The May 19th issue of The Argonaut included a letter to the editor about safety improvements at Vista del Mar and Culver Boulevard in “downtown” Playa del Rey.
The letter stated that “Thousands of commuters driving from Redondo, Manhattan and Hermosa Beach communities to the Westside make that dangerous turn every weekday. Widening the intersection to help reduce traffic accidents and frequent near misses is long overdue.”
I live in that area and attempt to make my way through those thousands of commuters every day, and I could probably cite several incidents every day when these commuters come flying through on their way, presumably, to get to the freeway at Culver Boulevard at the Marina Freeway (State Route 90).
The letter sounded to me as though the streets should be widened for the convenience of these commuters to enable them to drive even faster and more recklessly than they do now.
While I agree that the intersection at Vista del Mar and Culver Boulevard and that stretch of road is dangerous, it is the “thousands of commuters” speeding through during morning and evening rush hours that contributes to many accidents that occur there.
These commuters treat Playa del Rey like a racetrack as they make sharp turns, accelerating, clutching cell phones and coffee cups — are they steering with their knees? — and cutting off other drivers.
On Friday, May 20th, a driver talking on a cell phone made a right turn from Vista del Mar onto Culver Boulevard after the light had turned red.
She was totally oblivious to cross-traffic, and would have been struck simultaneously by two cars — one of them mine — if I and the vehicle attempting to make a left turn onto Culver Boulevard hadn’t slammed on the brakes.
These same commuters are also in large part responsible for accidents that happen in the evening rush hour when they all head back home.
Racing westbound down Culver Boulevard toward Vista del Mar, many drivers continue on in the left lane, coming abruptly to a screeching halt behind drivers waiting in line to turn left onto Nicholson Avenue.
These drivers then either hit the last car in the line, or they veer sharply in front of other traffic in the right lane, and continue speeding down Culver Boulevard toward Vista del Mar, where they have yet another opportunity to crash into someone.
The only crosswalk with a light is at the intersection of Vista del Mar and Culver Boulevard. The only other crosswalk is at Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive, and pedestrians literally take their lives into their hands attempting to cross the street.
The intersection of Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive was the scene of a tragic fatality in October 2003, and we still don’t have even a flashing light at the crosswalk to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians.
Perhaps our new soon-to-be councilman, Bill Rosendahl could add this issue to his list of numerous tasks, since our outgoing councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski apparently couldn’t muster enough interest even after numerous appeals and a number of accidents.
In a previous letter to the editor, a reader suggested siphoning off this heavy commuter traffic at Vista del Mar and Imperial Highway toward the Century Freeway (I-105), which transitions to the San Diego Freeway (I-405).
This might ease the burden on Culver Boulevard for commuters attempting to reach the freeway, and perhaps cut down some of the heavy commuter traffic.