SILVER LAKE - The City Council today voted to maintain a controversial "road diet" on Rowena Avenue that has been credited with improving safety.
The vote comes after Councilmember David Ryu sided with the city’s Department of Transportation, which recommended leaving Rowena the way it is - one lane each way for motor vehicles, a center left-turn lane and bike lanes in both directions.
The City Council also endorsed plans to create protected bike lanes and adding more pedestrian safety measures to the corridor between Hyperion Avenue and Glendale Boulevard. However, officials still need to determine the feasibility of such improvements and secure the necessary funding, according to Transportation Committee Report.
“The Rowena road diet has undoubtedly made Silver Lake safer,” Councilmember Ryu said in a statement. “But it’s critical that we back our decisions with data and with community support - that’s the only way to build solutions that last. I’m proud to say we achieved both, and that the road diet is here to stay.”
The approximately mile-long road diet has generated heated debate since it was adopted in 2013 as a way to slow traffic and increase safety. Under former Councilman Tom LaBonge, the number of traffic lanes between Hyperion Avenue and Glendale Boulevard was reduced from two to one in each direction, creating room for two bike lanes on each side of the street as well as a middle turn lane.
Critics blamed the road diet for causing traffic congestion and steering motorists on to narrow side streets. But supporters and traffic studies say the measure has helped reduce traffic-related injuries.
An analysis conducted by the LADOT “showed a reduction in collision frequency and severity, and a reduction in speed, but also an increase in bypass traffic on the adjacent local streets,” the DOT’s April memorandum said.