Rowena : the street with proven safety improvements seen as inconsequential by leadership.
LA City Councilmember David Ryu is obviously a hard worker because making the headlines as one of the worst elected official for street safety is no easy task.
Denying Mid-Wilshire a road diet after it was clearly supported by the community takes a little gall, especially when injuries mount.
Now that he has spent $88,000 and counting of tax payer money to re-examine the Rowena road diet after its success further shows his opposition to safety.
While it’s obvious to all who’ve seen the before and after that the lane reduction has made people safer and cut down on collisions, this observation is also backed up by his very own numbers.
So why the complaints from some of the locals?
Increased cut through traffic.
I understand for those just scratching the surface that fewer lanes seems to equate more traffic, but trying to explain that reasoning is not true and induced demand takes more time than most people are willing to give.
At least with Rowena, the numbers show that since the road diet was placed in 2013 that the number of cars has even increased 16%.
Blaming the overflow of drivers onto the side streets can’t be from the lane trimming, but obviously from Waze and Google Maps.
From someone who rides all the side streets along the hills even out to the 405, it is amazing how these apps have transformed these side streets.
Empty roads I used to take five years ago are now filled with backup traffic.
You know it’s these apps because at each intersection, you can see drivers checking their phones to make sure they make the properly updated turn to take the most highly optimized route.
Driver talking on cell phone in front of Ivanhoe Elementary on Rowena. That’s all you need to know.
What’s even surprised me in this past year how some of these routes are so clogged, that these apps will send a fleet of drivers the opposite direction to find the quickest possible route.
One of the areas most effected are the steep hills of Sherman Oaks.
Woodcliff, Cody and Scadlock are some of the alternate roads to Sepulveda & Beverly Glen that have fell victim to these technological innovations.
Back in 2016, Ryu started adding stop signs and turn restrictions to ebb this flow, but obviously, Waze’s growth has proven too mighty as traffic continues to rise.
Sign restrictions added in Sherman Oaks under Ryu.
Complaints and frustrations from the area’s homeowners are still high, but this crisis came to a head last December during the Skirball Fire as many of these apps sent drivers towards the emergency hindering responsiveness.
To further pursue navigation apps as the culprit, Ryu decided in April to ask the City to consider legal action against Waze for irresponsibly sending traffic through residential neighborhoods.
Good luck with that.
Another funny thing has impacted the area in the past few years is the same thing Ryu is pushing for on Rowena: more capacity.
In 2014, the 405 Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project opened adding new and improved on-ramps and off-ramps, bridges and those elusive carpool lanes.
Restrictions on Valley Vista keeping drivings from turning onto Woodcliff (Photo: Daily News)
At over a billion dollars, this had to be a problem solver except one thing…..it made traffic worse.
A year after it’s opening, a traffic study by Inrix showed that travel times actually slowed by minute.
Better read up on induced demand again.
Showing there are no lessons learned, the prospect of removing the bike lanes on Rowena is still alive despite evidence that such a move would only heighten traffic while further jeopardizing people’s safety even further.
Pointing the finger at traffic calming for these problems overlooks the true reality that navigation apps have the same effect of widening roads by adding capacity to our roadways.
With an active community of residents and business owners that are supporting this improvement, but still somehow there is no guarantee he’ll listen.
It’s time David Ryu stopped addressing 21st Century problems with 20th Century solutions.
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