The Santa Monica Daily Press takes a look at Ocean Park Blvd., where temporary changes to the once-accident prone street were recently made permanent. Crossing guards, flashing crosswalks, and signs alerting drivers to their speed did nothing to alleviate accidents involving cars, pedestrians, and bikes. Then in 2008 the city tried a "road diet," taking two lanes from the boulevard and using them for bike lanes, turn lanes, and street parking. Accidents dropped from 35 to 12 compared to a nine-month period in the previous year, injury accidents dropped by 60 percent, pedestrian accidents became almost nil, and speeding dropped precipitously. The price to pay for all this goodness? Traffic. "It's difficult to get to work in the morning, and more difficult to leave at night when it's bumper-to-bumper starting at 4 p.m.," a local business owner told the SMDP. Others complain that the "road diet" went from test-out to permanent without much discussion (apparently, road changes, at least in Santa Monica, only need approval from engineers, not politicians or locals). Some say the diet's worth it: Zina Josephs, a representative of Friends of Sunset Park neighborhood Group, says many locals are appreciative of the added safety, especially for school students.
· Ocean Park Blvd. Change Made Permanent [SMDP]
· Local Architects Place Long Beach on Road Diet [Curbed LA]