Letters to the editor

Intersection in need of increased safety measures

Will it take a critical injury, or worse — a death — before the City of Los Angeles recognizes the atrocious state of the junction where Portland Street meets Adams Boulevard? This intersection, just one block north of The Row, has some of the worst pedestrian crossing signage in the USC area, filling local residents with fear as cars consistently fail to stop for pedestrians patiently waiting to cross the road.

Drivers, however, are not entirely to blame for failing to yield to pedestrians. The flashing warning lights there are located out of driver’s eye lines, hang high above the street and are hidden by voluminous trees. Drivers often fail to see these lights, impairing their ability to see pedestrians. As a result, pedestrians tend to walk onto the road, using hand signals to indicate their need to cross the busy street. Pedestrians shouldn’t have to risk their safety like this just to cross a road.

With the rising number of students living in University Park, it is imperative that the city act now to increase pedestrian visibility at this dangerous intersection. The lights above the street must be lowered to the driver’s eye level so they can more clearly see warning signs that indicate pedestrians wish to cross the street. In addition to this minor adjustment, in-roadway flashing lights must be installed into the asphalt along the crossing so that drivers have yet another, and more direct, warning signal to yield to pedestrians.

Los Angeles must invest money now to fulfill this simple request. According to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s annual report for the 2010 to 2011 fiscal year, LADOT plans to put $15 million from Measure R revenue into pedestrian safety programs in the next five years, not to mention the additional $287.2 million promised for traffic funding over the next 30 years through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Long Range Transportation Plan. In addition to these funds, LADOT has access to the State of California’s $25 billion portion of grant money provided through the Economic Recovery and Restoration Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. Money is clearly not a problem for LADOT and any cost is inconsequential in comparison to the tragedy that would arise if anyone were to be injured or killed at this dangerous intersection.

Luckily, there have not yet been any reports of injuries or deaths at this junction. Still, the city must recognize the danger that awaits pedestrians at this intersection and act now to lower the current warning lights to the driver’s eye level and to install in-roadway lights along the crosswalk. Reforming this intersection now will encourage drivers to slow down and allow pedestrians to cross the street in a safe and confident manner.

Nick Pittarides

Senior, communication, gender studies

1 reply
  1. John M
    John M says:

    “Will it take a critical injury, or worse — a death — before the City of Los Angeles recognizes the atrocious state of the junction where Portland Street meets Adams Boulevard?”

    Actually, an ‘SC student has already been killed at that crosswalk… and the only upgrades the crosswalk received were the out-of-sight flashing lights you mention:


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