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Major Improvements to Begin Along Wilshire

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By Lookout Staff

April 18, 2023 -- Work is set to begin May 1 on major improvements to Wislhire Boulevard meant to cut down on traffic collisions and enhance transit service, City officials announced Tuesday.

The work calls for the complete repaving of the busy corridor, followed by improved road markings, refreshed crosswalks and clearly marked pedestrian crossings, officials said.

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Other improvements include installing "highly visible" flashing beacons at five intersections, barring left turns at 14 intersections without traffic signals, marking bus stops with bright red pavement, and creating four marked spaces where cyclists can safely cross the boulevard.

"The modifications aim to enhance safe routes to schools while also promoting pedestrian and bicycle travel to nearby establishments such as grocery stores and health care facilities," according to a press release issued by the City.

The improvements are part of "Vision Zero," an effort approved by the City Council in May 2017 to eliminate fatal and severe injury collisions by 2026 ("Santa Monica City Council Calls for Safe Streets “Czar,” May 11, 2017).

The improvements were developed after a year-long study using comprehensive collision data and input from 600 residents found that 89 percent of severe injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians take place at unsignalized intersections.

Approximately one out of every five collisions at these locations occurs when drivers make a left turn or continue straight.

The study also found that a high frequency of pedestrian collisions take place when motorists fail to yield.

The improvements to the bus stops will discourage private vehicles from blocking them, while loading zones installed next to the stops will allow vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers.

Transit ridership is expected to increase in the Wilshire Boulevard corridor when the Metro Purple (D Line) subway extension to Westwood opens in phases between 2024 and 2027.

The improvements will continue next year with Phase 2 improvements, which are in the design stage and will focus on more permanent changes such as concrete curb extensions and improved lighting, officials said.

“These changes will enhance the safety of our residents and visitors while promoting a more walkable and livable community," said Mayor Gleam Davis.

"Santa Monica is committed to intelligent street design that promotes safety, equity, and accessibility for all modes of transportation,” Davis said.

To learn more about the Wilshire Boulevard Safety Enhancements, click here

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