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Few traffic solutions in sight for a Silver Lake street

By Tony Cella

After the city eliminated a traffic lane in each direction on Rowena Avenue earlier this year, some Silver Lake residents blamed the so called “road diet”  for increasing congestion, speeding and reckless driving  on nearby Waverly Drive and other side streets.  On  Tuesday, city officials met with some of those residents to discuss the problems but offered little in the way of immediate relief. In fact, one traffic officer contested claims of an increase in reckless driving.

Staff from councilmember Tom LaBonge’s office and an engineer from the city’s department of transportation met with Silver Lake residents outdoors near the intersection of Waverly and Rokeby Street to discuss complaints about increases in traffic and reckless driving, which some claim is caused by motorists seeking to get around the long-lines of rush-hour traffic on Rowena.

Waverly Drive traffic meeting/Tony Cella

During the meeting, multiple vehicles ran stop signs or committed other traffic infractions, including a motorcyclist who neighborhood activist Jerome Courshon said lived in the neighborhood. But traffic officer Lawrence Henderson said there was no noticeable difference in traffic crimes before or after the road diet, which was implemented last March to boost pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. Although residents claim most of the speeders don’t live in the area, Henderson disputed the fact and pointing to recent citations given to residents near Waverly Drive.

Traffic Engineer Bhuvan Bajaj said there was no city money for speed bumps or humps for Waverly Drive but painting a double yellow line down the middle of the road could act as a visual hindrance to dangerous roadsters. Drivers tend to go faster when buffer zones exist between their vehicle and parked cars. He didn’t know if the street was wide enough for the measure, however.

The engineer also urged the small group in attendance to organize a neighborhood campaign for drivers to slow down. A similar resident movement in the South Bay, called Slow Down San Pedro, had had positive effects on speeding in the area. He recommended residents go to Watchtheroad.org to download signs and post them on lawns.

Courshon, who shot the video of Waverly Drive traffic, proposed the neighborhood raise money for speed humps on Waverly Drive, which the department of transportation’s website lists as a possibility.

LaBonge’s Chief of Staff Carolyn Ramsay said she would tell the councilmember that residents on Waverly “were looking for relief” from traffic. Staff also planned to host a follow-up meeting at the Silverlake Community Church, which would include the Department of Transportation. LaBonge had no proposed solutions to the traffic problems on the side streets, but was open to any proposals.

“He’s not a traffic engineer,” she said.

Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.



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35 comments

  1. As someone who doesn’t live in this neighborhood but does, on occasion, use Rowena to get to surrounding areas, I’ve definitely noticed some more aggressive driving as a result of the road diet. I don’t think the road diet was a bad thing, but I do think measures like speed humps could stem some of the trouble. In particular, I’ve seen many more motorists using Waverly or Rokeby as a shortcut to Glendale, and not yielding to oncoming traffic at that stop sign to get southbound (eastbound?) on Glendale.

    I’ve had some very close calls as a driver coming up Glendale.

  2. More traffic violation stings might help… people drive like idiots in LA, and I never see anyone getting pulled over for tailgating, speeding, rolling stop signs, etc.

  3. I don’t see how the effects of the road diet can even be studied or considered until the construction is finished on Rowena. The paint on the road diet was barely dry (yes, mild exaggeration) when another round of work began between West Silver Lake and Glendale Blvd.

  4. How about we get our road back? End the road diet and let the hipsters ride their fixies on residential streets instead. Boom!

  5. The road diet is a bad and dangerous idea. The congestion on Glendale many evenings can reach all the way to Farwell or almost to Fletcher. What was the point? So bicyclists can have a lane? Ever count the number of bicycles on Glendale Blvd? It’s 10,000 cars to one bicycle except from 9 PM to 4 AM then you will see a few bicycles riding in groups at night. I live on Glendale Blvd and have to live with the traffic jam for 3 hours each day while people try to squeeze two lanes down to one. Who’s idiotic idea was this?

    • The author of the idiotic “road diet” is the same group of geniuses who
      Allowed the condo- fication of silver lake/ echo park. More multi-unit
      Dwelling = unsolvable traffic problems in residential neighborhoods never
      Designed for the current car/ population density.

      The city council & the developers have created the gridlock, and are pushing to make it worse
      With proposed ” smart growth” multi unit dwellings ( and hollywood skyscrapers) .

      Short of punishing drivers with exorbitant fees / fines for operating a vehicle ( like London) or knocking down
      Existing homes to widen roads- there is no solution.

      Gridlock – and crazy driving- are here to stay.

      • Car culture. We have surrendered.

        • Car culture by necessity! Our city leaders have failed to give us reliable and efficient public transportation. They squander our tax dollars to city worker unions and DWP. What is their solution? BIKE LANES. They will continue to make it less convenient for drivers by installing more road diets/ bike lanes.

          As long as we keep electing people who are in the pockets of unions, this is what we will get.

