LA officials give up on Playa del Rey road diets

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Amid bitter complaints from drivers, Los Angeles city officials have reversed course on a series of recent lane reductions designed to keep people from dying in traffic collisions in Playa del Rey.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Mike Bonin—who championed the streetscape changes when they were rolled out earlier this year—announced today that lanes for cars on Culver Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard, and Pershing Drive will be restored within the next few months.

Aimed at “calming traffic,” the streetscape updates removed a single lane on all three streets, making room for protected bike lanes and, in some areas, diagonal parking spots. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation already restored a fourth lane of traffic to Vista Del Mar earlier this year.

Vista Del Mar.
Via Google Maps

The road diets were part of a broader citywide effort to cut down on the city’s rising number of traffic deaths by providing new infrastructure for vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians and reducing vehicle speeds on heavily trafficked streets.

But after fierce opposition from many residents (including a campaign to recall Bonin), the councilmember and mayor appear ready to move onto new strategies. “This pilot program has shown us that lane reductions are not the right approach in Playa del Rey,” Garcetti said in a statement.

Instead, transportation staffers will focus on smaller changes. These include speed feedback signs, traffic signals that give pedestrians a head start, speed tables, and new crosswalks with flashing beacons to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians.

“Rest in Red” signals will also be installed at key intersections along Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive. These signals remain red during off-peak driving hours, changing to green only when a vehicle or pedestrian approaches.

In August, Bonin created a community task force to help recommend “a more comprehensive and permanent solution” for making Playa del Rey streets safer.

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