Saturday, October 22, 2016

Seeking a safer exit out of the Eagle Rock Trader Joe’s

The Eagle Rock Trader's Joes | Olivia Dibs

The Eagle Rock Trader’s Joes | Olivia Dibs


EAGLE ROCK — If there are two things we know to be true about Trader Joe’s, it’s that their grocery stores are a foodie’s dream … and that their parking lots are a driver’s nightmare. The Trader Joe’s in Eagle Rock is no exception. While you might not get anxiety actually finding a parking spot next to the store, you might find yourself panicking when it comes to exiting the lot.

With a well-trafficked and wide thoroughfare like Colorado Boulevard running past the parking lot entrance, it’s no wonder that entering and exiting the lot can sometimes be stressful. That’s where the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council comes in. The council is actively looking for solutions to help reduce the risk of accidents surrounding the Trader Joe’s lot.

“We’re planning on doing some in-person outreach, by taking a poll of shoppers and pedestrians at TJs to see how they feel,” said said Council President David Greene in an e-mail. “People looking to make a left turn out of [the lot] don’t look to the right for pedestrians, and usually just drive right across the sidewalk without stopping.”

The issue was brought up for the first time at last week’s council meeting and will likely be on the agenda for the foreseeable future as Greene “just wanted to start the discussion.”

Some proposed solutions include a stop line and/or stop sign where the sidewalk and parking lot meet, and a “No Left Turn” sign. Greene believes the neighborhood may be divided on restricting left turns completely.

Greene said he thinks some more research is necessary to determine what else can be done to relieve both congestion and possible hazards.

While the council is an advisory body and has no power to enforce its decisions or recommendations, it  can focus attention on neighborhood issues. The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Eagle Rock City Hall. The next meeting will be February 3rd, and all are welcome to attend.

Olivia Dibs is a freelance journalist and aspiring TV producer. After moving to Los Angeles from the East Coast, she now calls 90042 home, and hopes to for years to come

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  1. The post office entrance/exit in Atwater Village has similar issues. A flashing yellow signal is installed over the street that seems to help moderate traffic flow. ERNC could talk with AVNC since Glendale Blvd. (btw Hyperion/Brand) and Colorado Blvd. (btw N Eagle Rock/Figueroa) have similar commercial and traffic patterns.

    • Speaking of the Atwater Post Office……..for starters, they should outfit those ‘drive by’ mailboxes with handles so one could reach out from the car window to open the box and drop in mail as intended, without the current awkward move of having to get out of the car to do it.

  2. But, while we wait for the lugubrious public policy machinations to happen, lets give it up for that parking attendant security guard that works the lot. His efficiency in getting people in and out of the spaces there prevents gridlock-auto-disaster on that stretch of Colorado.

    • The security guard is wonderful! I don’t often drive to TJ’s but when I do, he is a huge help.

      Re: the left turners – Perhaps the city could sync the traffic light at Townsend with the one at Loleta so they are red at the same time. That would create a break in traffic going both ways, allowing for safer left turns to those who are willing to wait for it.

      The problem is, just as few people leaving TJ’s make use of the center lane for left turns (and to be fair, this lane is often crowded with westbound drivers making lefts into the lot), I doubt many left turners will wait for the lights to cycle – and if they do, they’ll be forcing all the would-be right turners stuck behind them to wait, as well.

  3. Uschi, agree. He directs people to open places and gladly walks your cart back from your car when he’s otherwise idle.

    The left onto colorado is a little dicey but there is a HUGE island that is very easy to pull into and from there you can merge without issue. People are bad drivers though so they just wait to make a desperado left in one move.

    Probably some contingent that want a light added. Would be a boon for the juice place across the street etc. It’s unnecessary, but I could see that being a solution.

  4. I would like to see no left turns in and out of the parking lot. Going in was repainted years ago to remove the left turn lane.

    • Going in was repainted years ago to shorten/remove the left turn lane into TJ’s parking lot – but everyone complained, and large numbers of people (myself included) do it constantly.

