When the City of West Hollywood announced that construction would begin on signalized crosswalks at four interesections along Santa Monica Boulevard in Historic Boystown, we were warned of a crosswalk Carmaggedon. Little could we predict just how bad it would be. And it is going to be like this until October!
Yesterday afternoon, while taking a bus along the Boulevard during rush hour, I texted my web designer friend that I was running late for our scheduled call as the bus crossed Almont and Santa Monica, and that I'd get off at the next stop–San Vicente–and call him as I walked home. The bus didn't make it three blocks until 21 minutes later!
Stuck on the bus in this traffic hell, I texted my favorite Councilmember to say that West Hollywood should have a rule that we don't do road construction during rush hour–similar to a policy adopted by Antonio Villaraigosa as Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.
What I'd realize as I walked past the construction zone in front of 24 Hour Fitness was that the problem was that they weren't working and yet traffic was reduced to one lane in each direction. Having removed the median and left heavy equipment between the traffic lanes, the left lanes were closed in each direction.
UPDATE: WeHoVille has a comprehensive story on the construction process and schedule.
In this case, a policy banning rush hour construction wouldn't help–and in some way doesn't make sense.
Those of us who were here during the great Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction of 1998 may remember the debate over when to do the construction, with many agreeing that overnight construction was preferable because it minimized traffic impacts and, well, we are in an urban environment already.
Perhaps we should get creative and say that if traffic lanes are closed, then construction activities should be occurring. It will probably cost more, but we can afford it. In the short term, it may have some negative impacts to the immediate areas, but in the long term, the projects will be completed faster.
Just my thoughts…would you support an expedited construction schedule in order to get the projects done faster and reduce traffic impacts?