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Opinion

Opinion: Hey, motorists: You are <i>not</i> too important for speed limits or crosswalks

VENICE-CA-SEPTEMBER 14, 2016: Pedestrians and bicyclists cross a street in Venice. (Christina House
Pedestrians and bicyclists cross a street in Venice.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It is so sad to read of the tragic accident and fatality at Sunset and Pacific avenues in Venice. I can’t say I’m surprised though. (“A pedestrian dies in a Venice crosswalk, where ‘red tape’ has delayed safety upgrade,” Oct. 29)

If you could see the very important people driving their very important cars going on their very important missions, you would wonder why there have not been more tragedies in that part of Venice.

For many years I have lived in the South Beach neighborhood of Venice. Recently, the city installed a crosswalk at a local intersection with a signal light activated by a button on the sidewalk. When a pedestrian pushes the button, the light turns red, but within a few seconds it starts blinking, which causes motorists to start driving, pedestrians be damned.

If drivers are so rude as to not wait until the light turns green or a pedestrian has finished crossing the street, it’s only a matter of time until the next senseless tragedy.

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Sandra Dannenbaum, Venice

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To the editor: One positive result of the “road diet” in Playa del Rey has been a significant reduction in southbound traffic speed and noise on the north end of Pershing Drive, where I live and can view from my home.

The elimination of one southbound traffic lane has removed the “drag strip” that motorists had used to speed on Pershing. But with the recent uproar over those road diets, the traffic lanes will be restored.

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There are plans to provide a crosswalk at one end of Pershing where bus stops are located on each side. The recent death of Damon Eric Shear in Venice tragically demonstrates the hazards that pedestrians face in crosswalks on multi-lane streets, as in Shear’s case a motorist in one lane yielded to him but another in the next lane did not.

Providing a modern crosswalk on Pershing with a single travel lane in each direction and a safety island on the median would have a positive impact on the safety of pedestrians and transit users here. In contrast, restoring the drag strip would seriously compromise the safety of this crosswalk.

Gary Cziko, Playa del Rey

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To the editor: It is a tragedy that someone gets killed in a defective crosswalk that was supposed to have been improved by the city.

My street in Venice has become a commuter speedway. There are four young children on our block; Penmar Park, a playing field, is located on the corner. Over the last eight years we have been trying to get the city to enforce its traffic laws without success.

We have been told that the police do not have the resources to ticket drivers who speed or drive through stop signs, as almost everyone now does in Venice. This is insane.

Jack Schwartz, Los Angeles

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