Echo Park traffic signs don’t have much to say

Traffic message sign remains blank during Dodger season opener

It has been more than two years since a pair of large electronic message signs were installed on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park and  Victor Heights to flash messages about traffic conditions and warnings.  But, on Tuesday, as traffic on Sunset Boulevard was jammed during the season opener at Dodger Stadium, the signs remained dark.  With the exception of the words “Echo Park” that glow in blue script, the signs  have been dark almost the entire time since they were installed by the city’s Department of Transportation at a cost of $240,000 a piece. A city contractor has so far been unable to fix a glitch in high-tech system that left the signs blank.

The changeable message signs” or CMS structures – located near Portia Street and White Knoll Drive  – were supposed to notify motorists on how long they would be stuck in traffic until they arrived at the stadium in addition to other general traffic information and alerts.  “Displaying accurate information on CMS helps commuters assess traffic, alleviates driver stress and allows drivers to make better decisions,” according to a city Public Works document.

But those signs, installed in March 2010, have done little to reduce driver stress since they have hardly ever worked.  After the signs remained offline during the 2010 Dodger baseball and traffic season,  the department of transportation said it would have the signs up and running in time for 2011 playing season. That did not happen.  “We have never noticed it being used,” said one resident who has lived by the Echo Park sign for more than a year.

Bruce Gillman, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the signs have been used on occasion. However,  a system of experimental sensors embedded in the pavement have not been able to feed information to the signs. Gillman explained

These particular CMS’s were installed in conjunction with a traffic management system that involved the utilization of experimental senors to provide real time traffic data for the Dodger Stadium functions.  Unfortunately, our contractor has not been able to get the algorithm for the system to work properly and we were not able to utilize them for this game.  We are hoping to get them set up for future activities soon.

Maybe its time to send the contractor a message to hurry up with those repairs.


  1. Maybe it’s time to take the signs down and get the contractor to refund the money to the city. I have no idea where Victor Heights is, but aside from being so big and ugly, the sign near Portia Street is not helpful. By the time a driver can see it, he has little in the way of options other than remaining in the Stadium traffic or suffering through it while going east along that part of Sunset.

    This kind of waste of taxpayer money is one of many reasons it’s hard to have respect for LA city government.

  2. Funny, if I installed $240,000 signs at my house, I’d be damn sure the contractor and manufacturer GUARANTEE their work and product…else it won’t be installed. That’s the cost of a house or a couple of much-needed signals, stop signs, and traffic equipment safety measures!

  3. How many crosswalks at Echo Park Ave and Lucretia would that cover?

  4. Morons.

  5. biggest waste of money in the entire world. it was stupidity from the day they started construction. hell, if they worked, they’d still be stupid. half a million dollars!!!!

  6. All these expensive signs have turned into public service announcements anyway. Informing us with such catchy slogans as “click it or ticket”, or announcing the latest ” Amber Alert”. I think a permanent sign saying ” Miserable traffic courtesy of worthless,over paid no caring politicians”. would be more accurate.

  7. there should be a big 3D Hipster Mustache on that echo park marquee

  8. “Displaying accurate information on CMS helps commuters assess traffic, alleviates driver stress and allows drivers to make better decisions.”

    Hardly. I mean, I think we can already tell when we’re stopped in traffic … Who the heck thought this was a good idea?

  9. Another fine example of our city government at work!

  10. The sign is not in Echo Park is in Dodger town the information if it work would be for Dodger games not for Echo Park residents. Change the sign name to Dodger Town.

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