PLAYA DEL REY (CBSLA.com) – Construction will begin on restoring two lanes to a busy roadway in Playa del Rey after a “road diet” plan caused major traffic congestion and led to outrage from residents.
Beginning Aug. 21, Los Angeles Department of Transportation crews will add one northbound and southbound lane to Vista del Mar.
The northbound lane will be added between Imperial Highway and Napoleon Street. The southbound lane will run from Imperial Highway to Waterview Street. Parking spots along Vista del Mar will be removed.
The construction is expected to take two to three weeks, according to officials. Commuters can expect delays, congestion and some full street closures during this time. Drivers are advised to consider alternate routes, including Imperial Highway, Westchester Parkway, Pershing Drive, Lincoln and Sepulveda boulevards and the 405 Freeway.
The road diet was put into effect in June for Playa del Rey, also known as Silicon Beach for the growing number of tech companies taking up residence in the area.
Some who work and live along the stretch in Playa Vista complained about dangerous accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists as cars zipped by at near freeway speeds.
The move eliminated traffic lanes and added a bike lane, reducing parts of Venice Boulevard, Pershing Drive, Jefferson Boulevard, Vista del Mar and Culver Street to one lane in each direction in order to slow cars and make streets safer for bike riders.
The plan, however, left area residents in an uproar.
An online petition calling for an end to the project gathered thousands of signatures and an online campaign raised tens of thousands of dollars for its supporters to take legal action against the city and organize opposition.
The anger over the elimination of lanes prompted an effort to recall Los Angeles City Councilman Bonin, who had originally called for the elimination of traffic lanes.
On July 26, in response to the growing outrage, officials did a reversal, announcing that traffic lanes will be restored along Vista del Mar.
Meanwhile, a new Road Safety Task Force — consisting of residents, business operators and safety advocates — will evaluate and make recommendations on what Bonin calls road safety projects in the area and make a report with recommendations on whether to keep, reverse or modify such projects.