Glassell Park weighs in as Fletcher Drive is put on a road diet

fletcher road diet

GLASSELL PARK — Supporters and opponents of “road diets” are making their voices heard after work began on reducing the number of traffic lanes on Fletcher Drive in an effort to improve safety, according to NBC 4.

The road diet will cut the number of traffic lanes for motor vehicles from four to two (one in each direction) for much of Fletcher north of San Fernando Road. The extra space will be used to create bike lanes and a landscaped median as part of a several safety and “traffic calming” measures (see the list below).

Officials say the main purpose of the project is to improve safety for pedestrians, especially for the students walking to and from Irving Middle School and Fletcher Drive Elementary, in part by slowing speeding traffic.

But even those who want a safer environment for students said the project has already caused more congestion after restriping reduced the number of traffic lanes.  “It’s worse than before,” one Fletcher Drive Elementary parent told NBC 4.

Kelly Hargraves said what’s happening on Fletcher reminds her of what happened to Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake, where a road diet is credited with improving safety but also blamed for worsening traffic congestion.  NBC 4 said she moved out of Silver Lake because of the Rowena road diet. She told NBC 4:

“I think I had a little bit of road-diet refuge post-traumatic stress syndrome because I  lived through the Silver Lake one.”

A newsletter from Council District 13 said the project will include:

  • Two lanes of traffic (one in each direction)
  • Two bike lanes (one in each direction)
  • Two landscaped medians
  • The majority of parking on both sides of Fletcher will be kept
  • Sidewalk rehabilitation and curb repair
  • Installation of 19 access ramps
  • Left turn lane at Estara Avenue leading into the schools and surrounding community.

The project is expected to be completed this fall.

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  1. Great, this will connect Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Glassell Park with the L.A. River path. So many cylists on Fletcher already.

  2. And they didnt think of undergrounding the hideous overhead wires? That alone would make more of a difference aesthetically than every other item combined.

    • Edison uses the excuse that burying the lines would be hazardous because of California’s earthquake proclivity. I’d like to take a chainsaw to the poles then talk about “hazards”

      • I imagine burying electrical lines would cost a pretty penny compared with re-striping the road and fixing buckling sidewalks. The poles may be unsightly to some, but if they’re functioning properly, then it seems like a pretty low priority when you consider the massive backlog of deferred infrastructure maintenance in Los Angeles (or our horrible record on traffic safety, which explains this project.)

  3. So very dumb. This will save a total of zero people’s lives, prevent zero injuries, and just slow people trying to get where they need to go for not other reason than a vague notion that constricting traffic flow improves…something.. I love you LA, but sometimes I want to slap you so hard.

    • Perhaps you’d like a little data to go with your speculation?

      • These reports are not based on LA traffic. The road diets in LA have caused insane traffic. Fletcher is already congested especially at San Fernando road. There has to be other solutions that don’t make it even more impossible to get anywhere in rush hour.

        • LADOT considers the reduction in injury collisions on Rowena to be significiant.

          • Of course, when traffic is brought to a stand-still at rush hour or a maximum of 5 mph, and that now stretching all the way down Hyperion to King Middle School. And, wasn’t there just an accident on the news on one of the side streets around there that involved what is now balk of traffic diverted to side streets trying to get around Rowena? How many accidents on other streets has the Rowena diet caused?

          • Good point J.W! What a sad bunch of entitled, impatient people we have become!

          • That’s not true. At the same spot where that girl was killed which is what spurred the road diet on Rowena, another guy was hit a year later. The issue wasn’t traffic or speeding cars. The issue was light, there isn’t enough light on that stretch. People crossing the street to get to their cars from the bar are not seen in the crosswalk. Doesn’t matter how many lanes there are, cars don’t see those people. Why are they crossing there? Because the establishment doesn’t have enough PARKING!

        • There is no solution to traffic as evidence by the fact that every major metropolis even those with the most sophisticated transit networks, suffer from traffic.

          The only solution is to stop using traffic and congestion and benchmarks for how we plan and grow as a city. We will never build our way out of traffic, we can only plan on how to better move about our city.

