Friday, October 21, 2016

Prepare to make a stop at Echo Park Lake

echop park and laguna avenueECHO PARK — The intersection of Echo Park and Laguna avenues is a busy crossroads. About 10,000 cars and trucks a day zip along Echo Park Avenue while many pedestrians cross at Laguna as they come and go to Echo Park Lake, church services and the DASH bus stop.  Now, in a move to make the intersection safer, the city will be spending $215,000 to install a traffic signal at the Echo Park and Laguna.

A request for a traffic signal by Council District 13 and an Angeleno Heights resident prompted the Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study of the intersection. During a mid-day hour, 123 pedestrians were seen using the marked crosswalk, according to the study results. Meanwhile, 953 vehicles passed through Echo Park and Laguna during the same hour.

The study revealed that the marked crosswalk was also busy on weekends, when Echo Park Lake and the Cathedral Center of St. Paul  at the corner attract many visitors. “Therefore,” according to a department study, “the installation of a traffic signal is justified to promote the safe and orderly movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic at this location.”

Department spokeswoman said the work to install the traffic signals will begin in November.

echo park and laguna map

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  1. With all the new stop signs in the neighborhood, why not start with a less expensive stop sign? Or maybe one or two police to check on how people often cruise through stop signs and/or pedestrians in crosswalks?

  2. Courtney Robertson

    I can just imagine the extra traffic back up now… with congestion along the road from people not knowing how to parallel park and the influx of cars crossing sunset, a light seems impractical and inefficient. Extra delays and back ups that will bleed into the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

    A stop sign would ensure steady movement AND safe passage for pedestrians.

    • Into surrounding residential neighborhoods .. or .. you know .. Glendale Blvd, one block away.

      • Echo Park Avenue is where the freeway entrance and exit is, not at Glendale Boulevard. People coming from/going to Elysian Heights, Angelino Heights, and the Sunset area east will use Echo Park Avenue to the freeway, not a notably longer route with several extra turns and very thick rush hour traffic via Glendale Avenue.

        But yes, the stop sign will cause that traffic to back up on Echo Park Avenue in particular, but also to some degree on Laguna.

        But I must shout: this reeks of corruption. How can it possibly cost $215,000 to screw a $25 piece of metal into a wooden post and put it in the ground?! Even if you add in the price of the (false) “study,” that, as best as can be figured out from the story, was only for one hour (which is why I called it false, as a real study is over a much longer period!).

        • Because it is not one sign, it is 3 signs, plus striping, plus traffic control and detour set ups during striping and installation, plus changing various records and maps, plus insurance for the construction work, plus altering the current striping and lines in place now.
          And there has to be a certain amount of engineering done to make the plans for the site, in order to gain certain liability protections. And safety plans that govern the work itself.

        • It’s $200k for traffic lights, not stop signs (a bit more complicated than mounting a sign to a poll in the ground.)

          Obviously a stop sign would be much cheaper, but like you say, at rush hour it’ll slow traffic a lot more than traffic lights (which will be controlled by the city’s computers to keep traffic flowing to/from the freeway.)

        • A “traffic signal” means a light, not a stop sign. Perhaps you should take the time to actually read and comprehend the article before you comment.

    • I’ve never understood why LA drivers act so outraged when traffic stops and backs up for a few seconds while someone is parallel parking their car or whatever?

      These are urban streets: people stop to parallel park, they cross the street mid-block, they take the lane on bikes, they make random u-turns, double-park, slow to a crawl to read street signs, etc.

      None of this is unusual. Have you been to other cities?

      • A few seconds? It sure sounds like you are not an LA driver and not familiar with this stretch of road, yet it’s great to have your two cents here.

        Let’s discuss the intersection — not where someone has or has not been.

        • Drove on this stretch, this street daily for five years. When the park was being renovated it could be a little jamm-y and obviously the DASH bus can be a pain, but I’ve never really had a problem. I’m not corner soul, just trying to be a voice of reason.

          On the flipside, I have tried to cross the street here on foot and it can be tricky. Keep in mind that a signal doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be red more often than not, just that people will now be able to trigger a red light if they need to cross the street.

          Don’t get so bent out of shape about a light, man. Even if it’s a minute it’s not the end of the world. I live around the top of Echo Park Ave and have had a number of new stop signs posted, and I think it’s great. It’s a neighborhood, it’s next to a park and a busy church. Chill out.

