Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Culver City have announced a joint effort aimed at improving the flow of traffic on the congested Westside.
Standing at one of the busiest intersections in the area, top officials from the three cities last week unveiled a “regional mobility plan” to coordinate ways to reduce traffic.
“It has become very clear to us . . . that there is a need for more cooperation on issues that transcend our boundaries,” Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley said at a press conference Thursday on the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Rose Avenue in Venice.
Because cars cross city boundaries, so must the efforts to fight gridlock, he said.
‘Start With Simple Things’
Joining Bradley were Los Angeles City Council members Ruth Galanter and Marvin Braude, who represent Westside districts, and the mayors of Santa Monica, Dennis Zane, and Culver City, Jozelle Smith.
The plan so far is short on specifics. Bradley said the cities will look at synchronizing traffic signals across city lines, conforming the hours when parking is banned on heavily traveled streets and enforcing anti-gridlock laws.
“We will start with the simple things and move on to the more complicated,” Galanter said.
The three mayors and two council members frequently had to raise their voices to be heard over the cars that roared by and the noise from a jackhammer at a mini-mall construction site. The traffic signal at the intersection was on the blink, creating a long backup of cars as a police officer directed traffic.
The three cities are agreeing to participate in regular consultations over street closures and road work and ways to smooth the flow of cars from one community to another. They are expected to share information on specific traffic problems and their proposed solutions and to notify each other on upcoming development projects.
They are also planning to focus on main arteries through several cities, such as Lincoln Boulevard, and on “cut-through” traffic that plows into residential neighborhoods.
“No city is giving up its independent authority to make planning decisions,” Zane said. “What we are talking about is collaboration.”
The decision to coordinate efforts stems, in part, from past fighting among Westside cities over large development projects that send traffic rolling into neighboring communities.
One such dispute involves Santa Monica’s plan to build a sprawling 1.4-million-square-foot office complex at the Santa Monica Airport, which borders on several West Los Angeles neighborhoods. Los Angeles officials in the past have hinted they would consider legal action against Santa Monica to stop the project.
Another dispute has centered on the Marina Place regional mall planned for a far-west tip of Culver City that juts into Venice. Los Angeles and a Venice community group are suing Culver City and the developer.
The joint consultations announced last week are not expected to end fights between cities. But officials said that, by sharing information, they may be able to avoid some lawsuits in the future.
“All of us are neighbors. We all suffer the same congestion, the same overcrowding, the same inadequate street system,” Braude said. “Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Culver City are not foreign nations. They are not the enemy. . . . We have to talk together, to work together.”
TRAFFIC PLAN Although the traffic plan is short on specifics so far, city officials from Los Angeles, Culver City and Santa Monica are expected to explore the following possibilities: Synchronizing traffic signals across city lines. Conforming the hours when parking is banned on heavily-traveled streets. Enforcing anti-gridlock laws. Consulting regularly on street closures and road work. Notifying each other on future development projects.