          You should consider advocating for pedestrian scaled improvements that make it easier for people to move, explore and navigate our city instead of machines that literally destroy our city.

          • Indeed. If adding more lanes fixed traffic, than LA would have none. Our city has more road capacity than other big cities could ever dream of. And terrible traffic nonetheless.

            The solution to congestion in an urban environment is not to build wider roads, but rather to intensify development. Shorten the distances between housing, stores, jobs, institutions, etc. so less people feel compelled to drive across the entire region everyday.

          • Hear hear! Remember Carmageddon when they closed the 405 and for one weekend everybody ditched their cars and stayed local? There’s a reason why walk scores are such a big factor in home sales, and why a lot of people are choosing the eastside as apposed to farther out in the suburbs.

        • Various California streets were included in that study, with a 19% reduction in collisions. Pasadena actually had an increase in traffic capacity as they were able to remove a traffic signal, after the road was narrowed and a pedestrian island was added in the median. Santa Monica is in that study as well (much worse traffic than NELA.)

          Here’s another recent study re: York (23% reduction in collisions):

          Perhaps you should do a little research before making baseless assumptions like “road diets in LA have caused insane traffic.” Have they? Or are you simply getting from point A to point B a few seconds later, and overreacting because now you can’t just blow through someone’s neighborhood at 45mph with impunity. And since when was a neighborhood street supposed to function solely as a high speed cut-through highway for impatient commuters. What about the safety and property values of the immediate neighborhood?

          Bottom line is your personal experience is subjective. The number of collisions, daily traffic counts and average travel speeds are not. If a road diet saves just one life, is it not worth adding 15 seconds to your commute? If not, then how many lives?

          • Oh please! Have you been on Rowena and the surrounding streets during rush hour!? This will only create an even huger cluster-f%ck for this part of Silver Lake. Not all of us can ride a bike everywhere (such as the elderly and disabled) so how about making it a bus or trolley lane so we can ease congestion???? These bike lanes are rarely used.

    • Hopefully you’ll do a better job of informing yourself, for everybody’s sake and safety.

  4. Getting across the LA River & 5 fwy from HLP/Eagle Rock is already a disaster in the morning. Why make it more and more difficult for people to get to their jobs?

  5. Very disappointed in the way this article was written. You only highlighted the negative, This will improve safety concerns for everyone, Traffic was like a speedway there. That woman suffering by commuting her children should rethink priorities, perhaps enrolling them in her community school.

    • Traffic was not a speedway there, I go on it, that just is not so. Why is it that proponents claim traffic is a “speedway” or going like a freeway on every last street in Los Angeles? They say it about every last street that is ever mentioned.

      • Ever tried to cross the street mid-block, or at a crosswalk without a signal in LA? You’re essentially taking your life into your hands.

        • the ghost of DJ Bento Box

          Yes, because crossing anywhere in LA that doesn’t have a signal is tanamount to Russian Roulette. Seriously, enough with the hyperbole. You don’t need to use every doomsday scenario to push your agenda.

          • Check the stats: LA County is number one in the country for pedestrian fatalities, and by a wide margin. 207 pedestrians in 2014 alone… and they say nobody walks in LA.

          • Compare that to NYC. Pedestrians everywhere, and they had 132 pedestrian deaths that same year.

          • Hyperbole? Are you not aware of the law that pretty much every intersection, including unsignaled and unmarked, is considered a pedestrian crossing?

            “21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to
            a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or
            within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise
            provided in this chapter.”


          • “Yes, because crossing anywhere in LA that doesn’t have a signal is tanamount to Russian Roulette.”

            More disturbing is that you can’t even imagine that this might even be remotely problematic.

        • Its illegal to cross at midblock other than on a residential side street at least 500 feet from a commercial area.

          I’ve been crossing the streets for many decades, I’ve never had a problem. But if its too much for you, then yes, walk a block down to there the is a signal. Yes, enough of the hyperbole.

          I don’t know whether those stats you quote about pedestrian deaths are valid or not, but nonetheless, you are comparing apples and oranges. Los Angeles County is the size of states back East. A per capita comparison would be a better comparison, and event hat would need to be considered in conjunction with other factors.

