Saturday, October 22, 2016

Prepare To Stop: New signs tangle up Silver Lake traffic [updated]

SILVER LAKE — New stop signs on Hoover Street at Bellevue Avenue are doing their job. But not everyone is happy about that. The recent installation of the signs at the T-intersection have backed up traffic on narrow Hoover Street, with cars and trucks lined up for blocks at busy times.

“Prior to the installation of the stop signs, there were no traffic problems on that stretch of Hoover,” said a Silver resident named Jeffrey, who now drives in a different direction to avoid Hoover. “I have seen traffic back up to the stoplight at Melrose and almost to the stoplight at Temple during morning and evening rush-hour. I have also seen back ups on Saturdays and Sundays and during the week at various hours, including when there was no traffic on nearby streets, such as Virgil and Beverly.”

Bob Warpehoski, who shot a brief video of the traffic back up, said that Hoover has been a busy street “but was never this backed up before the stop sign.”

Why was the stop sign installed and what can be done about the traffic jam? The Eastsider has contacted the city’s Department of Transportation for details.

Update: The request to install the stop signs came from a resident concerned about speeding vehicles and pedestrians crossing Hoover to the bus stop, according to Lisa Martellaro-Palmer the LA DOT. “The resident said there are near miss collisions and honking is common,” she said in an email. “He also noted that Hoover is a preferred route to travel between the Silver Lake and Los Feliz areas on bike.”

The department has not received any complaints. But, said Martellaro-Parlmer, “we will monitor the situation and continue to evaluate traffic calming measures installed so that people who walk and bicycle as well as drive or ride transit can share the road successfully.”

Silver Lake Neighborhood Council member Anthony Crump said residents have been trying to get a stop sign installed for several years to help protect pedestrians on Hoover. Said Crump:

Every day there were people playing human frogger trying to cross Hoover while dodging cars racing north or turning left from Bellevue. The addition of the soccer fields at Temple and Hoover as well as new businesses like Cafecito Organico have increased pedestrian traffic in the area making it even more dangerous. The road diet on Virgil may have inadvertently pushed more cars onto Hoover Ave. That’s not a good thing, however, as Hoover is even more residential than Virgil Ave.

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  1. I live on Hoover and the stop sign has made it virtually impossible for me to leave the house in the morning – traffic is completely jammed in both directions every weekday.

  2. A few points:
    -Hoover is a single lane of travel in each direction; to the east, Virgil is two lanes and Vermont three.
    -There is a bus stop directly across the t-intersection with no crosswalk until Temple to the south and Clinton to the north.
    -The traffic turning on to Hoover from Bellevue is routinely backed up by drivers attempting to turn left.

    That being said I welcome the stop sign, as this is a largely residential street. I suspect drivers will change their behavior to travel the streets that can handle the additional volume.

    • Actually, you are not correct. Yes, Hoover is a single lane but so now is Virgil, which was put on one of the road diets designed to cause traffic nightmares so as to force people out of their cars, a plan that fails to accomplish that goal but makes life nonetheless irritating not to mention wastes gas by having cars backed up and idling away. And Vermont Avenue is quite some distance away (a half hour by walking), and cars would have to all go through residential streets to get there — how is that a reasonable alternative, especially if you are going down Hoover to get to Hyperion to the 5 Freeway, which a LOT of people are doing, or otherwise to points east or north rather than west.

      Second, every single intersection all the way along Hoover is a legal crosswalk — lines on the street are not needed to be a legal crosswalk, they are simply niceties that add no additional legality. It is a legal crosswalk right there at that bus stop. Any intersection is a legal crosswalk unless otherwise posted.

      • Hoover is still two lanes in either direction south of Melrose. This obviously doesn’t help if you’re trying to use either street to reach Hyperion, however Vermont is still there. I’m not sure how your justification of not driving to Vermont because it’s too far of a walk is valid(and it’s less than a mile from this intersection so you must either walk very slowly or are exaggerating to make your point). Driving on Melrose will get you to Vermont in less than a minute.