          • Right. And when city leaders do try to give us public transportation, residents complain, try to stop it. Example: see all the opposition to the subway/rail extensions. The residents here are complicit. Do you think that if a light rail or subway system route were proposed for the Silver Lake area that residents would support it? I don’t think so. It’s easy to blame city leaders, “developers”, and unions for all of LA’s traffic ills, but the car culture is so entrenched, and really residents have to take some of that blame. But until there is a real cultural shift in the way we think about connectedness and mobility, we’re stuck in and with the traffic, and we’ll complain about it, oblivious to how we contribute to it.

          • I don’t know anyone who would oppose a line that runs Sunset through Silver Lake. It could go connect to the loop just approved downtown to WEHO at least. The truth is we are broke because of bad leadership and poor representation.

  6. Did the city planners really not think that all of this would occur? it seems like common sense. How much money was spent on traffic studies? LA is inept!

  7. The problem is that when the city tries to do something to deter traffic crimes, by putting in red light cameras (or, heaven forbid, speed cameras!) the residents get all up in arms about it.

  8. Cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars! My car, your car, her car, his car! LA has surrendered to the automobile. Road diets are now bad and dangerous and ridiculous, right? So are alternative ways of getting around? Let’s object to that public transit construction, let’s not fund it. Let’s sue that public transit project. Let’s complain about spending money on traffic studies! Let’s complain about anything done to serve everyone. Generations of residents enjoy the private space they get in their car. It’s the same thinking that gets them to object to anything remotely public, like parks, development, infrastructure (and its construction) or even just change in general. It’s the same thinking that makes us complacent about how Prop 13 has basically screwed us from ever making improvements we need. And they complain that people get too aggressive in their private bubbles of their cars. Well, of course. Private property breeds entitlement. Entitled to get to where we need to go as quickly as possible in our private property on wheels. So, what do we do? We organize to complain about the culture we’ve embraced. So what do we do? We take it out on public officials in charge of regulating this losing culture. Let’s complain about cars going too fast, then let’s also complain about infrastructure projects. See the connection? Probably few here do. Cars, cars, cars, cars, sadly, cars, in circles and circles we go.

    • You are so right. There is no solution for people dependent on cars. If the City would propose taking a lane on Sunset and converting it to a bus only lane during rush or any major thoroughfare in the City for that matter, who will be the first ones complaining? Even when we upgrade transit the car dependent always say that it isn’t enough. We need to just continue what we’re doing. More roads on diets. More bike lanes as alternative transportation. More light rail lines that encourage denser and denser developments. If we were to listen to the car dependent they’d request to pave the entire Silver Lake Reservoir for a parking lot.

  9. This is happening all over LA and it Sucks! including Lincoln Heights-
    As a commuter working parent/kid pick up and drop off the Single Lanes are a Pain in the Ass!
    They are causing more Problems then Solutions to Traffic-

  10. I drive and cycle on rowena too and from work, what I dont get is why did DWP not coordinate the work they are doing with the actual sewer work, they relay the road paint the bike lanes and lo and behold along come DWP to mess it all up. Do none of these city agencies talk to each other. the bad traffic is a combination of idiot drivers and road works not the traffic calming measure, god help people if it takes 2 minute longer to drive a block

  11. I have lived in Silver Lake for 10+ years. My wife is a teacher for one of the local LAUSD schools in Silver Lake. We use this route almost every day to get to and from our house to her work. We live 2.5 miles from school to home and it takes longer to get home than it has since this road diet started.

    I understand the safety aspect and agree totally but what do you expect drivers to do that need to get home?
    The reckless driving is a valid complaint but so is not timing the light in front of Camelot so the the back up to
    Hyperion is unreal and then compound that with TJ’s traffic it is just a huge mess.

    Lastly, as an avid cyclist, I don’t see how the traffic diet is any safer. The metal plates that are on the road now certainly don’t make things any safer. So why not just open the lanes and the cyclists and cars all behave?

    Oh wait, this is LA. What am I thinking?

    • Your wife works 2.5 miles from work and you drive there?! WTF?! That sounds like a stupid idea. I walk the 3+miles to work often and it takes the same 45 minutes it always takes on foot or the same 18 to 22 minutes if I ride a bike. Maybe the road diet and construction is not the problem … maybe it’s people like you? If you need to haul stuff get a little granny hand cart or a big basket on the front of your bike – seriously, it isn’t that hard to transport 40+ lbs. 2.5 miles in something other than an automobile. Your ancestors sure as heck were able to do things like this. Imagine the looks on their faces to see you complaining about something so trivial now.

      • I suppose your right. We should walk the 2.5 miles to work. What was I thinking? What was I thinking when I wrote that and realize all the papers, computers, cameras, lab projects. Your right she should get a “old lady caret” and pull all of this 2.5 miles. Pretty much makes sense. Oh yea, its Silver Lake, we live in the hills, so gravity is our friend rolling the “granny cart” down but up? No, its people like you that hide behind the veil of your monitor and spout stupid things about peoples lifestyles when you really don’t know what you are talking about. Although, since you are a hauler maybe you can take her stuff to work on your way.

