For years residents at Mansfield Avenue and 6th Street in the La Brea Hancock neighborhood have been asking city officials to slow the traffic down on their neighborhood’s four block stretch of 6th Street, but after two serious crashes this past weekend, they are now fearful that someone is going to get killed. Residents Jennifer and Jason Rojas shared these graphic videos with the Buzz, showing two accidents from last weekend – the first on Saturday, September 19, and the second from Sunday, the 20th.
“This is not a new problem,” resident Jennifer Rojas told CD4 Field Deputy Rob Fisher on a conference call with local residents this week. “If it were not for the wall we built [in front of our house], I really think my kids would be dead. Is it going to take one of my kids dying for DOT to get the data they need to put in a stoplight?” asked Rojas. Joined by a half dozen neighbors on the call, Rojas said residents want a stoplight somewhere on that four block stretch to slow the traffic down between La Brea and Highland. Ironically, the street was recently paved and the physical improvement actually added to the speeds that cars are now traveling east and west.
“People get frustrated with the other lights on 6th Street and once they hit La Brea, they speed up and race to get to Highland Avenue,” said Debora Vrana, a resident of Mansfield for more than ten years who contacted the Buzz about the recent accidents. “We need a traffic light,” demanded Vrana.
Fisher explained that LA DOT’s process for putting in a stoplight is long and cumbersome, but he offered some other alternatives that could be put in place more quickly, such as right-turn-only restrictions and speed humps. Fisher said DOT would be sending out a speed feedback sign that would collect data about how fast cars are traveling, and that could further inform options and solutions to slow down the traffic and make the neighborhood safer. He also said the Bureau of Street Services would be conducting an inspection of the street in this area to see if there are any issues in the road that could be causing speeding cars to lose control of their vehicles.
Residents asked Fisher if the city could get in touch with ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber, and the mapping service Waze, to update their maps to reflect that Mansfield is a dead-end street north of Wilshire, to reduce the traffic on the street. Fisher said he would ask DOT to reach out to their contacts. In closing the call, Fisher promised to reconvene the group of concerned residents in another video call next week, with an engineer from LA DOT who could provide more information about what is required to get a traffic light installed somewhere on the four block stretch.
“This is a top priority for us,” CD4 spokesman Mark Pampanin told the Buzz. “This is very serious and we do not believe that we should wait to take action. We want to act quickly with steps we can take right away.”
Rojas, who has lived on the southeast corner of Mansfield and 6th Street for three years, said she installed the wall around her property after an accident took out her front hedges. She shared numerous emails she has sent to CD4 staff over the years regarding accidents, including a photo from one she sent in February 2018, which was the third accident at the corner of her house since December of the previous year.
Other residents on the call chimed in with suggestions for Fisher and concerns about safety driving and walking in the neighborhood. And as if to illustrate their point, yet another accident took place at Highland and 6th Street during the 30 minute call.
In closing, Cathy Roberts, president of the La Brea-Hancock Homeowners Association, told Fisher she believes there is a clear precedent west of La Brea for stop lights on every other street, which certainly slows down the traffic. She said she would like to see the same east of La Brea.
“When I saw that footage, I just thought what if a pedestrian had been there? They could have not have reacted quick enough to get out of the way,” said Roberts. “It would have happened instantaneously and that is frightening and really scary.”
As horrifying as these accidents are, we have the same problem at the intersection of Highland and 6th on a weekly basis, so I’m not sure if a stop light will make a difference, and it could create an incentive for through traffic going North/South and exacerbate the problem in the process. I am the block captain for the HPHOA for the 400 S block and this is problem that has vexed me for years.
I live on Orange Drive, between 4th and 6th, and one block from Mansfield. Same story — I’d say there have been countless accidents on our corner in the 20 years I’ve lived here. My children grew up knowing not to walk or ride their bikes around the corner there because of it.
Thank you for posting this article. I regularly would walk on 6th street to get to Yoga class or cut across 6th Street at Sycamore Avenue in my car. Moving forward, I will not be doing this again and I suggest others do the same.