Walking or biking on 6th street between Fairfax and LaBrea feels like walking next to a highway. Cars, encouraged by the design of the roadway, consistently speed, and crashes are a daily occurrence. Children and families who walk and bike to school, work, museums, and health centers must traverse broken glass and metal detritus left behind by vehicle collisions. In 2012, a 74-year-old woman was hit by a car and killed while walking near the intersection of 6th and Hauser. Since then, two more of our neighbors’ lives have been taken by dangerous roadway conditions on 6th street between Fairfax and La Brea. The time for redesigning this section of 6th street is now.
For the past five years, community leaders have been focused on this problem, completing community walks, town halls, and meetings to work out a traffic design solution that would make the street safe for all to use. This ultimately led to the September 2016 unanimous vote by the Mid City West Council’s Board of Directors to implement a reconfiguration of 6th street between Cochran and Fairfax. This would slow traffic by reducing the road to one lane in each direction, and allow for bike lanes and enhanced pedestrian crossings.* Despite this vote, and the fact that the project is shovel-ready, Councilmember Ryu has consistently delayed taking action. He has now proposed an alternative plan for 6th street, which would merely install left-turn pockets at certain intersections, leaving other dangerous intersections untouched.
One of Ryu’s reasons for not implementing safety improvements is a purported lack of community input. But according to Mid City West Community Council Chair Scott Epstein, “All major organizations directly representing 6th Street have voted unanimously to support the reconfiguration including Mid City West, the Park La Brea Residents Association, the La Brea Hancock Homeowners Association, and the Greater Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce.” Residents of LA’s 4th Council District are vocal about needing a solution. “For years we have heard from folks who are sick and tired of collisions all the time,” said neighborhood resident Mehmet Berker. “Collisions that send cars spiraling into other cars, fire hydrants, trees, poles, homes, and people. Folks want to be able to park and cross 6th to get to Hancock Park or LACMA without being in fear for their lives. Local resident and author of BikinginLA Ted Rogers wrote an open letter to Councilmember Ryu on October 5, clearly stating his concerns for the street’s safety. “As a motorist, it is an unpleasant street to drive, and one requiring constant concentration. As a pedestrian, it is a difficult, and at times dangerous, street to cross. And someone who used to bicycle to Downtown when I lived in West LA, it was easily the most dangerous part of my commute.”
In a statement earlier this month, Councilmember Ryu stated “few things are more universal to Angelenos than what we walk and drive on every day. The fact is, we needs to get better at how and when we fix our broken streets. I hope our City will begin to think more comprehensively and in the long-term when it comes to road repair, and that we can soon begin laying down a smarter, stronger roadway for Los Angeles” LACBC couldn’t agree more with this statement, and call on Councilmember Ryu to stand behind his statements. We cannot allow a seconds-shorter commute to be given more weight than the lives of our families and neighbors.
Please call, tweet or send a letter to David Ryu asking him to take action on safety and infrastructure improvements on 6th Street. On Saturday, October 21, we encourage folks to attend a community meeting about the project to make your voice heard.
Call Councilmember Ryu’s office at 213-473-7004. Send an email to Councilmember Ryu at email@example.com, and CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. You can copy and paste this sample email (written by Ted Rogers) below:
Dear Councilman Ryu,
I am a CD4 resident and voter who is concerned about 6th Street safety.
As you know, the 6th street residential corridor between Fairfax and La Brea experiences regular collisions. There have been hundreds of crashes and at least two pedestrian fatalities in the last five years alone.
To address the rate of crashes on 6th street, LADOT recommended a “road diet” which would reconfigure lanes to reduce speeding and provide for safer turns without impacting drive-time. In addition, it would actually add parking spaces during peak hours.
The plan has been unanimously endorsed by the neihborhood council for the area – Mid City West – as well as local homeowner, resident, and business associations, and citywide mobility organizations.
I urge you to support it.
With your leadership, we can save lives and help create a more livable city.
Thank you for your consideration,
*In a 2011 study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, researchers found that people hit by cars traveling at 35 mph have double the death rate of those hit by cars traveling at 25 mph.
Lane reductions have been shown to improve safety across the city and the United States. According to an article by Alissa Walker in Curbed, “Three independent studies, including one by data scientists, have shown the Rowena road diet works. There have been zero high-speed crashes on the street since the road diet was completed.”