By CECILIA PADILLA-BRILL
LOS FELIZ — The Los Feliz Neighborhood Council is spearheading the most recent effort to improve the crazed crossroads where Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, Hillhurst and Virgil avenues and Sunset Drive meet.
It is a busy intersection where, on a typical weekday, an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles, 3,000 pedestrians and 400 cyclists cross paths. The traffic signals can take as long as 3.5 minutes to change – an eternity for those stuck in traffic.
Complicating matters and confusion is that several of the streets change names and even direction. Hillhurst becomes Virgil Avenue, and westbound drivers on Sunset Boulevard can find themselves on Hollywood Boulevard if they don’t change lanes. A 1987 L.A. Times story said it was the second most dangerous intersection in the city.
Now, after conducting a pair of surveys, the Los Feliz council is moving forward to champion ideas to improve conditions for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists while create a more inviting environment. Ideas range from planting more street trees and adding new signs to building a roundabout.
Survey results concluded that less than 19% of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists felt very safe using the intersection; 88% of drivers have observed other drivers who are confused at the intersection, and 34% of pedestrians reported that it takes 5 or more minutes to cross the intersection.
More trees in new and existing tree wells, crossing signals that synch with parallel car signals and arrows painted on car lanes were supported by a majority of those who took the survey.
Forty-four percent supported a request for further study by the LADOT to close one or both lanes of Sunset Drive and install a roundabout at the intersection, while 39% opposed the ideas and about 16% remained neutral. LFNC conducted the first survey in September 2014 with 131 respondents and held its final survey in March 2015 with 306 respondents.
LFNC will submit its final recommendations to Los Angeles City Council and Department of Transportation for further review. While the council lacks the funds and power to implement most of the ideas, it can make recommendations to appropriate city agencies.
“We are talking about little tweaks here and there to make it into a more functional, working intersection for everyone,” said Luke Klipp, chair of the transportation committee. “And then there are a couple of big ticket items…We just want to know what these things might look like.”
- Confusing Los Feliz intersection under study. Los Feliz Ledger
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