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The intersection of Lomitas Avenue and Canon and Beverly drives is unlike any other in Beverly Hills. With six approaches, drivers have to look out for as many as nine other vehicles while crossing the circular intersection. There are no ramps compliant with the American with Disabilities Act, and there are no delineated lanes.
“You cannot look at your cell phone or be distracted if you want to get over that intersection,” Councilman John Mirisch said during a March 21 City Council study session. “You’re actually forced to cooperate with other people. It’s one of the few places in town where people have to [convey] the message, ‘I see you.’”
Mirisch’s comments came after a report from city staff, which proposed two options for making the intersection safer. One option was to add a raised crosswalk with flashing lights, and the other was to create a roundabout.
Mirisch and the rest of the council favored the former option, agreeing that a roundabout seemed unnecessary. And with a projected $4 million price tag, it would require significant funds that could be put to better use, the council members said.
“For $4 million, we can do a lot of good in this city,” Vice Mayor Julian Gold said.
Discussions about improving the intersection date back to the 1990s, but the City Council most recently directed staff to take another look after an illegal street takeover in February 2022. During the takeover, vehicles blocked access to the intersection and performed doughnuts and other stunts for a crowd of approximately 150 spectators, according to the staff report.
Although staff was initially directed to only consider ways to prevent future takeovers, this threat appears largely negated by the Beverly Hills Police Department’s Real Time Watch Center, Vice Mayor Julian Gold.
Cars tend to drive slowly through the intersection, and with relatively few accidents per year – there have been 32 reported collisions in the intersection between 2014 and 2022 – pedestrian safety is a more pressing issue, Gold said.
“It’s really a wonky intersection. Everybody knows it, as you get close you slow down, you pay attention. I’m not sure that putting a roundabout there really serves a purpose,” Gold said.
The council members also opposed a suggestion to install a raised crosswalk, as that could inhibit emergency vehicles that need to cross the intersection, and said that ADA compliant ramps should be installed as quickly as possible.
“Whenever I would walk [across the intersection] I would basically look and see where vehicles are, and walk in between,” Mayor Lili Bosse said. “We need to have people be able to safely cross the street instead of guess.”
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