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City says speeding driver, wet road caused fatal Los Feliz hit-and-run—not ‘unsafe road’

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It’s recommending changes anyway

The Los Feliz Neighborhood Council voiced concerns about Hyperion and Fountain avenues prior to a deadly crash in January.
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Three months after a woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Hyperion Avenue, city transportation officials responded Monday to letters from the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council warning that the street was unsafe.

In a response dated Monday, transportation engineer Brian Gallagher writes that the department has determined that “a driver traveling at unsafe speeds on wet roads was the primary cause of the collision, not a lack of traffic control devices or unsafe roadway conditions.”

Still, the department is making several recommendations to help make the corridor safer, including speed feedback signs that show drivers how fast they’re traveling and a left-turn signal at the intersection of Hyperion and Fountain.

According to Gallagher, the department also plans to create a working group to identify further safety measures that could eventually be implemented along the corridor.

The neighborhood council had contacted the department two years before the January crash with concerns about the stretch of Hyperion and Fountain avenues between Sunset and Rowena boulevards. Part of that corridor includes a segment of Fountain included on Los Angeles’s High Injury Network, a database of the city’s deadliest streets.

After the fatal collision, the neighborhood council wrote another letter, requesting “immediate action” to prevent future incidents.

In March, City Councilmember David Ryu sent a letter of his own, urging the department to “provide recommendations for measures that would immediately reduce the likelihood of traffic collisions and fatalities” along Hyperion.

Los Feliz Neighborhood Council member Danny Cohen, who wrote the neighborhood council’s initial letter calls the department’s long-awaited response is “a good first step in the right direction,”

In an email, he tells Curbed he’s looking forward to seeing what strategies the working group recommends. “Hopefully,” he says, that work will result in “a safer corridor for everyone.”