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Echo Park’s steep streets to be made one-way to combat Waze traffic

Residents say Dodger game day traffic has worsened with Waze

Echo Park  —  Sections of two of the city’s steepest streets– Baxter and Fargo — will be made into one-way roadways in the wake of  increased traffic congestion and accidents blamed on drivers using Waze and other navigation apps.

The Department of Transportation said today that one-way signage and additional stop signs could go up as soon as next week.

While no mention was made of Waze, the changes were announced following recent stories about Baxter Street, where rush hour traffic jams have been reported on the narrow, residential roadway with a 33% grade. Fargo Street, which by some accounts is even more steep than Baxter, is located one block south.

The transportation department as well as Council District 13 have been under pressure from residents who have been seeking relief from traffic for the past two years.

“There have also been many crashes and instances of property damage reported,” said the department’s announcement. “All these factors contributed to a major safety concern for residents, emergency vehicle access, and those using the roadway.”

Here’s a rundown of the upcoming changes:

  • Baxter Street between Allesandro Street and North Alvarado Street will be converted to a one-way street in the westbound direction.
  • Baxter Street between North Alvarado Street and Lake Shore Avenue will be converted to a one-way street in the eastbound direction.
  • Fargo Street between Allesandro Street and North Alvarado Street will also be converted to a one-way street going westbound.
  • Cove Avenue between Cerro Gordo Street and Lake Shore Avenue will also be converted to a one-way street going eastbound.
  • Two stop signs will be added to Lake Shore Avenue at Baxter Street, making the intersection a four-way stop.

In addition to the one-way conversion, right turns will be restricted from Alvarado Street onto Baxter Street between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday, said the department.

The  transportation department said it will notify the companies that operate navigation systems, like Waze, about the changes.

In addition, Council District 13 said it was working to increase increase patrols in the area to enforce the new restrictions.  “I share in the frustration of residents with drivers utilizing narrow, hillside residential streets for cut-through traffic, especially one as steep as Baxter,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell in a statement.

Map shows placement of new signage and one-way streets

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21 comments

  1. I’m not sure how well this will work, though it certainly will make it more difficult for locals. It seems to me a far better solution would be for Los Angeles to pass a law making it illegal for navigation programs to route through-traffic on streets designated as non-arterial.

    Such a law would save every residential area from this plague, even the ones which have yet to organize and complain.

    • Public streets are public. Not just for you.

      • Yeah, that’s a completely useless response. This is about safety, in addition to the hell that the residents have been put through. There is no absolute right in this world. When the public safety is being threatened by people abusing a public ‘right’, then changes are made. That’s the way it works.

        • Won’t it be funny if the complaining residents then use Waze to cut through other neighborhoods?

          I’d rather see the tax dollars being used to actually fix commuter traffic issues rather than complain about every Tom, Dick and Harry that decides to start a navigation app company.

  2. It’s blatantly obvious that the state and municipal governments are the real culprits in this whole mess. Clean up your list of priorities and recognize that Waze and Google Maps are unbiased and doing motorists as well as city planners a *favor*.

    These apps are exposing throughfares/arteries for being anything but their intended purpose. Alvarado and Glendale Blvd are just a mess. Turn all of Glendale Blvd into a viaduct to mitigate the need for traffic to cross from Downtown through the 2/5 highway on-ramp. There is a significant amount of highway traffic that exits the northbound 110 at 3rd only to drive through Echo Park to get back on the highway at the top of Glendale Blvd.

    This is obviously a mistake by city planners. LA needs to shut the politicians up and get some actual world class civil engineers to take on legacy issues.

    • Thank you! I agree. They’re focusing on the wrong problem. They are making it even harder for locals all because they screwed up the Glendale/Alvarado intersection in the early 00s. Make Glendale/Alvarado work again (right-hand Alvarado traffic should be allowed to flow while the Alvarado light is on for example. and they should put back the southbound left turn lane for Berkeley. or even better- just put in a Roundabout. They need to olve the real problem instead of continuing to add driving restrictions all over the place that just pushes traffic to some other residential neighborhood. Forget about the 710 freeway tunnel. We could use a 2 freeway tunnel right here.

    • Just bulldoze more of the neighborhood to build more freeways, huh? That’s not exactly what the residents want either.

      • Its what the “newbies “ want so they can feel comfortable in their over priced Echo Park homes and complain about how awful everything is … oh the humanity , traffic ! Cars! Oh my ! Rich people problems . Echo Park is just an enclave now of rich crybbabies that want everything perfect so their houses their daddies bought them cash can forever be just perfect .