          • Thanks for jumping in, Ben. My vote is for stop signs. For this intersection, which gets hardly any cross traffic there, but plenty of foot traffic, it would be a cheaper and more effective solution.

          • Stop signs you have to stop at every time regardless of crossing traffic. My guess is this light will always be green unless someone hits the crossing button. It’s not like there’s a ton of people coming off of Laguna at rush hour.

          • People should understand that all these lights are now automatically controlled, individually, by a central computer system. (E.g., http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/01/inside_las_super_cool_traffic_light_control_system.php) The control system is pretty fine-grained, allowing individual lights to stay green longer to allow buses to catch up to schedule — among many, many, other features.

            If you are observant, you can notice these patterns changing. For instance, traffic stops longer for peds to cross an arterial street (walk button pressed) than the time given for cars to make a left turn onto the same arterial (magnetic loop triggered). And, you can observe differences in cycle times and light coordination to slow traffic down during school open/close times versus noon-time or evening hours — only for lights near some schools.

            My reason for bringing this up is that this stoplight could easily be tied in to the other nearby lights to allow synchronized greens for normal car traffic, unless a ped is crossing, in which case the light cycle could alter to allow the crossing to be made.

            I think some commenters are thinking these lights are rather simplistic. That’s not the case, and a stoplight should permit much smoother traffic flow than a stop sign.

        • @Aaron Proctor: This is a neighborhood street with a church on one corner and a park on the other. People of all walks need to be able to cross here, and a traffic light will make that safer and more convenient.

          I’d be cool with a 4-way stop sign too (def cheaper!) But that would surely back up traffic more than a light. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume you don’t actually want that (even if it saves the taxpayers a hundred grand or so.)

          Also, FWIW, I’m an LA native, born and raised. I’ve been driving/walking/cycling these streets most of my life. But I guess I just don’t have that “LA driver” sense of entitlement that seems to turn otherwise friendly Angelenos into impatient sociopaths the minute they get behind the wheel.

          Keep in mind we have an alarming number of pedestrian fatalities every year in this city… we clearly don’t know how to design safe streets. Maybe looking at what other cities (with safer records) are doing isn’t such a terrible idea?

          • Thanks for making all kinds of assumptions. That’s really constructive.

            The first comment here of mine (http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2015/07/prepare-to-make-a-stop-at-echo-park-lake/#comment-5770057) is a vote for a stop sign.


          • Well to be fair, you made an assumption about me upthread. My bad if I offended you… I’m just tired of all the senseless death and carnage on our streets, and think things need to change.

            And like I said, no argument here against a 4-way stops sign. The more traffic calming, the better from where I’m sitting. But that would certainly cause more congestion at rush hour than a signal… I imagine that’s why the DOT is opting for the light (higher cost notwithstanding.)

          • @Aaron:

            So many logical responses to your trolling and you keep going — I didn’t really see any brash response from corner soul that warranted your sarcastic drivel. You’re killin’ it! Why quit when you’re on top, amiright?!

        • SORRY Aaron — but you really are wrong and a know it all it seems….. Who cares what the light costs you think at the end of the day it matters? I do agree with everyone else except AARON – THANKS EVERYONE

          • Courtney Robertson

            Hey there. Someone having an opinion does not make them wrong. It’s a different way of looking at the same problem. To say so definitively that he is wrong and you are right might make it easy to make the case that you are acting like a know it all.

            And to play devil’s advocate, I think it’s perfectly OK to question costs… especially in a city where so many taxes are taken and so many roads are randomly left unsafe while others are given over $200,000 in safety measures. What about the other side of EPA where motorists drive down streets with many blind curves at excess of 40 mph regularly? What about hundreds of other residential areas just like that? I think it’s responsible to question expenditures when we hear so often there’s not money to put in various repairs and measures for many areas and not others. That question doesn’t make anyone wrong, it puts it out there in the public and brings awareness.

            Perhaps we should all stop attacking one another and at least give people the space to make a comment. Not everyone has to agree with you to be treated with respect.

            Thanks 🙂

    • Uh, no. The world is not your cut-through. A few seconds of travel time AT WORST during peak is likely the only thing that will result, small tradeoff to make the intersection a lot safer.

    • I stop sign that motorists blow through or ignore will not make things much safer for pedestrians.

  3. This is good news!

  4. Now if only they could do something like this on Glendale Blvd! There’s only one signalized crossing along the entire length of the lake.