        I’m well aware of the legality of crosswalks, unfortunately many drivers either are not, or refuse to stop for pedestrians as they hurriedly use small neighborhood streets to “get to the 5”. The one painted crosswalk at Clinton is still a nightmare to cross.

        I’ve already adjusted how I drive out of my neighborhood due to the the road diet and stop sign and I hope others will as well since I suspect these changes are not “designed to create traffic nightmares to force people outbid their cars” as much as they are designed to direct them on to arterial streets so we can walk around our neighborhoods safely.

        • If Vermont were such a better alternative, you would think the GPS I use on a daily basis would suggest it once in a while on my commute from Downtown to the Griffith Observatory, but it never does. Virgil used to be the way to go, now it tells me to take Virgil, then traverse to Hoover, or vice versa. Let’s hope some city planners are actually analyzing the traffic data and are not just snake oil salesmen.

          • On the plus side, you must be constantly stoked about commuting to the Griffith Observatory.
            I’m jealous 🙂

        • Stephen, please pay attention. First, Hoover is one lane in each direction the entire length, not two. And, it is not a small neighborhood street, it is a thoroughfare — to keep people from otherwise cutting through on the small neighborhood streets. And I walk the neighborhood every day — there is no problem walking here.

          Vermont is close to a mile west — and it is pretty full of traffic already, doesn’t need all the cars that Hoover would otherwise take.. And it would be more gas burned to go there, and Vermont won’t take you where you are going unless you happen to be going west. Fine to use it if that is where you are going, but I will wager no one taking Hoover is going that way, as it doesn’t go there, Hoover sends you up to Myra and across Hyperion, not westward.

          My mention of how long it takes to walk was simply to show how far Vermont really is. You write as if it is 20 feet to the side. It is quite some distance west. It is not a reasonable alternative. No, I don’t walk slow, I walk fast, I don’t know anyone who walks as fast as I do — so maybe Vermont is more than a mile. Vermont is a completely different neighborhood.

          And all the cars in the area cannot possibly all fit down one street only — they need to be spread out according to where they are going. Hoover is designed for people going where Hoover goes, not where Vermont goes.

          You’re just making rediculous statements and obfiscating to justify the unjustifiable. Please stick to facts and reason.

          • I apologize, I meant Virgil is still two lanes not Hoover. Virgil is only a single lane from Santa Monica to Melrose. But thanks for being condescending!
            I agree Vermont is a bit of a walk from Hoover, however it is still less than 3/4 of a mile. I’m not sure how you keep conflating the two form of transportation but this assumption seems crucial to your argument. 3/4 is not a far drive out of the way for someone who, in your own words, is trying to drive all the way to Atwater Village just to get to the 5. It is literally less than one minute down Melrose.
            Vermont runs north and south so not sure what you are talking about when you say “Vermont won’t take you where you are going unless you happen to be going west”, which is the same direction that both Hoover and Virgil run.
            And your absolutely right about “all the cars in the area cannot possibly all fit down one street only”, so us drivers will change our behavior and take the streets designed to handle more volume – 6 lane Vermont, 4 lane Virgil or 2 lane Hoover. And the pedestrians will now be able to cross the street safely at Hoover and Bellevue.
            So yeah, facts and reason.

          • You keep counting lanes that don’t exist. Vermont is not six lanes, it is four, two in each direction. Virgil is one line now south of Santa Monica in one direction, two in the other. Vermont is a lot more than a minute drive from Hoover.. And Tom is right, it doesn’t go where Hoover goes.

            I will note too, one only goes to Atwater for the 5 Freeway if they are going north; if they are going south, they get on it in Silver Lake at Riverside Drive. But if they are going to the CVS, they continue down Rowena, not Vermont — like Tom said, Vermont doesn’t; go there. Neither does it go to Sunset Junction if that is where they are going, nor to King Middle School if they need to pick up their kids.

            You don’t want to deal with reality in your argument, You keep making things up.

