Slowing the Playa del Rey Highway
City eyes safer pedestrian crossings and traffic-calming measures for Culver Boulevard
By Gary Walker
Frequent car crashes and persistent fears about pedestrian safety have city officials planning to install safer crosswalks and implement other traffic-calming measures for Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey.
Signal timing changes, roadway modifications and new bikeways are among the topics up for discussion on Thursday, April 21, at the Westchester Field Office of Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin.
The stretch of Culver that runs through Playa del Rey was previously a state-designated secondary highway, meaning that any significant changes to the boulevard would have required approval from Caltrans.
L.A.’s recently adopted citywide Mobility Plan 2035, however, allowed local transportation officials to change the designation of Culver and start planning for roadway enhancements. The document encourages safety upgrades, such as new signals and crosswalks, as well as new bicycle lanes, which some Playa del Rey residents have asked the city to install on Culver. Making pedestrian crossings safer came up several times during a community meeting last August that was hosted by Jessie Holzer, Bonin’s mobility deputy.
“We’ve heard that people don’t yield at the crossing of Pershing and Culver, so we could look into enhancing that with newer technology that has higher yielding rates, and we’re also looking at places for additional crossings,” Holzer said.
Traffic safety is also a longstanding concern. There were two fatal crashes last year near the intersection of Culver and Jefferson boulevards — one involving a motorcycle and a car, the other a truck striking a pedestrian. A city report tallied 37 traffic collisions, seven of them involving pedestrians and three of them fatal, between 2007 and 2011.
A 2015 survey of 133 Playa del Rey residents found that safer crossings, discouraging commuters from taking shortcuts through neighborhoods and reducing vehicle speeds along Culver, Pershing and Manchester Avenue near Pershing are top local priorities.
Community activist Julie Ross, who lives in lower Playa del Rey, is interested in seeing measures to slow down traffic on Pershing, more crosswalks on Pershing and on Culver, and better enforcement of existing stop signs.
“On Vista Del Mar coming north from the South Bay we would like to see the no right turn signs enforced. People cut through that way up into our neighborhood all the time, then they follow that up without stopping at the very few stop signs we do have,” said Ross, a life-long Playa del Rey resident.
Hear and discuss Bonin’s “Safe Streets for Playa del Rey” plan from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at the council field office, 7166 W. Manchester Blvd., Westchester. To RSVP for the meeting, call (310) 568-8772 or visit 11thdistrict.com.