The Los Angeles City Council has approved nearly $6 million in traffic improvements to help relieve heavily congested streets on the Westside.

The City Council okayed funding Wednesday, August 15th, for two separate improvement projects that will provide upgrades such as new traffic signal controllers at 361 intersections and 33 left-turn lights in the northern and southern parts of the Westside.

The two projects, the West Los Angeles Traffic Improvement Project and the Coastal Traffic Improvement Project, are part of 11th District City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s overall anti-gridlock plan that calls for spending more than $11 million to relieve Westside traffic congestion.

“Our gridlock is past intolerable,” said Rosendahl, who unveiled his comprehensive traffic improvement plan in December. “It is a real problem and calls for immediate action.

“We are moving in the right direction, but this is only the beginning. We must do more.”

The councilman’s comprehensive plan includes both short-term and long-term initiatives to relieve Westside congestion, from the installation of left-turn signals and synchronization of traffic signals to efforts to create a north-south rail line along Lincoln Boulevard.

Each of the future spending proposals must be approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

The City Council authorized some of the initiatives August 15th by approving $2.75 million for the West Los Angeles improvement project and $3.2 million for the Coastal Traffic Improvement Project.

The project funding comes from the West Los Angeles Transportation Improvement Mitigation and the Coastal Transportation Corridor specific plan funds. The funds are created by developers’ fees that are paid to the city to mitigate projected traffic impacts, city officials said.

City Department of Transportation (LADOT) officials reviewed the accumulated traffic mitigation funds and noticed that there was enough money available to fund the West Los Angeles and Coastal Traffic Improvement projects, said Sean Skehan, LADOT principal transportation engineer.

“I think it’s a great way to use the money that came about as a result of development in those areas and to feed it back in to the areas for traffic improvements,” Skehan said.

He expressed confidence that the two projects will help the city improve congestion and better regulate traffic on the Westside. The department focuses on improving clogged areas throughout the city, but the two projects will concentrate on particularly problematic sections, he said.

“I think it takes a step to help relieve key areas that are the most extreme,” Skehan said.

The West Los Angeles project will provide traffic upgrades to areas within both Rosendahl’s 11th Council District and Councilman Jack Weiss’s Fifth District. The project area is bounded by the City of Santa Monica to the west, Venice Boulevard to the south, Sunset Boulevard to the north and the City of Beverly Hills to the east.

Upgrades will include the replacement of existing traffic signal controllers with state-of-the-art controllers at 201 intersections and the installation of 23 left-turn signals at 15 intersections and department modification improvements at eight intersections.

Approximately 12,000 feet of interconnect cable and video fiber will also be upgraded for improved monitoring of traffic conditions.

Weiss called the project “a strong step in the right direction” to enhance conditions for drivers in the area.

“Drivers in the region lose countless hours stuck in traffic and the problem is getting worse,” Weiss said. “It’s time to invest in major improvements in the city’s transportation system and find a way to get the city moving again.”

While the West Los Angeles project will focus on the northern part of Rosendahl’s 11th District, the Coastal Traffic Improvement Project is designed for the southern half of the district, an area that stretches from Los Angeles International Airport north along the coast.

The coastal project will provide upgrades similar to the West Los Angeles project, including new traffic signal controllers at 160 intersections, ten left-turn signals at three intersections and modification improvements at 11 intersections.

In addition, a communication interconnect will be installed along Imperial Highway and electronic vehicle detectors will be put in at 12 intersections to automatically adjust signal timing for optimum traffic flow.

“When it comes to fighting traffic gridlock we need a coordinated, comprehensive strategy that addresses transportation issues in specific communities,” Rosendahl said of the projects.

Work on the two Westside traffic projects is expected to begin by the end of the year and should be completed by June next year, Skehan said.

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