By CECILIA PADILLA-BRILL
SILVER LAKE — Nina Sorkin was walking across Sunset Boulevard at Lucile Avenue when she found herself in the midst of traffic. The signal had turned red before Sorkin, who walks with a cane, could finish crossing the busy boulevard. “Since cars continue to go through the yellow and even the red light … a pedestrian loses some of the precious time allocated to cross,” she said. But Sorkin and other Silver Lake pedestrians might soon be getting a little bit more time to cross the road.
Sorkin’s incident prompted her to ask the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council about contacting city agencies to see if the crosswalk time could be increased at Sunset and Lucile and other nearby intersections. Sorkin’s idea came at the right time.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is conducting a city-wide review of how much time traffic signals give pedestrians to cross streets as part of new criteria implemented by the Federal Highway Administration.
Lisa Martellaro-Palmer, a spokeswoman for the LADOT, said that the new criteria would “slow down the walking pace” from 4 feet per second to 3.5 feet per second.
“This will allow pedestrians a longer period of time to cross the street,” Martellaro-Palmer said in an email. “We are also upgrading our crosswalks to the highly visible continental crosswalks” to make pedestrian crossings more visible to drivers.
But pedestrians should still not expect to take their time crossing Sunset Boulevard or any other streets. Under the the slower walking pace being considered, pedestrians would get 21.7 seconds to cross 76-foot-wide Sunset Boulevard. That’s a whopping 2.7 more seconds than under the current city standard. But any extra time would be welcome by Sorkin and other pedestrians.
“I know that individuals with mobility issues like myself or even mothers crossing with strollers or small children … have difficulty crossing” under current conditions, Sorkin said in an email. “Extended walk time is needed.”
The following crosswalks in Silver Lake are under review by LADOT:
- Lucile Avenue and Sunset Boulevard
- Sanborn Avenue Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard
- Hyperion Avenue Sunset Boulevard
- Maltman Avenue Sunset Boulevard
- Micheltorena St.and Sunset Boulevard
- Descanso Drive and Sunset Boulevard
- Westerly Terrace and Sunset Boulevard
- Parkman Avenue and Sunset Boulevard
- Benton Way and Sunset Boulevard
This is just a partial list since LADOT is reviewing the entire City, which has more than 4,500 signalized intersections.
Cecilia Padilla Brill is a communications writer and journalist. She writes news, health, education and feature stories. Cecilia is currently working on her first novel. She has lived in Echo Park since 1999
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