LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Angelenos are asking state officials to bring some new safety measures to the city’s oldest freeway.
An online petition on Change.org launched in December calls upon State Senator Kevin de León to address what it describes as an “increasingly dangerous situation” on a historic stretch of the 110 Freeway that runs between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Built in 1940, the Arroyo Seco Parkway – otherwise known as State Route 110 – was declared to be the “first freeway in the West” by then California Gov. Culbert Olso and was initially designed to handle a fraction of the traffic it currently experiences today.
The petition calls for officials to dedicate the Parkway’s Avenue 43 north and southbound exit and entry ramps as exclusive on/off lanes to cut down on potential traffic hazards and accidents.
Supporters say the move is necessary since the highway provides key access points to historical monuments, such as the Lummis House and the Southwest Museum, and serves as one of the more scenic stretches of road in L.A. County.
Upon conversion of most of the northbound and southbound right hand lanes to exit/ entrance only, “exiting and entering will become safer immediately,” according to the petition.
As of Jan. 16, nearly 600 supporters had signed the petition.
The Arroyo Seco Parkway Corridor Partnership Plan (PDF) was completed in 2012 by CalTrans, but the project has been delayed by funding issues.
A Caltrans report on several proposed changes to the freeway is expected to be completed by March.
Locals say the parkway’s sudden exits that drop from 55 miles per hour to 5 on short ramps with hairpin turn cause legendary accidents and serious traffic troubles.
CBS2’s Laurie Perez spoke to several people who transverse the freeway who would like to see changes made. They believe the 1940s road design is far from catching up to 21st century traffic and technology.
“Almost heartbreaking when you hear people say well I knew someone who died out there,” said Jack Fenn one of the petition organizer.
“I’m slowing down and some guys trying to go around me at like 70,” said Dustin Pence, “and he’s not gonna make it, so I have to abort the mission and pull back into traffic so this guy doesn’t nail me.”
Ami Blachowiak says that any time she’s expected guests to her home, she warns them about the exit.
“The first thing we tell them, we give em our address and then we say the exit is a death trap,” says Blachowiak.
Fenn and supporters met Friday morning with de León’s office and were told within three weeks, crews will begin to install new flashing lights and sighs alerting drivers to some of the more sudden exits and entrances.