Since the 2010 Bicycle Task Force, the City of West Hollywood had been studying the idea of putting Fountain on a “Road Diet”–taking away lanes from cars and repurposing them for bicycles, pedestrians and parking.
When the final Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan came to the City Council after a half-decade of study, however, an unlikely coalition of Mayor Heilman, and Councilmembers Duran and Meister asked staff to remove the road diet from the plan, citing in part that Fountain Avenue gets nearly as much traffic as Santa Monica or Sunset at peak hours.
Now that the City of Los Angeles is trying out Road Diets on a broader scale, it is clear they had the right idea.
In an op-ed calling road diets, “dangerously stupid,” Shelly Smith explains the logical fallacy:
City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the 11th District on the Westside, is a proud proponent of the “road diet” idea. He cites studies showing that a pedestrian hit by a car going 20 mph has a 10 percent chance of dying, compared to 80 percent at 40 mph.
But the goal should be to keep pedestrians from being hit at all, not to slow commuters to 20 mph so they’re hurt less badly.
Since the City of Los Angeles started rolling out road diets, vehicle versus pedestrian fatalities are up 43%.
But the idea of a Fountain Road diet seems like the bad idea that just won’t go away, as nearby residents are calling for traffic calming measures on the street. Let’s hope that the latest round of attention given to Fountain doesn’t resurrect the road diet idea and that more sensible options are considered and implemented!