Drivers skid on it, then crash into cars, fences and garden walls. Fire trucks and buses get stuck on it. And a neighbor asked a navigation app to remove it as a shortcut because of its dangers.
Now Baxter Street in Echo Park, one of the steepest roads in Los Angeles, is about to get a makeover.
Los Angeles transportation officials announced several changes Friday to the notorious street and others nearby to mitigate what they called “a major safety concern for residents, emergency vehicle access and those using the roadway.”
The narrow road has a 33% grade, the third steepest in Los Angeles and 10th in the nation. In recent years, navigation apps have directed more drivers to Baxter Street to avoid traffic jams along nearby Glendale Boulevard. But the apps don’t tell drivers how treacherous the road can be, especially in rainy weather.
After numerous complaints, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and the city Department of Transportation organized two community meetings about the issue.
“I share in the frustration of residents with drivers utilizing narrow, hillside residential streets for cut-through traffic, especially one as steep as Baxter,” O’Farrell said in a statement. “I want to thank LADOT for working with my office and residents on a solution, and I ask for your patience as we implement these changes and grow accustomed to them.”
Officials plan to install street signs marking the changes as early as 8 a.m. Tuesday. O’Farrell has asked Los Angeles police to increase patrols to enforce the new restrictions and help motorists get used to them.
The changes are: