Map: Where Bikers And Pedestrians Of Northeast Los Angeles Are Getting Hit By Cars
A new map put out by the Los Angeles Times today shows a distressing trend: traffic on Figueroa Street in Northeast Los Angeles is deadly.
This isn't news, of course. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition put out a similar map showing all the deaths and injuries suffered by pedestrians and bikers on the street from 2002 to 2011. And LADOT formally recommended that the city make improvements to the street to make it safer. Last week L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo quashed one of the most significant plans: putting a section of the street on a "road diet" that would remove a lane for motorists and add in bike lanes for cyclists.
Cedillo claimed that he was doing it in the name of safety—he argued it would deter firefighters and police though neither LAFD or LAPD have officially objected—but today's map from the Los Angeles Times is a good reminder that Figueroa Street has a pretty significant safety problem that needs addressing. This map shows traffic collisions that involved pedestrians and bikers all over Northeast Los Angeles from 2002 to 2012 based on data from the CHP. Figueroa sticks out as a particularly dangerous street. Altogether there were 221 collisions and nine deaths between Avenue 26 and York Boulevard.
The map is also a good reminder that this debate shouldn't only be framed as bikers and drivers fighting over lanes. Pedestrians arguably have the most to gain from road diets that slow down traffic and reduce collisions, because right now pedestrians make up most of the casualties on Figueroa: the map shows that there were 153 collisions involving pedestrians while 68 involved bikes. All the deaths on Figueroa were pedestrians.
The Times has a story that accompanies the map noting that Figueroa isn't the only street where LADOT's recommendation for road diets and bike lanes have stirred up controversy:
Over the last 18 months, political opposition has stalled bike lane projects on Lankershim Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley and Westwood Boulevard on the Westside. Downtown commuters have begun to loudly complain about bike lanes in the 2nd Street tunnel, where two out of four car lanes have disappeared.
And now Cedillo, who once trumpeted bike-friendly planning in Denmark, has not only quashed plans for bike lanes in his own district but come out against the city's bike plan altogether. Cedillo told the Times that the bike plan approved by the city council in 2011 didn't have enough input since it was developed by 1,000 people in a city of 4 million: "That's a very microscopic percentage of people to set an agenda."