      Making left turns OUT of the parking lot is a tougher call. The visibility is not good in either direction, and there aren’t many full breaks in traffic.

  5. A traffic signal seems like the best approach, but they’re quite expensive.

  6. The solution is NO LEFT TURN, right only. There is a visibility issue and a speed issue from cars exiting the freeway. They did this at Verdugo/Eagle Rock Blvd Rite Aid entrance for traffic flow concerns. Here we have safety issues.

    Easy/peezy, yes?

  7. Have there been an unusual number of accidents involving left hand turns from the TJ”s parking lot? Are left hand turns permitted from Floristan Ave., adjacent to Dahlia Heights school? Seems to me the danger from left turns is greater for pedestrians that are approaching TJ’s from the east.

    • No. And I agree – this is a non-problem and a non-issue. I live here, I shop at TJs and the parking lot is actually one of the easiest and seemingly safest of the TJ lots in the neighborhood. This is an issue brought up constantly by a couple of people who like to spend time being grumpy on the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Group FB page. This is their weird obsession. I don’t know why. But it is such a waste of energy.

      • How can this be a “non-issue” if it “is an issue that is brought up constantly”?

        • Because it is being brought up the same way the Cindy’s sign and bike lanes are brought up – some people will happily spend their time complaining about everything and steering every conversation to the smallest of issues.

          Meanwhile the tagging of Tritch/scratch tagging of Cacao and the break ins at Peekaboo Playground and Sea Wolf are actual real harmful issues that we could do something about but every community gathering ends the same… bike lanes and left turns.

          It’s disheartening to say the least.

          • Well put, BotheB.

          • That makes absolutely no sense. Are you both saying that because you don’t personally experience these safety issues, then they don’t exist, or are you saying that because you don’t personally experience these issues, the people who do experience them matter less than other people experiencing completely different problems, who you may know personally?

          • I’m saying that it would make sense to use factual data to ascertain the frequency of accidents involving left turns form TJ’s lot. Then you could compare to Floristan left turns, which have no better visibility. Instead, we get how people “feel”, as in “this left turn doesn’t feel safe to me”.

            Beautiful saturday, driving down Colorado from Target to Townsend and saw not one cyclist. This is a regular occurrence for me.

          • @eastsidearts, I love that you are calling for FACTUAL data then make a remark about bike lane used based on anecdotal observation. How many cars do you see in a day on Colorado Blvd? 100? 1,000? 10,000? At best, you only see a small fraction of the total volume of traffic the street carries. Likewise, just because you see 1 bike, does not mean there is only one person biking. A lot of drivers suffer from a “looked but did not see” symptom. Drivers only expect to see other cars so they sometimes look at bikes or pedestrians and completely miss them because they weren’t expecting them. This is why drivers often fail to yield to pedestrians despite the fact that a pedestrian may be in the middle of a crosswalk.

            Related but unrelated: Want facts? How about that York Blvd (another one of your favorite road diets) is now safer https://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/york-blvd-road-diet-traffic-safety-analysis/

            Lastly, you can’t disregard how people feel. Perceived safety is just as important as physical safety. This is why people may not like to walk down dark, unlit residential streets and instead walk on busy arterials. Statistically these dark unlit streets may be quite safe but adding some lighting would greatly increase the perceived safety and make people (especially women) feel more comfortable walking on these streets.

            Try to experience things from outside the driver’s seat sometime, it could help give you some perspective on the issues.

    • The accident that comes to mind for me in this intersection was reported here: http://patch.com/california/eaglerock/car-overturns-on-colorado-boulevard

  8. Add a vote for no left turn out from the lot. Weren’t there like plastic sticks installed in the median years ago to prohibit such illegal maneuvers but everyone just ran them over?

    • Yes they were knocked over in no time flat. I think a police presence giving out tickets would shake things up

      • If you want to find a cop in Eagle Rock, stop in at Taco Spot. Otherwise, forget about it. Lived here for years and NEVER see anyone getting pulled over for speeding on Colorado, which is practically universal.