          • Henry, you’re right we must live in different realities. In mine, during rush hour the parking spots on Vermont magically disappear and turn into a traffic lane making it a 6 lane road.
            -You and I both agree that Virgil is one lane from Santa Monica to Melrose. However, in my reality it magically turns back into two lanes south of Melrose.
            -I don’t really care about your travel patterns to CVS for your reality medication, Tom made the statement about “a LOT of people” driving to the 5 (not sure how he measured his “a LOT” statistic but I’m sure like everyone else up in arms about a single stop, sign he has his metrics).
            -Google maps puts the distance from Hoover/Bellevue to Vermont/Melrose at 0.5 mile and a 2 minute drive.
            -In addition to Sunset Junction, Vermont also doesn’t go to Venice Beach, Mt. Wilson, or Rhode Island. It does, however, allow travel in the directions of north and south just like Hoover and Virgil. I’m not sure how these basic compass functions keep escaping you. But then again, from your post you seem to think Hoover magically connects to Rowena, so maybe we’re bumping into that different reality thing again.

      • You’re totally right. The “road diet” has caused a “traffic diarrhea” with traffic on Virgil being splattered onto a number of streets. Politicians and bureaucrats are supposed to make getting around town easier for citizens, not harder.

      • I Love You!
        “road diets designed to cause traffic nightmares so as to force people out of their cars, ”
        Truer words have never been spoken, The comparison to the Rowena “Road Diet” is also right on! Never will these bureaucrats ever admit their mistake and reverse their decisions. As is when a bad law is made, it is never recended until their is a constructional challenge and who’s going to do that? That’s what these so called traffic planner experts depend on. Drivers (The main contributors to our streets tax dollars) need to put a initiative on the ballot to ” Take Back Our Streets” from the PC idiots who have ruined them. Stop unconvincing, taxing and fining us drivers to death! They are the ones who create our road rage!

    • The sign is long overdue. Young people, working professionals and customers of the coffee shop on the corner of Hoover and Bellevue are unable to cross safely without slowing the vehicles on Hoover. I have lived near this interesection for 10 years and many accidents have occurred because cars on Bellevue couldn’t make the left or the right because of visual obstructions and the high speed at which commuters were traveling through the residential neighborhood. The neighborhood has been lobbying the city for years to add this sign to address all of these dangers.

      A stop sign at Maltman and Bellevue and Maltman and Elsworth would be welcome additions. We have had many car and pedestrian accidents at both intersections due to the high rate of speed people are traveling along both stretches of road. We have many families in this area. The young people attend the Charter School on Temple, the elementary school on Clinton and they play at the soccer field located at the corner of Temple and Hoover and Bellevue Park on Marathon and Lucile. Slowing down the cars will ensure our young people are safe.

      • Bull. Try speaking truth. I’ve been here longer than you — and there have not been all these accidents you speak of. I also make that right turn — and the visibility is as good as any other right turn.

        And aha, you say the intent is to slow down traffic, not that there is a need otherwise to stop it there, but instead it is trying to undermine the speed limit. I hear some truth in that. You see, state law requires speed limits to be no less than that which is safe. So,as long as the speed limit is scientifically shown to be safe, you can’t lower it (and a bunch of traffic accidents would scientifically show that existing speed was not safe!). So, this is just an attempt to do an end run around the law, to undermine the law for an ulterior purpose, no matter that the speed limit set there already is safe.

        Thank you for confirming the suspicions about why that sign is now in there — to show no respect for the law and scientifically established safe speeds.

        • “Scientifically established safe speeds”!!?? What would those by, professor?

          LOL! You really think there is science being used in the way LA’s streets are designed and laid out? Nope. It is 90% bullshit and 10% politics.

          • Well, before you ridicule, you should consider whether you know what you’re talking about. Traffic studies have to be done on all the streets on a regular basis, and the city tries to do it at least once every seven years. They can’t even enforce the speeding laws without that at minimum once every seven years. And it has to be done according to the required scientific standards, not any old way some clown downtown might want to do it..

            As for “politics” being behind the street layout, that is a completely different topic. But Hoover was laid out before the streets to the west were even built or part of the city of Los Angeles, In fact, it was the west border of the city, the end of Los Angeles. This is why west of Hoover, the streets suddenly take a different direction, going east-west rather than northwest-southeast. Different local government agencies had different ideas.

