In wake of Venice crash, L.A. council backs new boardwalk barriers
Reacting to the weekend hit-and-run crash that left one dead and 16 injured, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to install temporary traffic barriers at the Venice Boardwalk.
Saying the Venice neighborhood is “shaken” by the incident, Councilman Mike Bonin asked his colleagues to instruct various city agencies to place the temporary barriers at the most hazardous intersections along Ocean Front Walk until a permanent strategy for keeping cars away from pedestrians is developed.
Bonin said the city should treat the boardwalk, which receives millions of visitors per year, less like a neighborhood park and more like a global tourist destination. Although four pylons were on Dudley Avenue separating cars from Ocean Front Walk, the suspect in Saturday’s crash swerved around them by driving on the sidewalk and then into the crowd.
Alice Gruppioni, a 32-year-old Italian woman who was on her honeymoon, was killed in Saturday’s crash. Police arrested Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, on suspicion of murder. He is scheduled to be charged Tuesday.
Nearly 30 streets and alleys deliver cars to Ocean Front Walk and few have traffic barriers, Bonin said. A separate accident occurred on the boardwalk three weeks ago near Muscle Beach, he added.
“As many as 15 or 20 times a day, people accidentally drive onto Ocean Front Walk, putting life and property at risk,” he said.
On a 14 to 0 vote, the council called for city officials, including those at the police and fire departments, to produce a safety assessment for the boardwalk within 14 days. The study will also look at proposals for more street lighting, installation of a public address system and expanded surveillance cameras along the walkway.
Bonin said he wants the city to determine whether bollards -- pier-like posts of steel or concrete -- should be installed on selected streets and sidewalks. Another option would be huge concrete planters, he said.
Councilman Tom LaBonge asked public safety officials to look at other popular pedestrian spots, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
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