Locals Seek Traffic Calming Along 6th Street

According to locals, bad accidents—including vehicles spinning onto residential streets and property—have been on the rise along 6th Street at the intersections of Orange Drive and Sycamore, Mansfield and Citrus avenues, and attempts to acquire more signage or implement a so-called “road diet” to reduce traffic stress have fallen on deaf ears.

“We have been begging the [Los Angeles] Dept. of Transportation and [Council District 4 Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu] to help us but they are very slow,” said La Brea Hancock Homeowners Assoc. President Barbara Savage. “Unfortunately, there’s at least two accidents per week on Sixth and Orange due to poor signage and overgrown city trees.”

According to Savage, there was one “horrible accident” in May when a driver was broadsided.

“[The driver’s car] spun and wound up in my neighbor’s yard,” said Savage. According to Savage, the driver suffered an injury as she “crashed in a brick wall between a stop sign and a tree.”

Savage said she believes Metro’s Purple Line construction along Wilshire Boulevard between Western and La Brea is most likely “the culprit” for the neighborhood’s exacerbation of traffic.

Brad Jewett, a five-year resident and vice-president of the area’s homeowner’s association, said traffic along 6th has always been terrible but accidents have notably increased in the last two years.

According to Jewett, tensions seem to rise as cars back up for blocks on 6th during rush hour. Drivers, he said, are trying to dart around the stalled traffic, which is leading to accidents.

“They see open road to Highland [Avenue] … [and] they hit the gas.”

According to Jewett, the situation has caused cars to “peek out from traffic [and then] they collide and they go spinning through the intersection or the sidewalk or someone’s fence.”

Jewett, who has young children, said many families live nearby.

“I’m not a fearful person but I’m afraid every time I walk across [intersections] with my kids,” he said.

He described the situation as a pedestrian casualty waiting to happen.

“If anyone is walking by there at that moment, they’re toast. There’s no chance of surviving that. It’s really just a matter [of] time until it’s someone in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone is going to get killed and it’s not going to be someone in the car,” he said.

According to data out of University of California at Berkeley, there were 12 reported accidents on that stretch of 6th Street from 2013 to 2016, the last year data were available.

No deaths occurred in those collisions, just injuries. According to the data, most of the collisions involved one car trying to make a turn in the intersection and being broadsided by another vehicle. Alcohol was not a factor in any of the accidents, according to the statistics.

Five accidents occurred during that timeframe for 6th Street and Highland, followed closely with four accidents on Orange. The 6th Street intersection at Citrus had two such accidents; Sycamore had one and there were none reported at 6th and Mansfield, according to Berkeley’s data.

According to Estevan Montemayor, a spokesperson for Councilmember Ryu, public safety along the stretch of 6th Street is one of the councilmember’s top priorities, but addressing such a complex nexus of residential, commuter and Museum Row-related traffic, he said, will take time.

“We want to take all community input into consideration and get the fix right,” said Montemayor in an email.

According to Montemayor, potential solutions include lengthening existing left-hand turn pockets and creating new ones and improving crosswalks and lengthening red curbs, pending the results of a planned Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation traffic study.

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