperion and Fletcher even more fun during peak driving times. This road is way more than 25,000 road trips a day. I wish before they do this they consider a NorthEast LA DASH line that connects Eagle Rock to Sunset Junction. Cause that diet is going to turn that stretch into a parking lot of exhaust fumes. There’s just no good way to connect to Sunset/ Beverly and Northeast LA… maybe get rid of the no left turn sign at SilverLake Blvd and Duane St. Either that or I will need to patronize Glendale and Pasadena more….

  6. I live in the neighborhood, I’ve studied this idea, and after some initial surprise I think it’s fantastic.

    The #1 reason traffic will actually be better, instead of worse, with the road diet: there will be a dedicated turning lane throughout the entire corridor. Anyone who drives Rowena regularly knows that the majority of slowing happens because people are trying to make left turns during rush hour, thereby delaying everyone behind them who must wait for them to do so.

    The dedicated left-turn lane can also be a ‘safety island’ at points, for pedestrians playing Frogger in lieu of walking to Hyperion or West Silver Lake to cross.

    My only criticism of the current plan is that it only goes from Rowena & Hyperion to Rowena & Glendale. To have a real effect, why not extend it to at least Glendale & Fletcher?!?

  7. definitely one of the more dangerous streets to cross, on foot, car, or bike. cars just fly by way too fast in that stretch. if it does not lead to gridlock…do it.

  8. Hmmm, I think a better place to do this would be on Hyperion, where there actually is a commercial corridor. Also, speeds are much worse coming over the bridge from Glendale where there isn’t a traffic light for some time. Just put some pedestrian crossing lights in that stretch of Rowena.

  9. i’m absolutely against it. rowena is already overloaded by cars at some times. to give it the plug won’t do anything good but make it worse for the people leaving on this street facing a daily increased traffic jam.

  10. VERY bad idea. That is the ONLY route to the freeway for people coming from the West, the Hyperion corridor. Despite wishful, fantasy thinking of some, the cars will NOT go away just because you create a horrendous traffic jam. If that rediculous theory worked, we would have no rush hour! That theory is bankrupt.

    It is good to encourage people to leave their cars behind, but to try to force them out against their will, regardless of whether they are ill or infirm, disabled, elderly, going far, lacking time, carrying a load is very misguided, inconsiderate and even oppressive.

    Trying to turn a critical, major and sole route to the freeway into just another residential side street is a fool’s errand. Intentionally trying to create a traffic horror for drivers is selfish.

    • Tom, with Road Diets the purpose is not necessarily to reduce the traffic load but to reduce speeding and increase vehicular, pedestrian and bicyclist safety. It’s counter intuitive to many people but often by reducing the average vehicle speed you increase the flow rate of cars on a street. Think of how the fast lane on a freeway becomes stop and go long before the other lanes during medium congestion, this is often due to highly variable rates of speed and motorists having to slow down faster and more often. Also counter intuitive is that roads that have been put on diets carry the same amount of through traffic as the prior lane configuration. This may not be the best site for a road diet but hopefully the study will indicate one way or the other.

  11. Glad to see that Tom LaBonge is in bed with the developers of the 45 unit condo complex on Rowena. This whole asinine road diet idea is clearly meant to benefit the Fifteen Group. Having angled parking in front of their atrocious development will enable them to pack even more people into their condos and make even more money.

  12. When they add the 110+ new cars coming in and out of the new development (the one where Coffee Table is) the traffic will be brought to a standstill. If they can figure out how to mitigate against that impact AND add the bike lanes, etc. they may have a plan. But adding traffic and decreasing lanes, etc. does not a plan make. In essence they will be diverting traffic through the neighborhood behind that area (West Silverlake/Angus). We know what that’s like — we endured it for months while the construction was happening and it was awful for the people who live there. Those narrow streets were not built for that kind of traffic…especially Angus with essentially no sidewalks for the biggest stretch emptying out onto Griffith Park Blvd.


  14. It’s a good idea. I’m glad traffic engineers are realizing that maximum car speed does not mean faster travel time. In addition to making the street quieter and safer it, road diets like this lead to better traffic flow and hence faster travel time.

  15. The Go Slow to Go Fast is definitely counterintuitive, but after reading up on it, it seems like this stretch of road looks like a great candidate!! It would be wonderful if the road were safer and more walkable. If the speed is slower, the road won’t be so loud and it could even be quite a pleasant strip. Plus hopefully more folks will walk to Ivanhoe. Currently it is a bit scary even with Robert there to help with the crossing. It seems that at least once a week a car has to slam on its breaks as it accelerates onto Rowena from West Silver Lake. Hopefully the road diet would help this safety concern.

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