          • Henry, you are referring to an Engineering and Traffic Survey (I believe it is that is what E&TS is short for). That is precisely what I am referring to: it is total pseudo-scientific car-centric crap.

            The whole paradigm with those surveys is like a waste engineer measuring the flow of turds in a sewer pipe. Streets are not fundamentally ONLY there for car travel. They are platforms for human life and business in the city. There are lots of other measures that can be employed to gauge the value of one street design over another – property values, social networks, rental rates, sales tax returns, surveys of human behavior and more.

      • What helps people stay safe is both obeying traffic laws and paying attention. How many times do you see pedestrians in crosswalks texting? Are they aware and paying attention? No. Cyclists with headphones on and no lights/reflectors? No. Drivers texting? No. So all people need to take responsibility for themselves and pay attention. Keep yourself safe!

  3. I lived on that corner for years, before Cafecito came in across the street. There were constantly hits or near misses at that intersection, so I’m glad to see a stop sign pop up there. Agree with Stephen, hopefully people will change their driving habits, moving the faster traffic over to Silver Lake or Virgil. Remember nearly being hit by cars crossing Bellevue, just leaving the bus stop.

  4. This is a very bad idea and bad planning. This is not a matter of traffic or pedestrian safety, there is for an ulterior motive.

    Maybe the thing that bothers me the most is that this was slipped in quietly, without we neighbors ever hearing a word about it even being considered. I live three blocks from here. I have been using Hoover for over 30 years — I have to or the alternative is to go extra miles, not an extra maybe block. There has been no problem there all these years. And all of a sudden out of nowhere we need a stop sign where there is no problem? And no one in the neighborhood, much less anywhere else, was alerted to this being considered?

    And, this is not the first stop sign added on Hoover. They recently put in another stop sign at Hoover and Hyperion. This latest one now means cars have to stop at every single street all the say down Hoover to Santa Monica Boulevard, where it ends.

    This is supposed to be a through street. It is not a through street if you can’t get through because all the large amount of traffic that goes through there has to stop at every single block the entire distance because of stop signs going in — none of which the neighbors have been alerted were being considered.

    These are not a matter of traffic or pedestrian safety – there has not been such an issue there. These clearly are for the sole purpose of jamming up traffic to make life misereable if you use a car. And that is just wrong — its conniving and manipulative.

  5. It was bad enough with the traffic nightmare that Virgil has become. Now this is just making the area impossible to navigate. Leave it to the multi talented politicians who do traffic engineering to screw this up big time. It was not broke before but this latest Mitch O’ffarrel PC expert experimenter in road engineering is a failure and a joke. Leave the engineering to the experts not the politicians. Call him and complain. I drive and walk it hoover and all the time. (I used to use Virgil) and its just a mess. Just leave well enough alone. I get the one at Lucille that one was awkward but the other at Bellevue is just stupid. Just wait till they screw up Hyperion like the did Rowena. Pathetic. As an LA native I always thought that we were trying to keep people moving not slow them down to a crawl? Backwards PC BS.

    Council Mitch O’ffarrel
    1 323 957 4500

    • “I drive and walk it hoover and all the time. (I used to use Virgil) and its just a mess.”

      So you used to walk on Virgil before the road diet and now you don’t because it is a “mess”? Take a chill pill on your PC conspiracy theories and try to find another perspective than the one behind your windshield road raging everywhere.

      Only in LA is can you drum up fake news controversy over a stop sign added to a residential neighborhood with a coffee shop and liquor store across the street. Boo fucking hoo.

  6. Stop signs don’t result in added cars on a street. If anything has caused Hoover to back-up more, it’s the road diet on Virgil, to which drivers have reacted by heading over to Hoover St. That change in behavior is not a reason, however, to get rid of the road diet, either, since we’re already seeing Virgil attracting new business and becoming more walkable and bikeable, after frankly being one of the most unpleasant streets to walk in the neighborhood. If you want to be reminded of an unpleasant walk on Virgil, just go a block south of Melrose and you’ll get it.

