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Hahn Unveils Plan to Speed Traffic Flow

Times Staff Writer

Faced with worsening congestion on Los Angeles freeways and surface streets, transportation planners say they will try to make traffic flow faster across the city’s most important arterial roads.

Under a plan announced by Mayor James K. Hahn on Monday, synchronized stoplights on 35 major streets would be reset so that traffic on those streets would have priority. Among them are Sepulveda Boulevard, Olympic Boulevard and Western Avenue.

“These are the key streets that a motorist would rely on as an alternative to the freeway,” said John Fisher, assistant director of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

The city will reset the signals on nine streets this year and the remaining signals over the next several years as resources become available, he said.

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The city also will assign traffic officers to key intersections on several of the streets and aggressively enforce parking laws in order to keep vehicles from blocking lanes during rush hour.

Existing plans to install left-turn arrows at several intersections will stay in place, but recalibrating the signals on the 35 streets will have priority.

The city has not committed new funds to the traffic-reduction project, which Hahn has dubbed “Street Smart.”

The mayor predicted that the measures would save motorists a combined 8.4 million hours each year.

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“The best way to address the city’s traffic problems is through a strategic plan and a series of efforts made over a period of time,” Hahn said in a prepared statement.

“We’re doing everything that we can to improve the city’s busiest streets.”

Hahn said lights on Victory Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley would be the first to be reset.

But a spokesman for Bob Hertzberg, who is running for mayor against Hahn, said that funding for synchronized traffic lights and other improvements along Victory Boulevard had been authorized by the state when Hertzberg served the San Fernando Valley as speaker of the California Assembly.

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Hahn was city attorney of Los Angeles at the time, Matt Szabo said.

“You’d think that when the mayor tries to look active by claiming credit for other people’s work that at least he’d pick someone who isn’t running against him,” Szabo said in an e-mail.

Hahn spokeswoman Sahar Moridani said that although it’s true that some of the work was funded by earlier state grants, the new plan would take the synchronization a step further, coordinating traffic throughout the city to ease congestion.

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Affected streets

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The following streets have been identified as part of the anti-congestion plan:

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Alameda Street

Alvarado Street

Balboa Boulevard

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Cahuenga Boulevard West

Colorado Boulevard

Devonshire Street

Figueroa Street

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Gaffey Street

Glendale Boulevard

Grand Avenue

Highland Avenue

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Hoover Street

La Brea Avenue

La Cienega Boulevard

Lankershim Boulevard

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Lincoln Boulevard

Manchester Avenue

Mission Road

Olympic Boulevard

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Pacific Coast Highway

Roscoe Boulevard

San Fernando Road

Santa Monica Boulevard

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Sepulveda Boulevard

Slauson Avenue

Sunset Boulevard

Tampa Avenue

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Topanga Canyon Boulevard

Valley Boulevard

Van Nuys Boulevard

Venice Boulevard

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Ventura Boulevard

Victory Boulevard

Western Avenue

Wilshire Boulevard

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