A reader sent Circling the News a notice from a February 6, 2020 LADOT letter regarding the removal of an existing crosswalk in Pacific Palisades.
The DOT letter stated: “After some internal discussions, we have decided to remove the existing marked pedestrian crosswalk on Chautauqua Blvd at Corona Del Mar/Vance Street.
“We will post ‘Public Notices’ on both sides of the crosswalk with our office contact information and will collect comments for 30 days prior to removal of the crosswalk as per our Manual of Policies and Procedures Guidelines.
“The plan is as follows: 1. Removal of the crosswalk. Installation of “No Ped Crossing” signs at this location. 2. LADOT Survey Section will conduct a Pedestrian Survey at this location prior to removal of the crosswalk. 3. If there are a significant number of pedestrians using this crosswalk, we’ll work with our Management to install the crosswalk back with the appropriate traffic control devices. 4. If there is not enough pedestrian usage of this crosswalk, then the removal of the crosswalk will become permanent. Feel free to submit your written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rudy Guevara, P.E. Transportation Engineer, LADOT Western District Office, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (310) 575-8138.”
On March 4, CTN called Guevara and sent emails to DOT and to Councilman Mike Bonin’s field deputy Lisa Cahill for an explanation about why the City believes the crosswalk needs to be removed.
Cahill responded by email: “In early February, LADOT received a letter from a local resident regarding safety concerns at this crosswalk. Once a safety issue is brought to the attention of the LADOT, then they have to investigate. If a safety risk is determined to be present (as it was here), then they must remove the crosswalk. When we heard about this yesterday and knowing the importance of this crosswalk to the neighborhood, our office then immediately reached out to LADOT to find a better solution.
“Per our office’s call with LADOT today, we are now researching three different possible ideas to increase safety at this site: flashing warning lights, curb extensions or speed tables,” Cahill said. “If one of those is feasible, then we will move forward with that plan and the crosswalk will remain. We hope to have more information by mid-next week. We will continue to work with LADOT to urge them to find a solution that will increase safety and allow the crosswalk to stay.”
LAPD Officer John “Rusty” Redican sent a note to LADOT: “Removing that crosswalk would be very dangerous, and potentially more fatal than it already is. My hope is that instead of its removal, that an appropriate traffic control device and applicable lighting would be added to increase the safety for all. Thank you very much for reaching out to the community prior to its removal. If I can answer any questions about the area, please feel free to call me at any time.”
Pacific Palisades residents who want a long and challenging hike, run or bike ride start by going down Temescal Canyon Road to the beach, then south along the beach to the PCH underpass tunnel to reach Chautauqua. They then walk up Chautauqua on the east side of the street, because the other side does not have a continuous sidewalk.
When reaching Corona del Mar/Vance, they cross at the marked crosswalk to gain access to the Huntington neighborhood and beyond. If the crosswalk is removed, these people will have to cross further up Chautauqua. (This would also apply to people who want to hike/bike/run from the Huntington down Chautauqua.)
That intersection is also located near the Eames House, which has 20,000 annual visitors a year.
Resident Kathryn Waltzer wrote DOT on March 4 and shared her letter with CTN: “We all know that this crosswalk is needed. This is a big walking area, especially on the weekends. If you’re walking from the Huntington, there would be no safe way to cross Chautauqua to access the sidewalk/path to the beach or the canyon, as the sidewalk on the west side ends (on a blind curve) shortly below Corona del Mar. No way either to safely cross to Vance street to walk into the canyon, or to the beach via the Vance stairs.”
“Please keep the crosswalk, and, by adding some flashing reflectors, it would be a plus for all citizens,” Waltzer said.