Road Diet à Deux

I hear there are plans afoot to put Rowena, on the back side of Silverlake, onto a road diet of sorts. Details are sketchy, but local council member Tom La Bonge is behind it for now.

It’s a good idea, as there’s plenty of speeding on Rowena, and speeding is of course dangereous to locals’ lives. Unfortunately, controlling speed is something the Motorhead-American community doesn’t feel is really “fair,” as, like the children in Lake Wobegon, “all drivers are above average”–in their own minds.

Nevertheless, fast traffic is also bad for business, as it makes it harder for people wishing to shop in local stores to pull out of the traffic stream to do so, or to cross the street from where they’ve parked, or not to drive at all and walk or bicycle to their destination.


Confusing, poorly-controlled intersection at Hyperion and Tracy

Walkers and cyclists, naturally, don’t need vast parking spaces–a few cheap racks serve for cyclists, as opposed to onstreet car slots, which cost tens of thousands to provide and maintain, or off-street parking lots or structures, which cost many times more–and which of course crowd out some of the very businesses they purport to serve. You can bring many more shoppers to an area if you encourage them to walk, bus, or bike over than if you effectively force them to drive those hulking, awkward cars.

So a road diet makes sense for residents, visitors, and businesses.

But why stop with Rowena?

Hyperion between East Hollywood and Rowena suffers much more speeding, at least to my eye–and I bicycle through there two to four times a week.

Road diets take a four lane road and reconfigure it with two traffic lanes, two bike lanes, and a two-way center left-turn channel. This stops left-turning drivers from blocking the fast lane, smoothing the traffic flow and eliminating the need to serve around cars waiting for opposing traffic to clear, while usually reducing transit times through an area for drivers.

This also gives cyclists a safe place to ride, encouraging more cyclists to ride there, which would mean more cyclists from bike-rich East Hollywood and Sunset Junction heading over to the shops and cafés clustered around the intersection of Hyperion and Rowena, and points south and east. And the reduced traffic speeds make ti easier to cross the stret and live to shop again.

So let’s start pestering La Bonge for a road diet on Hyperion, whose nastier traffic and importance as a local corridor for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians makes it even more important, I think, than Rowena.

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