          • Adjusted per capita, wouldn’t the LA/NYC stats just look that much worse for us?

            Here’s another article from 2012: NYC with 127 pedestrian deaths, City of LA with 99 pedestrian deaths. Geographically, City of LA ain’t that much bigger than NYC (once you subtract the mountains running through the middle of LA City limits.)

            Yet, NYC has more than double our population, I imagine just as many cars, and who knows how many more pedestrians (10x perhaps? venture to guess?)

            Our streets are clearly unsafe and unpleasant for walking… how anyone could argue otherwise is beyond me. Have you been outside today?

          • JW: “Its illegal to cross at midblock other than on a residential side street at least 500 feet from a commercial area. ”

            Where is this from? It isn’t from the vehicle code. Stop making things up, please.

  6. This is terrible news, this is my route and I take this road to and from to get my kids from school.
    All these road diets are causing more congestion and not making it easy for families.

    • I’m so sorry that it’ll take you and a handful of other parents a few minutes longer to drop you kids off at school at the expense of safety for all those pedestrians and bikers that use this stretch of fletcher everyday. Priorities!

      • If a bunch of bikers actually were to start using it – they have not on any of the other bike lanes, it is very uncommon to see a biker despite the false assertions by bike proponents — then you will find it is far, far more dangerous to bikers. No one in their right mind would put any lane, especially a bike lane, to the right of right-turning traffic. That common sense is even written in to the state Vehicle Code, which bars a right turn from other than the right-most traffic lane unless otherwise posted.

  7. HLP resident and parent

    I drove Fletcher this morning at 8:12am and traffic was moving at the speed limit, 25mph with a single lane in each direction. No back up on Fletcher. Slow down, relax and enjoy the neighborhood you are driving through.

  8. Bike lanes are needed all across the city. That’s just the way it is. I haven’t found Rowena to be that much of a hassle. So it take me a few extra minutes to get to trader joe’s. So what. There’s plenty of ways around traffic like knowing the city like the back of your hand or simply not driving in it. It’s the price we pay for living in a city built on the idea of infinite growth.

    • the ghost of DJ Bento Box

      Ah! So by your rationale because there are more bicyclists now, the car culture that has exisited in LA for 70+ years should simply “stop driving”? Or take alternate routes through residential neighborhoods not built for traffic because the bicyclists need the main thoroughfares?

      Yeah. That makes sense.

      • It’s pretty basic geometry actually: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3402/3342003343_40b32098cd_o.png

        Cars take up a lot of physical space. Physical space is in short supply in our growing city. Driving should be an option, not a requirement.

        • the ghost of DJ Bento Box

          Unfortunately in a city as spread out as this, driving is a requirement. Does your geometry explain how people with cars driving from the OC or the IE into LA for work do it? or vice versa? And don’t give me some option that will take 20 years to build and implement. Because for everyone with families driving to work and school now, caring about some bike lanes or public transportation for the future just isn’t as important as you’d like to believe. LA is car culture. It always has been. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. It just is.

          So give some real-time fixes for an overcrowded city that relies on autos as completely as we do, as opposed to hyperbole and exaggeration to push your agenda. .

          • Real time solution: build more housing in LA where the jobs are; create more jobs in IE and OC where those commuters are.

            Do you honestly think other world cities plan their local streets around commuters from other counties?

          • No matter what you do in LA, the outlying areas will always be cheaper, they are priced comparatively. So, the less affluent people will always live out there.

          • There are ZERO people from OC and IE that drive through this section of Fletcher on their commute to work.

  9. Duh, it AIN’T the traffic, it’s the DRIVERS – and cyclists! So, when does L.A. wake up to the idea of driving or cycling like a concerned human being? NOT in YOUR lifetime. I’m just waiting to see the cyclists texting as the zip into traffic.

    • the ghost of DJ Bento Box

      Bern, I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with you, but in this instance I absolutely do. Just an FYI… im a 100% automobile user. I don’t ride a bike, I don’t plan on starting and I’m certainly never going to ride one to work. But in saying that, i don’t really have a dog in this fight. There are enough bicyclists now that there should absolutely be some sort of measures taken for them to commute safely. But are there now or will there ever be enough to constitute “road diets” and overall roadway change? In my opinion, absolutely not.

