In the midst of fierce heated public debate around road safety projects in Playa del Rey, Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the area, announced Friday the formation of a 20-member task force that will assess the effectiveness of the projects and consider potential alternatives.
Earlier this year, Los Angeles Department of Transportation officials undertook a series of projects aimed at reducing traffic-related deaths in the Playa del Rey area. They included lane restriping on Vista del Mar, Culver Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard, and Pershing Drive—reducing segments of all four streets to a single lane in either direction.
The changes were meant to slow down speeding drivers, and to make room for protected bike lanes and parking spaces, but many Westside drivers complained that the projects had negatively impacted their commute times.
Last month, Bonin announced that parking spots along Vista del Mar would be relocated, allowing for the street to support two lanes of traffic in either direction once more. Work on that project will start Monday.
But public resistance to the other road safety projects in the area remains strong; last week, the Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council sent a letter to Bonin arguing that the lane reductions have led to “significantly increased and oppressive traffic congestion, travel time, and collisions at all times of day.”
The councilmember maintains that the new task force will allow for greater community participation in the planning and execution of current and future street safety projects.
“All proposals to improve safety will be on the table,” Bonin said in a statement, “with the goal of making the neighborhood safer, more walkable and more livable while reducing traffic congestion.”
The task force will be comprised of Playa del Rey residents and business owners, including street safety advocates and project opponents—including a member of Keep LA Moving, which filed a lawsuit over the changes earlier this month.
Members of the task force will meet with a mediator over the next 90 days to analyze the projects and propose potential alternatives.