Despite recent efforts to make L.A. a safer place to walk, Los Angeles still has some really deadly intersections.
Some of them are disproportionately more hazardous to cross than others, according to a new analysis of traffic collisions by the L.A. Times. The report shows that nearly 25% of all traffic crashes involving a pedestrian occur at less than 1% of the city’s intersections. The map reveals 579 of the most problematic intersections across the city—and more than 800 across the county. Many of the most dangerous pedestrian crossings are located around Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles.
To create the report and map, the L.A. Times used crash data from 2002 to 2013 gathered by the California Highway Patrol. To identify the most dangerous intersections, they considered three factors: the overall number of pedestrian collisions, the percentage of collisions where pedestrians were involved, and the percentage that were fatal.
The map shows clusters of highly problematic areas—highlighted by a grey circle—where there are the highest concentrations of dangerous intersections. In these clusters, you’ll see particularly high rates of pedestrian collisions in places that have a lot of pedestrians. For example: in downtown Los Angeles, 659 people were hit and 11 killed at 48 intersections, and Hollywood there were 369 people hit and 8 deaths. The two most dangerous intersections are Slauson and Western avenues in South L.A., where 41 people were hit by cars over the 12 year period, and where Hollywood Blvd. intersects Highland Ave. where 38 pedestrians were hit by cars, and one was killed during the time span.
While it may seem somewhat predictable to say that more pedestrians are hit more often at busier intersections—which many of those on the map are—the L.A. Times report suggests that even within those busy areas certain factors make some intersections more dangerous than others. For instance, some intersections allow for cars to turn while pedestrians have the right of way, instead of requiring drivers to wait on a red light, while the width and traffic flow of other streets allow cars to move faster through certain intersections. These and other factors can increase the risk to pedestrians over other similarly busy intersections.
The report also points out that the city of Los Angeles has made some encouraging strides towards making L.A. a safer place to walk. By installing more high visibility crosswalks with wide, bright stripes and using traffic calming measures like broader curbs and fewer lanes to slow traffic, Los Angeles is working to reduce pedestrian collisions, but there’s clearly still a long way to go. While many of these efforts can be costly and drivers might not be excited about losing lanes to traffic calming, the resulting safety improvements are worth it to make the city safer for those walking. As Ryan Snyder, a transportation planner and UCLA professor, explains, “The common way to think about this is, we don’t want to do anything that compromises car movement. But is it more important to save yourself 10 seconds as you drive, or to save lives?”
BY DANNY JENSEN IN NEWS @ LAIST ON JUL 13