Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

LADOT Officials Discuss Options to Make 6th Street Safer with La Brea Hancock Residents

LADOT officials and LA Brea Hancock homeowners discuss options for reducing speed and increasing safety on 6th Street between La Brea and Highland Avenues.

Earlier this week, officials from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) spoke to residents of the La Brea Hancock neighborhood about how to reduce accidents on 6th Street, between La Brea and Highland Avenues. The meeting was arranged by CD4  Field Deputy Rob Fisher, at the request of residents after a recent spate of accidents, one of which tore through the wall of Jennifer Rojas’ home at the corner of 6th Street and Mansfield Avenue.

Residents requested the meeting to plead their case for a traffic light to slow down the traffic in the fou- block stretch of 6th Street. But as it turns out, traffic lights can be a double edged sword, explained Bhuvan Bajaj, a transportation Engineer for LADOT, who leads the Hollywood-Wilshire District Office.

According to Bajaj, traffic lights don’t necessarily slow down traffic.

“The primary purpose of a traffic light is to assign right of way,” said Bajaj.  Since that’s not really the issue here, he added it could make things worse…because if there isn’t enough cross traffic to trigger the light, it would always appear green to the east and westbound traffic and could potentially make the conditions worse if drivers speed up to catch the light before it turns red. In addition, he said, traffic lights are very expensive and traffic engineers have state and federal protocols they need to follow before recommending the installation of a light.

So what about speed tables? Generally, said Bajaj, speed tables are used on streets with less than 10,000 cars a day. Unfortunately, there are between 16,000 and 18,000 cars a day on 6th Street, so speed tables could make the street less safe for everyone. Similarly, stop signs aren’t a good idea because they could cause excessive traffic backups.

Also, complicating the matter, the presenters said, the problem with 6th Street isn’t just speed. According Oliver Hou, a planner at LADOT, data collected for 24 hours by speed cables in the street before the meeting, and found the average speed traveled was 40 mph. A speed trailer installed by LAPD a while back showed speeds of 35 mph. Surprised and doubtful of the accuracy of the data, residents asked Hou to come back and collect data for a longer time including the weekend.

While their review is not yet complete, officials told residents they were facing two problems; speeding cars that lose control and crash – like the one that ran into Jennifer Rojas’s front yard – and accidents that are caused by cars turning onto local streets or trying to enter traffic on 6th Street. For the latter problem, Bajaj proposed restricting turns, but residents expressed concerns about feeling trapped in their neighborhoods. But no traffic solution is perfect, explained Bajaj.  “It’s always a balance between safety and convenience.”

For Rojas, the biggest issue is speeding cars. She’s worried that she can’t allow her children to play in their own front yard. Bajaj explained that LADOT could pursue traffic-calming strategies that educate drivers to slow down, like speed cameras and speed feedback signs. Even a concerted education campaign has been shown to be very effective, he said. More speed limit signs and greater enforcement of the speed limit are also options.

“This stretch of 6th Street is one of the most critical areas for traffic safety in our district,” said Fisher. “We have already asked LAPD to step up enforcement several times.”

More dramatic solutions could involve re-striping the street or even narrowing the street to one lane by allowing parking during some parts of the day. This stretch of 6th Street is already considered a narrow street, though — it’s only 40 feet wide, so there’s a limited number of options that LADOT can offer, explained Bajaj. However, he promised to come back and collect more data and to analyze four years of accident data that has been collected by LAPD.

Rojas invited Bajaj to come and sit in her front yard and watch the traffic. She told the Buzz that while she understands these solutions take time and research, she’s worried that someone could lose their life in the meantime.

Longtime Mansfield resident Genia Quinn said the traffic conditions have worsened over the years and asked Bajaj and Hou to consider the residents who live in the neighborhood and not just the flow of traffic.

If you drive on this stretch of 6th Street, consider slowing down — your neighbors in La Brea Hancock will appreciate it.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest Articles

.printfriendly { padding: 0 0 60px 50px; }