Plans to build a major traffic roundabout at Cinco Puntos, the busy and confusing Boyle Heights intersection near Evergreen Cemetery, are moving ahead after the project has been under discussion for more than a decade.
Los Angeles Department of Transportation Senior Engineer Carlos Rios, in a recent presentation before the City Council’s Streets and Transportation Committee, said the design for the oval roundabout at Cesar Chavez and Indiana Street was recently re-submitted and is considered workable. After the meeting, the engineer said he expected the project to go through one more round of revisions. Once the plans are complete, the city will begin buying property within the right-of-way of the proposed roundabout. Rios estimated the process will take two years.
“We’re finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Rios.
The project on the border of Boyle Heights and unincorporated East Los Angeles is designed to increase safety and traffic flow through a junction where Cesar Chavez, Indiana and Lorena Street meet and weave around a landmark Veteran’s memorial and traffic islands. When completed, traffic would travel around an oval median about 145-feet long and and 115-feet wide, according to a previous project descriptions. The Veteran’s memorial would be relocated into the oval.
The idea of turning the four street intersection, which has gained a reputation as a dangerous drive route, into a roundabout has been floated since 2001. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority at one point agreed to spend $6.8 million dollars, according to the L.A. Times, to convert the intersection known as the Cinco Puntos, or Five Points, into a roundabout with a completion date of 2006.
At last week’s meeting, city officials said the retrofitting of Cinco Puntos into a roundabout is one of the first of its kind in Los Angeles outside of a residential area. Another proposed roundabout at the intersection of San Fernando Road and Riverside Drive in Cypress Park is expected to be finish before the Cinco Puntos project, Rios 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.