April 15, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Safety Upgrades Coming to Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica

City Council awards contract for implementation of roadway repaving and improvement program

By Dolores Quintana

In Santa Monica, the City Council has approved a contract last week that would advance the city’s street improvement and repaving program as reported by Urbanize Los Angeles. The work will also add needed safety upgrades to several of the more dangerous roadways and intersections with the most traffic. The upgrades would begin in the first quarter of next year and end by the summer of 2023. 

Wilshire Boulevard

  • The City’s statistics on the dangerous conditions are “Wilshire Boulevard is among the 10% of roadways that account for 50% of fatal and severe traffic injuries in Santa Monica. 
  • 60% of fatal and severe injury crashes on Wilshire Boulevard involve pedestrians. These occur at a rate nearly 50% greater than citywide. 
  • A higher percentage of crashes on Wilshire Boulevard involved pedestrian right-of-way violations (12 percent) than those across the city (7 percent)

The fixes for these problems are outlined by the city of Santa Monica’s website and are:

  • Flashing Beacons at Crosswalks: Highly Visible flashing beacons at 5 intersections signal to motorists that they must yield to the pedestrian crossing the street. 
  • Right-Turn Only at Unsignalized Intersections: Preventing left turns at 12 unsignalized intersections will remove the vehicle movements that account for 20% of collisions.
  • Curb Extensions with Paint and Bollards: Curb extensions at 14 intersections shorten pedestrian crossing distances, reduce vehicle turning speed, and limit erratic maneuvers by narrowing the travel lane. 
  • Bus Stop Red Zones: New pavement markings will discourage vehicle loading in bus stops that limits visibility and impacts bus stop access and performance. 
  • Additional Loading Zones: More loading zones located adjacent to bus stops will provide a space for motorists to safely enter or exit their vehicles without blocking other road users. 

The next two areas are identified as Vision Zero Priority Intersections. Vision Zero  “is a national movement to eliminate deaths and serious injuries that result from traffic collisions. It is rooted in the belief that the protection of life, health, and safety should be a civic priority. Vision Zero emphasizes shared responsibility among all road users, a street design that promotes safety and eliminates risks, and better enforcement and education to prevent unsafe behavior. Vision Zero Santa Monica acts as an agreement between the community and the City to coordinate efforts and concentrate on the elimination of traffic injuries and fatalities. 

Ocean Park and Lincoln Boulevards

Project improvements will address documented safety concerns by adding bike lane protection, high visibility roadway markings, and limiting high-risk turn movements. Enhancements will provide better connections to the Michele & Barack Obama Center for Learning, shopping center, Big Blue Bus, and Metro transit stop. 

Olympic Boulevard and 14th Street

Another intersection identified for improvements under Vision Zero, Olympic and 14th will see the addition of more space for cyclists, refreshed crosswalks, and optimized traffic signal timing. Nearby corridors including 17th Street and 14th Street have recently undergone upgrades.

According to the City of Santa Monica’s website, part of the Vision Zero plan is an analysis of 11 years of traffic collision data (2006-2018) identifying the primary collision factors and locations where severe and fatal injuries were occurring most frequently. The Vision Zero Priority Network Map highlights those areas that will be the first to receive a detailed evaluation of collision reports, factors contributing to the crash, and the effectiveness of potential countermeasures.

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