      The real problems all start and end with both sides self-involved, entitled, douchey attitudes toward the issue and one another. Being born and raised in LA and driving it’s streets, I’ve seen bicyclists mean mug, surround, kick at and cut in front of cars for whatever reason and I’ve seen cars deliberately cut off and force off to the shoulders or into traffic bicyclists. The roads can absolutely be shared now pretty much as is. Fixing the crap attitudes of the people most involved in the debate is the real problem and the thing preventing real solutions.

  10. Glassell Park mom

    I’m thrilled. We are reversing the backwards paradigm of car is king. Neighborhoods should be safe places to traverse at a human speed, not a raceway to speed through. We live by the park, and now may be able to comfortably walk to the farmers market at Fletcher square with dog and stroller whereas we wouldn’t dare before. The street is barren and traffic moved too quickly. My husband even got into a car accident there. Please keep up the good work CD 13. There are many supporters as you can see!!

  11. Glassel park resident

    Hopefully one day someone will use a bike lane

  12. Councilman O’farell has done a terrific job of looking out for our community and making this a safe place for kids and parents to walk to school. I’m glad to see the changes!!

    • O’Farrell is 110% sold out to developers – he is the most sold of of all the city council members. He has taken enormous amounts of money from developers, and you see he ignoring his constituents at every turn to push through the most egregious overdevelopment. He doesn’t care whether bike lanes are actually used, they go in so they can be pointed to to claim the severe overdevelopment will have no impact on traffic.

      • Um…..”IW” JW”….

        you have of course followed along with the many zone changes Mr. “110%” has enacted? right?

        Downzone in Elysian Valley? 45 ft height limit to 30 ft? Downzone in Echo Park 75 ft. height limit to 45 ft.?
        A certain district of course preserved their 75 ft. height potential in Echo Park…

        Are you sure you are not confused, or addled?

        meanwhile in other districts, More is More!



  13. I am not a bike rider, but I feel the folks riding their bikes are making a difference in this city and deserve a better situation than currently exists. If I have to sit in traffic another hour, so be it. I drive a car and I’m doing NOTHING for the environment as far as my commute goes and I am not playing an active role in easing congestion. Honestly, the folks who ride their bikes are my heros. I actually would RIDE my bike if I felt the streets were safer for riders. More power to these riders. I’m behind this the entire way…..even if I have to sit in traffic as the bicyclists whiz by!!!


    1. I drive this route everyday for work….YES, it was backed up at 8:50 a.m. this morning (Tuesday Aug. 30)

    2. I RARELY IF EVER have seen bikers using fletcher….def did not see ONE this morning.

    3. This is NOT the solution for bikes and cars to get together……plus when it was two lanes it was plenty wide for cars and bikes. It is a wide street to begin with.

    4. Yes, I am very pro bike, but I drive this everyday and NEVER see bikes on this route.

    • Yes, exactly! I was just going to post the same thing regarding my commute on Fletcher this morning at 9:30am.

      • 90 extra seconds

        “Road diet” is not about bikes, but I bike through there all the time and have never seen either of you two.

        • Agree the road diet is about safety for pedestrians (and drivers as well). If the city got serious about bike lanes we’d have protected lanes that do more that extend for less than a mile.

  15. 90 extra seconds

    Great news! I’m glad this area can now become safer for everyone traversing it. I hope the business along this stretch prosper like the York/Colorado/Atwater, Los feliz have. I wish Gil Cedillo was as in tune with the neighborhood as O’farell is. Just think how much safer the Figueroa area in HP could be could be if Cedilla would have allowed the citys’ road plan to come to fruition, For some reason it seems Gil’s priorities are with the freeway alternate route/cut through drivers instead of the citizens who live in these areas. Hopefully no more people will be killed on this stretch before the road diet on Figueroa is implemented. Stop stonewalling Gil!

  16. Great news. The bike lanes need to be extended down Fletcher south of San Fernando to Glendale Blvd too. That would be safer for all the bikers on that route and for those of us driving that way every day.