    • Wow,. how to unpack this? First off, you haven’t got the slightest hint of the history of the 2/5-101 debacle that was visited on the residents a couple of decades ago. The city decided to build the 2 fwy without working with the affected communities. They then bought up homes and land in EP/SL, so that they could bulldoze the final stretch of the 2 through the hills adjacent to Glendale-Alvarado. The residents rebelled and finally got that part of the 2 fwy plan rescinded. However, LADOT decided they’d then just dump the freeway traffic onto Glendale Blvd – not a solution that anyone wanted. It’s a nightmare. And now all those people are trying to get onto the 101 via city streets, but want to avoid Glendale-Alvarado and Silver Lake Blvd. – therefore, they go over the hills. I’ve lived in those hills for nearly 2 decades, and with the advent of Waze and Google Maps, people are given those routes as ‘shortcuts’ to avoid traffic. These streets can’t handle that kind of traffic. There’s no ‘exposure’ of existing problems – the apps cause over 50% of the problem. I’m not saying that the issues didn’t exist before the apps, but I *am* saying that the apps caused those issues to go nuclear. Try living on one of those streets and see if you’re so casual about the problem. I lived on Benton Way for 15 years and moved due to the dense and dangerous rush hour traffic that bookended every work week day. These people are frustrated and frantic and don’t stop for stop signs, for kids on bikes, for pedestrians or dog walkers. And the humps on Benton Way? A joke – four cars flipped over on Benton Way because of high speeds, just in our first year. Now the street has been slurried so much in the last decade that the humps are mere ‘suggestions’, shadows of their former selves.

  3. This is going to be a big mess for us residents that need these streets to go to the store, work, etc. The traffic is going to end up on Lemoyne Street and Cerro Gordo I’m afraid. The navigation apps are the problem not just here but in other neighborhoods as well.

  4. Missing in these changes is a restriction on dangerous left turns from Glendale Blvd. both North and Southbound to Clifford St.

  5. Is Mitch to blame for this crap? Or who is?

    WHAT A JOKE! Gotta love the inability of local government to solve these problems by creating even more problems.

    Cheers and thanks for always making it so obvious how absurdly bad your problem solving skills are.

  6. This change is too dynamic to judge yet. I live on Bater and part of me is like yay, fewer cars! And part of me is like ug, Now I got to wait in that fab new traffic jamb at EPA and Morton every morning. Also they could have solved it very easily by simply forcing WAZE to throw up a little yellow triangle saying “Sub-standard STEEP Street!” Most people who get stuck on the hill say they would never have tried it, if they had known how steep it was…. Yes to Waze, but with better info.

  7. “Right turns will be restricted from Alvarado Street onto Baxter Street between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday”

    Hmm. Doesn’t say if this is from both directions on Alvarado, but either way, it means that some folks who live on Baxter will not even be able to drive to their houses between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays. I don’t see how this is tenable.

  8. Dodger Neighbor

    I want video of an LAPD motor cop pulling over someone who turned right between 4 to 7. Where will the car pull over? Half-way up Baxter? After the top, so the next car can rear-end it? How will the motor officer set up for the next stop, since it’s a one way street?

    • Won’t happen. Or maybe it will, for the cameras. Once those have gone home, the cops disappear. They’ve stopped speed and light traps in our area, for some reason. We used to have motorcycle cops stationed near Duane, to catch the morning idiots who always turn left at SL Blvd (and frequently flip off pedestrians crossing at the light). Same goes for the cops who used to patrol Benton Way, catching speeders who blew through the stop sign at Scott. Apparently, the cops don’t have any interest in maintaining safety in our neighborhoods any more. I discussed this with a motorcycle cop recently, and he said that they didn’t have the budget to do these kinds of things any more – same goes for regular patrols through the neighborhood. Wow. So, what *do* they have the budget for?

  9. alison plesset

    More traffic will be routed in front of Clifford St School. With the Kite Hill project blocking Lake Shore we might end up with a real traffic mess here in Elysian Heights.

  10. Ughhh…what a disaster is right! Echo Park Avenue is a nightmare in the mornings with the traffic often backing up past Lucretia. I can only imagine how much longer it will take me to get to Sunset. Lake Shore and Lemoyne are already clogged, too, and people drive way too fast on these narrows streets already. These new restrictions and one-way streets should make things even worse in Elysian Hills. People should be careful what they wish for as this seems likely to bring even more traffic headaches to our neighborhood.

    • Time will tell but my prediction is Landa will become the new Baxter.

      • I’ll be forced to take that route up Landa, or Lakeshore off Whitmore to get my daughter to school – both have many dangerous blind curves and are way too skinny for any more cars. Or go I’ll go up Duane and get stuck in traffic at the ridge of Alvarado. The eastbound direction up and over Baxter was never a problem I thought, why did they include that? Is there any movement to block this before it happens? Why not make a small fix (banning lefts up Baxter from Lakeshore at rush hour) and see what that does before screwing up the whole neighborhood?

  11. Between the non stop Ubers and lyfts and the fucking ways people traffic in general has gotten worse not better. But my main complaint is speed. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN in the neighborhoods. There are animals and kids and the rest of us to consider. Ive seen a lot more dead animals lately. Injured. Dead. There are more kids and skateboarders and bicyclists then ever. YOU HIT ONE AND YOU’RE FUCKED FOR LIFE. so SLOW DOWN. even at rush hour when you want to get home from your job. CRUISE.

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