        • Real reality for real

          Oh good God, give me freaking break. 2.5 miles with cameras and books? Oh no! How inconsiderate of me! Of course we need to provide you with a red carpet when you arrive as well. And lets never consider that lazy pricks like you should ever have to drop your insane habits of driving a multi-ton vehicle with thousands in tax subsidies underwriting its operation in order to allow sane people to ride a bike, walk, or simply enjoy their neighborhood without all the damn cars crashing into people and things at such high speeds.

          Let’s enable your stupid habits! Sounds like a real winning plan for the 21st century.

          Or you could wake up and realize what an enormous clown you’ve made of yourself describing your “plight” (uphill 2.5 miles both ways!).

          • Again, its obvious you don’t know what you are talking about. I didn’t ask for a red carpet nor did I ask for anything special. All that I wanted is a less congested thoroughfare. As I am not going to divulge my “plights”, calling me and wife “pricks” was unnecessary. Its too bad I will never be able to meet you in person as I would like for you to address me like this way and my wife this way but again the monitor veil is a pretty secure thing. BTW, not like its any of your business but I own a sensible automobile, when I do buy my Hummer xvii 4×4, gonna make sure I run your ass over first, well not before my red carpet is laid out.

  12. I have lived in Silver Lake for 10+ years. My wife is a teacher for one of the local LAUSD schools in Silver Lake. We use this route almost every day to get to and from our house to her work. We live 2.5 miles from school to home and it takes longer to get home than it has since this road diet started.

    I understand the safety aspect and agree totally but what do you expect drivers to do that need to get home?
    The reckless driving is a valid complaint but so is not timing the light in front of Camelot so the the back up to
    Hyperion is unreal and then compound that with TJ’s traffic it is just a huge mess.

    Lastly, as an avid cyclist, I don’t see how the traffic diet is any safer. The metal plates that are on the road now certainly don’t make things any safer. So why not just open the lanes and the cyclists and cars all behave?

    Oh wait, this is LA. What am I thinking?

  13. I have lived in Silver Lake for 10+ years. My wife is a teacher for one of the local LAUSD schools in Silver Lake. We use this route almost every day to get to and from our house to her work. We live 2.5 miles from school to home and it takes longer to get home than it has since this road diet started.

    I understand the safety aspect and agree totally but what do you expect drivers to do that need to get home?
    The reckless driving is a valid complaint but so is not timing the light in front of Camelot so the the back up to
    Hyperion is unreal and then compound that with TJ’s traffic it is just a huge mess.

    Lastly, as an avid cyclist, I don’t see how the traffic diet is any safer. The metal plates that are on the road now certainly don’t make things any safer. So why not just open the lanes and the cyclists and cars all behave?

    Oh wait, this is LA. What am I thinking?

  14. This is a disaster and shows you what happens when community idiots do traffic engineering. Leave it to the professionals not people with political agendas. Traffic is a firggin mess since they did this just like I said it would be. LAME!

  15. …LA is an car town? No reeeeeally? Wow we surrendered to the car? Ok I’ll just hop on my bike and ride to woodland hills then shoot over to the getty and then downtown for dinner and shower. If you don’t like it (LA, cars etc) move to Mill [email protected]#king Valley or Venice, Italy you stupid utopianist idiots!

    • Do you have kids?
      No one needs to move anywhere…
      LA is so spread out that’s why theirs so many cars-
      What about folks that have several children to pick up and drive around w/groceries, etc. single parents that need a car.
      Theirs more people commuting then cyclist, terrible plan that doesn’t work well for LA.

      • Real reality for real

        Oh man, your logic is brilliant:

        LA is not currently designed for bikes.
        QED we can never make LA a bike friendly place.

        I rest my case!

    • Exhibit A: Your comment.

  16. Oh my god ! SUCH crybabys .In the meantime , people are getting exposed to chemical warfare and waiting in long lines for basic needs like food and water ! Perspective people !
    As someone who has lived here for 40+ years ,I say get over it ! L.A is getting more populated and sitting in more traffic at times ANYWHERE in the city is something we have to deal with !
    If I have to deal with a little more traffic here to live in the beSt part of L.A, I will take it over that rats nest of the Westside Anyday !
    Cheers!

    • Crybabies? You are right there are bigger things in the world. Starvation, poverty, chemical warfare, disease. This illustrates the point. Life is short and sitting in unneeded traffic for ridiculous pet projects for council people or city managers or Silver Lake Council is annoying. With regards to the Westside, that is there problem and non of my business what is my business is Silver Lake, this is my home. I will hope after living here 40 years I may adapt your attitude but for now this is BS.

  17. You suck for being selective on what u allow on peoples opnion for issues you post and expressing our opnion. Others write hateful comments yet you allow theres to post?

  18. I don’t want to give up my car I just want you to get out of my way. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. If you drive YOU ARE TRAFFIC.

  19. Having that bike lane on Rowena makes no sense at all. Thousands of people from Echo Park and Silver Lake use Rowena as major artery in and out of the neighborhood. Maybe 25 people on bikes use that idiotic lane during the morning and evening rush hour. A few bikers are not worth the huge traffic jams, reckless driving and the increased pollution that idling cars are pumping in to the neighborhood. FREE ROWENA!

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