    As for drivers, there are lots of north-south options. Hoover is one, but obviously it is a residential street that can only handle so much traffic. Going west from Virgil, Vermont is another, and so is Normandie. Going east of Hoover, the street grid gets skewed and drivers are limited in straight north-south options, although there are ample streets providing access through neighborhoods – the largest of which are Sunset and Silverlake Boulevards.

  7. I am all for traffic calming, but our playbook (as a city) is incredibly limited. There is a lot of precedent for lots and lots of ways to keep vehicles moving at safe speed and not causing delays. Stop signs and stop lights generally are not part of that mix.

    My favorite example of what I’m talking about (this is the deluxe multi-million $ treatment for an intersection, but similar design principals work well on a smaller scale):


  8. The intersection of Bellevue and Hoover has been a serious issue for years. Completely unsafe. Most of the those drivers use that route to cut through our residental neighborhood, more often than not at very high speeds. My hope is that over time people will learn to take different route and use a main line like Beverly, Vermont, or Sunset.

    • From now on, I’m going to turn off Bellevue and, instead of taking the thoroughfare of Hoover, will go over the side street of Micheltorena to get to Sunset Junction. It sure would be asinine to to go all the way to Vermont and back again, like all the people here say is what everyone should have been doing in the first place. And I sure don’t want to have to stop at every corner all the way down Hoover to get there. So, Micheltorena, here I come. I would have been preferred to stay on the thoroughfare, but if they are going to make that impassible, I will have to take my traffic to the side streets instead.

  9. More ineptness from the city. Bike lobby panic.

  10. Something is wrong when traffic calming measures cause traffic to grind to a halt. The problem is not the stop sign, or the road diet on Virgil, it is too many people driving. Nobody will acknowledge what a stupid move it is to be so dependent on automobiles until it’s too late. Will our population grow? It’s very likely. Unless we provide alternatives, most will choose to drive. Anyway, this is a residential street, that should be the street’s priority, not funneling drivers during their rush hour commute.

    • Salts, where do you work? Is it walking/biking distance to where you live? Do you own your residence?
      Do you own a car?

      • What relevance do any of those questions have? Seems whenever traffic calming comes up everyone opposed suddenly commutes 50 miles in a suit with piles of furniture and 4 kids. And this stop sign just means the end of their world.

        What do you value more– speed or safety? When it comes to YOUR street, YOUR children, or YOUR neighbors, I bet you value safety. When it comes to everyone else’s street, you value speed. Correct me if this is not the case.

        • @Salts: The next line in the playbook is, “but cyclists don’t stop at stop signs”, so they don’t have a right to an opinion.

        • THANK YOU. This really is the point that gets dropped from all these discussions. The people complaining are the ones who want to be able to whip up and down through everyone else’s neighborhoods at 35-45 MPH, but the people who see the value in traffic-calming and something as simple as this stop sign are usually the ones who live on or directly near the street in question. Yeah, it may not be convenient to the folks who choose to use this route as their go-to when driving across town, but they also chose to live in a home and commute to a job that required them to drive across town.

          The thing I find particularly vexing is that drivers complaining about traffic calming think (a) that there’s some all-powerful bike lobby (what a joke) and (b) that somehow the city or the bicyclists or whomever they think controls everything wants everyone to get out of their cars today and ride a bike. Neither of those things is remotely accurate. And particularly to point B, if all you did was give a few more folks the option to not drive, that’d have a profound positive impact on the experience of the remaining drivers. But we can’t see that now because we’re still transitioning from a city that’s utterly dependent on cars (and would otherwise choke itself on congestion and smog) and a city that provides a range of transportation options (and might somehow be able to break through its dependence on a single mode that’s slowly killing us and our economic vitality).

          No one doubts the utility of cars – they’re faster from point A to point B than any other mode for most, but not all, trips. But they also require an enormous amount of space (at least 1,000 square feet per car) just for storage, let alone their movement. In contrast, bikes require only a few square feet of space for storage and take up significantly less road space. Same with pedestrians and transit users. So even giving just a few more folks the option to use other options in a way that makes sense for them has a tremendous impact on everyone.

