| The Proposal -
Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa-
November 26, 2007
From DOT: SUMMARY
Traffic congestion levels along Olympic and Pico Boulevards justify the implementation of all available traditional measures and consideration of non-traditional operational measures.
Supervisor Yaroslavsky’s proposal was evaluated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and elements of the proposal were found not to be feasible.
DOT has evaluated other alternative measures and has determined that the three measures of (1) the addition of peak period lanes; (2) directional signal operation; and (3) preferential directional flow are feasible.
The addition of peak period lanes for both the AM and PM peak periods will have initial adverse impacts to parking availability until schools, religious institutions, businesses, and customers can adjust to the new parking restrictions, as has occurred elsewhere in the City.
Directional signal operation and preferential directional flow would improve traffic flow for traffic traveling westbound on Olympic Boulevard and eastbound on Pico Boulevard, but would degrade traffic flow for traffic traveling eastbound on Olympic Boulevard and westbound on Pico Boulevard. However, the overall benefit is that motorists would have travel choices for improved directional flow that are not achievable through conventional measures.
Each of the three feasible measures hold the potential of incrementally reducing commuter traffic on neighborhood streets along the Olympic/Pico Corridor due to improvements in traffic flow on the arterial routes. Further, access to and traffic volumes on Motor Avenue and Overland Avenue (northerly of Pico Boulevard) would be incrementally reduced due to metered left turn phasing to those routes.
A three-phase approach (first peak period lanes, followed by directional signal operation, followed by preferential directional flow operation) would allow the impacts of each phase to be assessed before advancing to the next phase.
The cost to implement the first phase is estimated to be $300,000, which can be entirely financed from the Special Parking Revenue Fund. The cost to implement the second phase is estimated to be $300,000, which can be financed from a combination of the West Los Angeles Improvement and Mitigation Specific Plan Fund and the ATSAC Trust Fund. The cost to implement the third phase is estimated to be $1,500,000, which could be financed from the West Los Angeles Improvement and Mitigation Specific Plan Fund and other funds to be designated.
At this time, funding is requested only for Phases One and Two.
Phase 1: AM and PM Peak Period Lanes on Olympic/Pico Boulevards
Peak period lanes provide added capacity during peak periods by utilizing the area reserved for curbside parking as travel lanes. Typically, major arterials have continuous peak period lanes to provide a consistent or maximum number of travel lanes. An inconsistency in peak period lanes limits roadway capacity in critical segments by not allowing continuous travel lanes, creating traffic merging conditions and increasing the potential of rear-end and side swipe accidents. The primary drawback of the installation of peak period lanes is the loss of on-street parking during the peak periods.The objective of this alternative is to achieve continuous peak period curb lanes in each direction during both the AM and PM peak periods by implementing uniform peak period parking restrictions on Olympic and Pico Boulevards within the study segment. Along the study segments of Olympic Boulevard between Centinela Avenue and La Brea Avenue, and Pico Boulevard between Centinela Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard, there are significant distances where peak period lanes are already in place. However, there are sections where either an AM peak period restriction, PM peak period restriction, or both are not present. In addition, in some sections the hours are not consistent from block to block. This concept will require the addition of peak period lanes and parking restrictions in the missing sections and consistent hours along the streets.This phase is expected to improve overall travel speeds by 2 mph in those sections where peak period lanes and parking restrictions do not exist. The cost for Phase 1 is approximately $300,000 and can be financed from the Special Parking Revenue Fund.
Phase 2: Directional Signal Operation
Among the many benefits of one-way streets are increased travel speeds and reduced delay accomplished in part by improved traffic signal timing. However, a one-way pair operation of Olympic and Pico Boulevards is not feasible because of the distance of separation between the two streets (¼ to ½ mile). Instead, DOT has developed a strategy to treat these two-way streets as a pair and time the signals to favor one direction of travel over the other. This strategy is termed “directional signal operation”. According to this strategy, Olympic Boulevard would favor westbound travel and Pico Boulevard would favor eastbound travel. This phase is expected to improve travel speeds by 6 mph (from 17 to 23 mph) in the preferential directions, with a small degradation of 1 mph (16 to 15 mph) in the opposite directions. Although the preferential direction benefits and the minor direction degrades, the overall benefit is that motorists have a choice and a smooth-flow option not otherwise available through conventional measures. The cost for Phase 2 is approximately $300,000. The portion westerly of Beverwil Drive would cost approximately $150,000 and is eligible for financing from the West Los Angeles Improvement and Mitigation Specific Plan Funds. The remainder can be financed from the ATSAC Trust Fund.
Phase 3: Preferential Directional Flow Operation
DOT has developed a strategy to operate two-way streets in an alternative way – with preferential flow in a given direction. Under this concept, Olympic Boulevard would provide preferential treatment for westbound through traffic and local access only for eastbound traffic. Likewise, Pico Boulevard would provide preferential treatment for eastbound through traffic and local access only for westbound traffic. This operational concept is termed “preferential directional flow”. It is feasible between Centinela Avenue and a point east of La Brea Avenue. It has been tried on a much smaller scale along Figueroa Street between Olympic and Exposition Boulevards and along Hill Street between 1st and 12th Streets. There is no known similar operation of two paired streets separated by such a great distance (¼ to ½ mile), of which DOT staff is aware, anywhere in the nation. Simply stated, preferential directional flow would have the peak period lane plus the adjacent lane to provide transit service and local access for the “minor” move. All other lanes would serve the opposing preferential flow. Phase 3 complements the Phase 2, directional signal operation, which would tend to attract more motorists to the street and direction that offers improved directional flow. As motorists gravitate to the preferred direction and traffic volume increases, it is possible that the travel times and speeds might decrease. Therefore, the implementation of this alternative would be necessary to accommodate the increase in traffic volume in the preferred direction and maintain the initial benefit of Alternative 4 (+6 mph in the preferred direction).
The cost for Phase 3 is approximately $1,500,000 and is eligible for financing from the West Los Angeles Improvement and Mitigation Specific Plan Fund and other funds to be designated. Final funding will be identified when a decision is made to move forward to Phase 3.
| Figure 2: Directional Signal Operation
|Figure 3: Preferential Directional Flow Operation