    • There are 3 actually. One at the corner of Bellvue and Glendale, one at Sant Ynez, and one at Lake.

      • Yes, I’m aware of that – I intentionally left out the ones at either end when I said “along the length of the lake”. To elaborate on my point, the stretch between Bellvue and Santa Inez is well over a quarter mile without a safe crossing, especially as cars frequently travel at 45 mph along there. There used to be a painted crosswalk at the bottom of the Clinton Steps until it was eliminated some time ago.

        I often see pedestrians (especially on the weekends) taking their lives into their hands trying to get across four lanes of speeding traffic on Glendale. If you take a close look at the park on the Glendale Blvd side, you’ll see that there are a couple of entrances to the park that line up with the Clinton and Kent St. steps. These would be natural locations for crosswalks to facilitate the use of the park by people who live on the west of the park, or people that park on Glendale Blvd.

  5. How GREAT! This is a very dangerous corner, especially if you are traveling from Laguna Ave to EPA. It’s blind.

    If every single-occupancy driver found another way to transport (bus, bike, carpool) ONE day a week… there would be 20% less cars on the road.


  6. Michael O'Brien

    Isa-Kae will be so pleased!

  7. Long overdue at this very busy intersection. A few seconds delay to make EP safer is fine by me.

  8. I’m the resident who requested this signal. Very happy to see the shared sentiment in this thread! Those of you complaining about it have probably never been almost clipped trying to cross this intersection on foot. Sorry that pedestrian safety is more important than shaving a few seconds off your commute, you bozos

    • Courtney Robertson

      I was thinking of staying out of this, but just to throw it out there: I don’t see any comments from anyone stating that there should be NOTHING done with the corner. I think everyone agrees it’s hard to see people and something should be done.

      The two opinions I see are 1) there should be a light and 2) perhaps there’s a better use of taxpayer money that benefits BOTH pedestrians and taxpayers etc.

      Perhaps we should lay off the name calling and read a little closer. No one is in favor of more pedestrian carnage here.

      Thanks 🙂

      • although i’ll agree that calling other people “bozos” isn’t necessarily productive, it does feel good!

        i just wish people would calm down. there’s a lot of city spending that’s worth complaining about, but complaining about spending money to protect pedestrians? after an official DoT traffic study confirmed the need for a traffic signal? we don’t even know what type of signal it will be, but suddenly everyone has a degree in city planning

        • Courtney Robertson

          Just an opinion based on my own feelings about how effective I see other similar corners operate and how many other areas the city seems to not have money for. No one’s claiming expertise. Well, at least I’m not. Can’t speak for others.

          No matter who’s right or wrong a light is going in and hopefully people will feel more safe. Felt good to share my opinion too – guess we all have different ideas on how to do that as well 🙂

      • Fair enough.

        I’d prefer a stop sign too. It would be cheaper to implement, freeing up money to paint high-visibility zebra crosswalks at all three corners (maybe even some form of sidewalk extensions to discourage speeding?)

        But a stop sign would certainly be worse for rush hour traffic congestion, since 90% of cars at that time are driving to/from the 101 (not Angeleno Heights or the Lake.) Those freeway commuters would all be forced to stop every time they pass through, even when there’s no pedestrians or cross traffic to speak of.

        On the other hand, a light can be synced by the city’s traffic management computers to keep cars and buses moving during peak hours (with push buttons for foot traffic.) It just ain’t cheap!

        But maybe you had something else in mind?

        • Courtney Robertson

          No other idea. Except perhaps a flashing crosswalk to draw car’s attention so they actually look (I’m the biggest fan of those both as a driver and as a pedestrian)… mostly because I live very close to the lights that push Dodger traffic through the residential streets… and syncing both at peak hours AND at normal hours seems to be something the city is capable of but rarely cares to do.

          Perhaps though, they will make this one worth it.

          … still think though a crosswalk would be a better win from all angels. But hey, I’m not a city planner 🙂

  9. Plus there is a food bank on Friday mornings with a-lot of slower seniors crossing to the bus stop. The yupster a-holes won’t stop for anyone.

  10. don’t you guys have anything better to complain about?

  11. As A landlord in this area, i only see it as property increase. TY

  12. This is a good thing. There have been at least 3 stop signs added going up EP Ave since I moved in 20-some years ago. They have made the neighborhood safer for pedestrians. This will do the same.

  13. Why not a pedestrian bridge, or tunnel? Then everyone gets home safely and seven seconds earlier!

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