  17. How about some simple enforcement of existing traffic laws in Los Angeles? Does the LAPD write any tickets for speeding, reckless driving or running stop signs/red lights? Seems the only tickets the city wants to write are for parking.

    Puts some cops on Fig and ticket some drivers. Cyclists/drivers obey traffic laws and pedestrians use common sense!

    • “Cyclists/drivers obey traffic laws and pedestrians use common sense!”

      I hope you mean this as advice but from what I see all across LA, cyclists rarely, if ever, stop at stop signs, only about half actually wear helmets and pretty much all I’ve seen recently have been wearing earbuds. Just saw a guy last week riding with no hands while texting going down Beverly Blvd. during rush hour.

      • Can we now trade anecdotes about poor driving skills? Because I have one or two. How about the driver that plowed into Cindy’s restaurant in Eagle Rock and literally took out the whole entryway, nearby booths, and surrounding windows?

        This kind of incident (car plows into building) has happened repeatedly in NELA, yet a subset of commenters here would rather complain about cyclists not wearing helmets.

  18. Fabian o'Phurrel

    Bicycle lane….???
    Those are used as the motorcycle lane.

  19. Everyone’s post have some validity and can be considered true, except for the point about people commuting to IE or Oc that has zero implications here.
    What everyone has failed to mention is the effect apps like Waze has on local routs through neighborhoods. These apps are bringing higher density during peak hours by people who are constantly looking at there phones causing anxiety and disdain from drivers stuck behind them. In addition the number of Uber drivers who have no concept of driving ettiquette go about like they are immune to normal traffic practices.
    Road dieting can alleviate those increases by making those routes no longer an option. Additional bike lanes can benefit local kids and parents alike, biking your kids to school improves the bond with your child and has proven health benefits so they can begin their day engaged. The obesity rates in LAUSD are embarrassing when compared to national statistics . More than half fail when it comes to body composition. The parents who drive them around are in the same boat with more than half of parents already far beyond healthy weight to height biometrics.
    Diabetes, cardiovascular, and respiratory complications are rampant among Latino communities ,which tend to be some of the most out spoken towards projects like this because of the implication of gentrification.
    Cities with strong biking communities feel terrible for LA , as the weather we have here enables anyone to ride all year long. Riding a bike gets people engaged on the street level, small businesses can benefit ,communities that embrace bikes lanes tend to see crime rates lowered. Exercise is a proven medication for depression, anxiety and a healthy state of mind.
    I am both a cyclist and a contractor so I sadly am too often stuck in my truck seeing the disdain by both motorist and cyclist play out on the daily.
    I think if the city came up with a tax exemption for people who begin riding their bikes you would see a momentous shift towards a more bycicle friendly city as well as bolstering bike shops profitability.

    • The point about Waze is very good. My neighborhood streets sometimes come up as a recommendation on Waze, and I see a stream of drivers coming by at some peak times. They tend to be impatient, and more likely to run stop signs, drive aggressively and over the speed limit, etc. It’s not surprising to see pushback in several forms, because these streets are not intended as cut-throughs, and they don’t function well that way.

  20. I cannot ride a bike because I work out of my car. I have daydreamed of hauling furniture from prop houses on my Public Bicycle… But alas: I took Fletcher to work the other day and stayed on my brakes from the bridge to San Fernando. This was one of the quickest ways to get to that side of town. Yes, there are side streets to take you over there faster. You better believe that people will use them as cut throughs! Everything between NELA and that side of town is a clusterf*ck.

  21. I live in Echo Park and and used to ride my bike to work in Glendale. I’ve pretty much quit doing it due to constant bike path closures, including about 5 months last year and now another 5 months this year, during week days, as well as all the construction in Glendale, and scary scary drivers. Rowena currently is MUCH scarier for bike riding because drivers are so aggressive and people are looking at their cell phones when they open their car doors. I also drive that way to TJ’s, and the traffic is crappy, and it must be shooting massive amounts of brake dust and exhaust over into the school yard, no?

    I do sometimes take Fletcher on my bike all the way to Eagle Rock blvd to visit friends – that stretch is pretty good as-is on my bike, don’t really see why this is needed. Traffic is stressful and polluting.

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