Silver Lake’s road diet leads to road rage, captured on video


Why do diets fail? Because people cheat.

Silver Lake residents are learning that the hard way thanks to new traffic patterns. Three years ago, the city Department of Transportation put Rowena Avenue on a “road diet.” The idea was to slow down traffic after a 24-year-old woman was struck and killed by a car as she crossed Rowena.

The roadway’s four car lanes were reduced to two and bicycle lanes were added. City officials believe they’ve made the area safer: there were seven crashes over eight months in 2013, compared with 15 in 2008.

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But with traffic slowed on Rowena Avenue, drivers now cut through the neighborhood’s side streets.

And now the road diet has led to road rage.

A user identified as Jay Jay uploaded a video to YouTube that captured what happened when too many drivers took to Angus Street just south of Rowena. Drivers got out of their cars to yell at one another, and be advised, with profanity.

The same user uploaded a video four weeks ago to show drivers blowing through stop signs at Waverly Drive and Rokeby Street.

A petition calling for a new road diet has received 324 signatures. “Whether this is a complete reversal of the road diet, a partial reversal of the road diet, or measures to stop cut-through traffic on residential streets, this community needs relief from the enormous and egregious cut-through traffic that is wreaking havoc on our once-safe and livable residential streets,” according to the petition.

The road diet is getting renewed attention thanks to Mobility Plan 2035, which is the city’s blueprint for getting Angelenos out of their cars by building up bus- and bike-only lanes. The proposal would also slow traffic in an effort to eliminate traffic-related fatalities, but doing so could lead to more congestion and cut-through traffic in residential neighborhoods.

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Can't everybody on the road -- drivers, cyclists, pedestrians -- just get along? That was the plea of 11-year-old cyclist Matlock Grossman at a town hall meeting earlier this month.

"The road diet by design is meant to slow down cars because motorists are the problem. Please stop bullying and victim-blaming the pedestrians and bicyclists as being the problem," Grossman said.

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