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The Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA) wants a clearer picture of the traffic that surrounds its community.
“We would get this fragmented picture in the Miracle Mile that we typically borrow from traffic studies by major developers,” MMRA vice president Ken Hixon said. “You could kind of extrapolate, but it was always a little shaky. And we wanted our own baseline that was fleshed out and complete.”
In October 2014, the MMRA commissioned Gibson Transportation Consulting Inc. to prepare a neighborhood traffic mitigation plan for the Miracle Mile. The boundaries of the study are loosely La Brea Avenue, Olympic Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, but with a special emphasis on 8th Street.
“We’re getting complaints about 8th Street all the time from our members,” Hixon said. “It is in many senses, the main street of the Miracle Mile.”
The study will include traffic counts, a review of accident reports, an inventory of overgrown foliage reducing sight lines and recommendations for traffic controls. At the beginning of the month, MMRA and several city officials met with Gibson to talk about early trends and results of the study.
“It’s a work in progress but we are impressed by their professionalism,” Hixon said. “We chose them because they are the traffic consultants on the proposed Academy Museum and they are a highly reputable firm.”
MMRA members said they focused more on 8th Street because its vehicular usage has increased and its usage will likely increase more as construction projects — such as the Purple Line Project and Academy Museum — dominate Wilshire Boulevard.
Preliminary results showed that there are not enough vehicles in the 8th Street traffic count to trigger state regulations that would automatically add new stop signs or traffic signals.
“I wasn’t surprised, but it was still disappointing,” Hixon said.
Gibson said the intersection of Masselin Avenue and 8th Street does not conform to the minimum standards for an adequate line of sight. Specifically, motorists traveling northbound on Masselin Avenue must pull too far onto 8th Street.
The early report also calls for an update to the intersection of Cochran Avenue and 8th Street — the pedestrian signals are not the modern, countdown models. It also recommends continental crosswalks (zebra stripe crossings) at all four-way stops along 8th Street to help with pedestrian safety and visibility.
“Our emphasis is safety,” Hixon said. “We’re going to do whatever we can to make streets in the Miracle Mile safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”
The final report may include a recommendation to restrict left turns onto Olympic Boulevard, at least during peak traffic hours. It also calls for preferential permit parking in many neighborhoods, which Hixon said the MMRA already endorses as a way to combat parking problems brought on by increases in visitors to the area.
The next step, after the full report is released later this year, is to figure out how to lobby or raise money for possible changes, Hixon added.
One governmental body that could help in the future is the Mid-City West Community Council (MCWCC).
“Eighth Street really is my main concern in that area and my main concern is safety,” MCWCC board chair Scott Epstein said. “It’s a residential street that is currently designed for fast traffic.”
Epstein noted that 8th Street traffic moves quickly because there are no traffic controls for three or four blocks at a time.
“The only way to change that is to change the character of the street,” he said.
He said the street is part of the city’s bicycle plan, which can ultimately allow for the installation of traffic calming measures, such as traffic roundabouts or additional traffic signals.
“I think those things definitely would help,” Epstein said. “But unless you add more traffic control, it’s not going to change in a major way. The first way I always look at this through the lens of safety and that’s the same for the city moving forward.”
Currently, the MCWCC has applied to Metro for traffic calming measures on Rosewood Avenue, Alta Vista Boulevard and Formosa Avenue — perhaps 8th Street could be included in a future project, Epstein said.
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