The battle over traffic efficiency and traffic safety rages on as the city of Los Angeles struggles to find creative ways to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety. Construction of “Road diets” and lane reductions to force reduced speeds for safer traveling and reduced likelihood of fatal accidents have been met with great criticism, to say the least. Complaints of increased commute times from infuriated South Bay residents have flooded City Hall over a specific road diet slowing traffic in Playa Del Rey to an absolute crawl during early commuter hours. The Westport Condominium Association filed suit in complaint of the impact on their properties. Despite the efforts of the city to increase traffic safety, the lane was restored to allow greater traffic flow to accommodate those affected by the road diet.
The Two Sides: Safety and Speed
Herein lies the great issue surrounding traffic safety in Los Angeles; people still need cars to get around. As much as people like to work, shop and recreate locally using their bikes or favorite ride share program, often times it is not feasible for many Angelenos. Developments to allow for safer bike travel take time and projects that restrict traffic arteries like that in Playa Del Rey are not possible without the complete buy-in of the community. With the culturally diverse neighborhoods of Los Angeles requiring different needs, this unanimous agreement is near impossible to attain. As more communities in the greater Los Angeles area such as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Culver City adopt and have success with their bike lane programs internally, we may see a shift to allow more flexible public transit and bike accessible routes connecting further neighborhoods in LA, like areas of the South Bay.