Tuesday, February 18

Vision Zero aims to drive down LA traffic deaths with street upgrades

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation released a plan last week for reducing traffic fatalities over the next eight years.

The plan aims to reduce traffic fatalities by 20 percent this year by focusing on streets where the majority of traffic accidents happen, including Westwood Boulevard from Le Conte Avenue to Pico Boulevard and other streets in Westwood Village.

The LADOT will implement street improvements designed to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety, such as curb extensions, pedestrian medians and protected bike lanes. According to the plan, almost 50 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians or cyclists.

Brian Oh, an LADOT transportation planning associate, said the department will work with neighborhood councils and their city council offices to determine which projects are best for each community.

Because the department will develop specific projects with communities, there is no way to estimate how much the plan will cost, he added.

Los Angeles adopted Vision Zero, a movement across different cities to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, in 2015. Since then, the LADOT has identified a “high injury network” – the 6 percent of streets where 65 percent of traffic fatalities in the city occur.

“If we can get a reduction or an elimination of traffic deaths on those corridors alone, we will meet our goal,” Oh said.

The plan also establishes long-term goals such as improving street lights, incorporating Vision Zero into the Department of Motor Vehicles’ new driver material and crafting legislation that discourages speeding.

Madeline Brozen, the assistant director at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, said she thinks the most effective way to reduce traffic fatalities is to slow car speeds, either through lower enforced limits or reconfigured street design.

“There are already streets with high speed limits, but many look like freeways so it’s possible people are driving even faster on them,” Brozen said. “The speed a car is traveling determines whether you’re going to live or die if you get hit.”

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Catherine Liberty Feliciano was a news reporter and a staff representative on the Daily Bruin Editorial Board. She wrote stories about Westwood, research and student life. She dabbled in video journalism and frequently wrote #ThrowbackThursday blogs. Feliciano was an assistant Opinion editor in the 2015-2016 school year.

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  • nhburdick

    As a Bruin and long-time LA resident, it’s great to see this coverage in the Daily Bruin.

    However, I noticed that in the caption above the chart, you use the word ‘accident’ — not sure if you’re aware of the change in the AP styleguide, but thought this might be of interest: