In an effort to improve traffic and travel times along two of the Westside’s most congested corridors, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has unveiled a new plan that aims to increase the flow of traffic on Olympic and Pico Boulevards without converting them into one-way streets.
Villaraigosa joined City Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl and Jack Weiss and Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad Monday, November 26th, to unveil the “Olympic-West Pico-East” initiative, a multi-phase proposal that officials say will dramatically improve travel times along the two congested Westside corridors.
The three-phase initiative aims to speed up the flow of traffic and reduce congestion along a seven-mile stretch of Olympic and Pico Boulevards, between La Brea and Centinela Avenues, near the border of Santa Monica.
The initiative, developed by Villaraigosa and the city Department of Transportation (DOT), proposes to create preferential flow signal timing to allow commuters to move more quickly along Olympic heading west and Pico heading east.
“This is a new way, a smart way and a safe way to reduce traffic congestion,” Villaraigosa said. “We are going to prove that it works here at L.A.’s gridlock epicenter, and then we are going to take this model citywide.”
Phase 1 of the plan proposes to ensure consistent rush hour parking restrictions along both
Olympic and Pico, and boost enforcement efforts of parking rules by Department of Transportation officers.
Phase 2 would create preferential flow signal timing, allowing quicker travel times for motorists heading west on Olympic and east on Pico.
The two corridors would remain two-way streets under the initiative but act more like one-way streets, a Villaraigosa spokesman said.
After evaluating the results of the initial steps, the city plans to
re-stripe Olympic and Pico in Phase 3 of the project, adding more westbound lanes on Olympic and more eastbound lanes on Pico, the Villaraigosa spokesman said.
The “Olympic-West Pico-East” plan comes on the heels of a series of proposals to improve the flow of traffic throughout Los Angeles. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky commissioned a study in April that proposes to convert Olympic and Pico into one-way thoroughfares.
That study found that traffic capacity could increase by up to 20 percent if the two major corridors became one-way streets. Under the study, there would still be two-way bus and van pool lanes through the use of contra-flow lanes.
But the study has several differences from the Villaraigosa plan, including proposing traffic to flow east on Olympic and west on Pico.
The study would also impact the two streets between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, while the Villaraigosa plan stops at the Santa Monica border on Centinela Avenue.
Westside residents have expressed concerns with such proposals, saying they could increase cut-through traffic on local roads. Villaraigosa said his plan seeks to protect Westside neighborhoods by limiting left turns onto residential streets and reducing cut-through traffic.
The mayor’s initiative has not been attempted before in Los Angeles but trial runs conducted by the Department of Transportation found that traffic flow could be improved by as much as 45 percent.
The total cost of all three phases will total approximately $2.1 million.
More than 100,000 cars travel along Olympic and Pico Boulevards every day, with approximately 60,000 of the vehicles traveling on Olympic and 40,000
on Pico, according to DOT.