Opinion: South Bay residents: Make our commutes faster, and pedestrians and cyclists will be safer


Commuters from the South Bay cities of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach want you to know that their primary concern after Vista del Mar went on a road diet, reducing the number of automobile lanes on that popular 405 Freeway bypass to one in either direction, is that the new arrangement isn’t safe.

Several letter writers from those cities did not take kindly to a fellow South Bay denizen’s scolding of those who objected to Los Angeles’ effort to reduce traffic fatalities by slowing cars down on city streets. Besides, they said, L.A. isn’t helping cyclists or pedestrians much by reducing speeds on a street like Vista del Mar or by adding bike lanes on other roads they use.

Courtney Moss of Manhattan Beach complains about a lack of safety and her longer commute:


Peter Flax’s op-ed article on Wednesday was horribly biased and offensive in portraying Manhattan Beach residents as monsters who would rather see pedestrians die than sit in traffic.

It’s time to start over, as Vision Zero was conceived and implemented with zero vision.

— Wayne Powell, former Manhattan Beach mayor

The changes to the roads in Playa del Rey were poorly thought out and implemented with no notice. Not only are the roads more dangerous for drivers with abrupt merging and confusing new turn lanes, but the “bike paths to nowhere” put cyclists in danger.

No new bike lanes were installed on Vista del Mar. Furthermore, the pedestrian death that sparked this road diet occurred late at night and had nothing to do with regular commuters. Finally, there are the disgusting piles of trash that have popped up on Vista del Mar since the changes, and thousands of cars will spend more time idling in traffic and emitting exhaust, causing unnecessary pollution.

Yes, these changes have made my commute to Santa Monica unbearable, but they have also made the streets more dangerous for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.

Carol Brown of Hermosa Beach says that cyclists already have a local bike lane:


I agree that everyone wants to avoid accidents and pedestrian deaths by making our streets safer.

However, Flax forgets to mention in his article that there is an existing bike path on the beach with no stop lights and no cars.

So why add a bike lane on major roads that run near the beach bike path?

Former Manhattan Beach Mayor Wayne Powell accuses Los Angeles officials of poor governance:

The Los Angeles Vision Zero “road diet” implementation is the antithesis of transparent government. When neighborhood traffic calming measures (under the guise of public safety) are hastily and quietly implemented on a piecemeal basis without all stakeholder input, adverse unintended consequences occur.

This poorly conceived action has created increased safety problems, resulted in traffic gridlock with resulting environmental pollution, impeded emergency vehicle access, shifted traffic onto other congested streets, caused parking-related trash pollution and decreased quality of life.

It’s time to start over, as Vision Zero was conceived and implemented with zero vision.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook