Sunset and ALvarado in Echo Park

Pedestrians waiting for a green light at Sunset and Alvarado in Echo Park.

Echo Park - Could a different kind of crosswalk help fix a dangerous intersection?

A “scramble crosswalk” is being suggested for the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado Street.  The arrangement would allow pedestrians to cross diagonally across the intersection in addition to the traditional crosswalks while vehicle traffic is halted in all directions.

A committee of the Echo Park Neighborhood Council has addressed a letter to the city’s Department of Transportation, saying this kind of crosswalk could potentially make it safer for pedestrians entering the busy crossroads.

“Given the number of adjacent entrances around all four corners of the intersection, pedestrians are at risk of collision from overtaxed drivers and in need of some method of securing their own right of way,” the letter to the DOT states.

The intersection is part of the city’s High Injury Network, with Sunset being particularly dangerous between Virgil and Bellevue avenues, and Alvarado being notably hazardous between Hoover Street and Glendale Boulevard.

“The safety of this intersection for pedestrians and bicyclists has been a point of conversation for many years,” said Muriel Nacar and Jesse Reyes, the co-chairs of the  council’s Public Safety, Public Works, Parks and Sustainability Committee. (Nacar and Reyes responded to The Eastsider in a joint statement.)

This kind of crosswalk is mentioned in the letter only as a potential solution, not as a definite prescription. But the letter notes that a scramble sidewalk drastically reduced accidents at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.

“According to LADOT, there were 19 collisions in 2015 before the installation of the scramble crosswalk at Hollywood and Highland,” the letter stated. “Six months later, only one non-injury collision had occurred.”

At Hollywood-Highland, the arrangement has been that all pedestrian signals stay red even when north-south or east-west car traffic has the green light. Only cars can go.

But eventually, all car traffic lights turn red, and all walk signals turn green, including the diagonal crosswalks. Only pedestrians can go.

Whether or not a scramble crosswalk would work in Echo Park, Nacar and Reyes said LADOT would have to work in with Caltrans on the eventual solution, since Alvarado Street runs along California State Route 2.

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