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The Five Most Dangerous Places For Walkers in Los Angeles

As Los Angeles continues to move away from its car-centricity and towards streets that are safer for people who are walking, biking, and traveling via other non-car transportation, it's still pretty dangerous to be a pedestrian in the city, and, as the numbers show, some neighborhoods are definitely more dangerous than others. Taking in data from the California Highway Patrol's database of collision reports from multiple law enforcement agencies, spanning from 2002 to 2013, the LA Times zeroed in on the LA County intersections that are the most perilous for people trying to cross on foot, and plotting those out on a map reveals that some neighborhoods—many of them the denser 'hoods in town, no duh—are highly treacherous for pedestrians.

Downtown LA's revitalization has meant an upswing in foot traffic throughout the Historic Core, South Park, and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, that's also made its intersections into collision magnets. Los Angeles Walks put out a map earlier this year identifying a handful of DTLA crossings as some of the most dangerous in LA; the LAT found the neighborhood has the "highest concentrations of dangerous intersections" in the city. In all, 659 people were hit crossing 48 intersections in Downtown from 2002 to 2013; 11 of those people died. Fifth Street from Broadway to Main Street is a standout, with 24 crashes at Broadway and Fifth (one was fatal), 23 at Spring and Fifth (one fatality here, too), and 25 collisions at Main and Fifth.

Koreatown has multiple Purple Line stops and droves of bus lines snaking through, plus a booming nightlife scene, so it's extra scary to know that a cluster of 29 of its intersections accounted for 407 car/person collisions, 11 of which resulted in deaths. The most dangerous crossing here was Vermont and Third Street, where there have been 24 collisions between cars and walkers, but miraculously no fatalities. Not counted among those 29 are Western and Olympic, and Third Street and Normandie, which both saw a staggering 17 crashes in the same time period.

Hooray for Hollywood? Not if you're walking. A clump of the 'hood's most unsafe intersections runs along Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, not surprisingly. Even less surprising is that busy crossings at Hollywood and Highland and Hollywood and Vine are hubs of pedestrian/car crashes, with Highland seeing 38 collisions and Vine seeing 30. Third-runner-up Sunset and La Brea was the site of 26 car/walker incidents.

Many of Westlake's worst intersections cluster around the main drag, Alvarado, where the blocks between Sixth Street and Olympic are big red dots of pedestrian danger on the map. Eighth Street and Alvarado, previously pegged as very dangerous by a Los Angeles Walks map, appears here again, accounting for 25 car/walker crashes between 2002 and 2013. Union Avenue is also a hotspot for unhappy meetings of cars and pedestrians; 59 crashes took place between Sixth Street and Olympic.

Two major arteries in East Hollywood are singled out as long, terrifying stretches for pedestrians. Vermont from Prospect Avenue to Lockwood Avenue had seven intersections that together accounted for 115 pedestrian-car collisions. Thirteen intersections along or close to Western Avenue between Hollywood and Romaine accounted for 212 collisions and 10 fatalities. At Sunset and Western, there were 31 crashes and two deaths between 2002 and 2013. Normandie and Santa Monica was another major crash point, with 19 crashes and one fatality.

The single worst intersection in Los Angeles wasn't in any of these neighborhoods though. That award goes to Western and Slauson Avenues, where 41 people trying to cross the street have been hit by cars. Two of those people died. Possible factors in the intersection's dangerousness are its width (pedestrians have to cross five lanes of traffic) and the speed at which cars travel the road. As an expert told the Times, "Pedestrians face a 25% chance of severe injury if they are hit by a car driving 23 mph ... The risk rises to 75% if the car is going just 16 mph faster."
· Walking in L.A.: Times analysis finds the county's 817 most dangerous intersections [LAT]
· Mapping LA's Most Dangerous Intersections For Pedestrians [Curbed LA]