          • The city is no more dependent on cars than it ever will be. There is already transit from and to everywhere, and a maximum of 1/4 mile walk from anyplace. But transit — whether bus or train — is a very severe burden, takes a lot of time and effort to get anywhere — even if the train — and is not very comfortable (in any city, most especially the often ballyhooed New York City). And bike lanes are now all over the place.

            All this is done, everyone knows it, but people (especially every politician and every executive around) have voted with their feet for the mode of transport they prefer: their car. Instead of fighting that, why not embrace it and make it work. There is no more argument about the environment as we are already well into changing over to non-polluting cars, especially with the fuel cell cars coming out now.

            Hey, Eric Garcetti keeps calling for people to get out of their cars; I haven’t noticed him bicycle or take the bus for his short commute to work or dinner or to anyplace else. Gee, even in his photo op a month or two ago when he was riding the bus around town to show how great it was, he abandoned it in the middle of the plan and jumped in his city car that was following and rode off to a sports bar to pretend he was one of the guys — in the middle of showing how great it is to ride transit, he abandoned it and rode in his car instead because it would take too long by bus to get where he decided he wanted to go!

  11. Micheltorenaresident

    Maybe instead of a stop sign the city should insert a crosswalk with the flashing lights where you have to press/start before you walk. That way people can safely cross when needed and it won’t congest when not needed. I live a block away and even on the weekend it’s horrible. Per the city’s response of bikers using hoover, doesn’t seem to make much sense since the city just converted Virgil with bike lanes.

  12. I’ve lived at the intersection of Hoover and Sanborn for almost 10 years. I was ok with the stop sign at Hoover and Hyperion as the backup it cases is not over the top, and the tough turn off Hyperion seems justifiable. The new stop sign at Hoover and Bellevue is a complete nightmare though. Getting to and from the 101, which is necessary for getting to work, takes more than double the time it used to. I know there are a lot of pedestrians because of the bus stop and coffee shop, but it seems like a pedestrian crosswalk (maybe even with a light attached like near the Silverlake Meadow) would have been a better option to keep traffic moving. Hoover turned into the 405 overnight. It’s a disaster out there. Furthermore, people trying to access Hoover from side streets where no stop sign exists have a nearly impossible time getting on the road, which is now causing backup on streets feeding into Hoover as well.

  13. Actually it’s not the case. I value safety on all streets. I especially value obeying stop signs, as my previous posts show. However, there are many differences of opinion on how we get to safer streets.
    Now please, answer the questions.

    • I am with you on that point as well. There are a lot of ways to get safer streets and more stop signs or signals is not necessarily the best or most economical way of achieving that end.

  14. Cars were moving smoothly in the afternoon one day – and now pretty much a line of idling vehicles spewing exhaust. There’s got to be a better way – a light seems a more sensible solution – but I suppose that costs money…

  15. The stop sign is a nightmare. Put in a crosswalk for when people have to cross and that will solve pedestrian issue. This has added at least five minutes to my commute.

  16. When did motorists in LA become such entitled babies… it’s a stop sign on a neighborhood street, whatever time you might have lost blasting through this “shortcut” (seconds if we’re being honest) is easily offset by a much safer neighborhood, where foot traffic is encouraged, property values improved and small business boosted. This is what a desirable urban community looks like, it’s safe and pleasant for 8-80 year olds on foot.

    Some of you need to get out of your cars more often, go for a walk, ride a bike, take Metro… your windshield perspective of Los Angeles has numbed your critical thinking skills.

  17. I realize this is an old article, but in my search for discussion about the recently increased traffic on both Hoover and Virgil, I found this article. The removal of lanes on Virgil and the addition of the these new stop signs on Hoover has resulted in absolute gridlock during rush hour on both roads. Much more needs to be done to make Los Angeles a truly bicycle-friendly city, and I hope that future changes can bring benefits for cyclists without creating brand new gridlock for motorists.

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