  9. Problems also got worse when they took the street from 3 lanes down to two so incoming cars create a backlog making it difficult for people to also exit.

  10. While I think the no left turn solution is the best, that doesn’t mean everybody will follow it. I see many people making left turns, when there clearly is a no left turn sign right in front of them.

  11. There’s a double yellow line in the median. If you exit the parking lot by making a left this is illegal is it not? I believe we should encourage a “no left turn” as a reminder and put in a cement median… with giant pillars… and a hedge… and spikes. I always turn right, then make a u-turn. And the parking attendant is named Ahmed. I’m sure he would appreciate all these kind words in person!

    • Hi Lori,

      The median area in front of the TJs parking lot is marked by being surrounded with double yellow lines, where the inner line is broken. (You can verify this in google maps.) The current markings mean a double-left-turn lane.

      If it had been outlined by double solid yellow lines, where both are solid, that would be like a “solid barrier” and making a left would be illegal. Note, in that hypothetical case, if you crossed it (illegally), you would be crossing a total of FOUR solid yellow lines (two pairs).

      And also note, a single set of double solid yellow lines is OK to make a left turn through. We’re talking about median areas that are outlined by either solid-double-lines, or double-lines-with-one-broken. Here’s an old but good summary from the LAT:


      • Counterpoint: CA DMV says you can’t turn across double yellow lines, except to enter a private driveway (like your own). So… left turns out of TJs are illegal. Probably why that re-striping was done in the first place. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/traffic_lanes

        • The DMV page you linked to says: “You may turn left across a single set of double yellow lines to enter or exit a driveway, make a U-turn, or into or out of a private road.”

          Any driveway – including TJs.

          • That’s referring to a private driveway – like your own. The same thing with U-turns, which are prohibited in business districts. But it’s all purposely vague, I suppose, to allow PDs everywhere to selectively enforce the law when they feel like it, and ignore it completely when they don’t.

  12. There already is no left hand turns allowed there. But there should be an easy way to make a right hand turn and then make a left or U turn at the next light.

  13. Again, I ask, are there an usual number of accidents involving left turns out of Trader Joe’s parking lot? If not, this is a solution looking for a problem. If a person doesn’t feel “safe” making a left turn, they can go right and make a u turn or take Florsitan to Waldran, make a right on Townsend and turn left at the light. Takes only a minute more if that makes you feel better. Take ownership of your own safety!

    • Seriously. This is the panic brigade. The councilman’s quote that started it all was ““People looking to make a left turn out of [the lot] don’t look to the right for pedestrians, and usually just drive right across the sidewalk without stopping.”

      Nice generalization about a very quite non-pedestrian heavy stretch of Colorado.

      • DwnTwnAtty: Please define “very quite non-pedestrian.” That sidewalk is used heavily by school kids, parents, and everyone who goes to TJ’s and parks on Floristan. Perhaps there are sidewalks in DwnTwn that are busier, but for Eagle Rock, this one is very quite pedestrian.

        • Yes, been almost run over by drivers looking left several times. Turn right, take Floristan, make first right to Townsend, take another right and make your left turn at the light!

          • eastsidearts, maybe you should get your head out of your iphone and pay attention a bit before walking by this death trap of a parking lot.

          • DwnTwnAtty:

            Yes, pedestrians must be vigilant on sidewalks because drivers don’t care to look before they cross the sidewalks and yield as required by law. Love the logic.

          • Haha DTWNbatty, I never walk and use my phone. Distracted drives, peds and cyclists: all bad.

  14. The only accident I’ve ever had in LA is when someone hit me as I tried to enter this TJ’s parking lot. They were turning left out of the parking lot only watching the oncoming traffic paying no attention if anyone was right in front of them in the turn lane. Crunch, right into the side of my car! Definitely needs some better thinking.

  15. Once I discovered Super King, I only shop at TJs for my shampoo. The produce at SK is fresher and a LOT cheaper.

  16. wanna know the REAL issue in Eagle Rock? ALMA LODGE BUMS

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