By Aaron Blevins, 8/09/2012
LaBonge seeks traffic study after pedestrian is killed
Following the death of a pedestrian at the corner of 6th Street and Hauser Boulevard in July, city officials are studying potential traffic calming measures for the Mid-City intersection.
At the beginning of August, Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, drafted a motion asking the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to study traffic measures that could improve safety at the intersection. The motion has been referred to the council’s transportation committee.
“This is overdue,” LaBonge said. “We need to get this done. …6th Street needs this kind of attention.”
At approximately 9:45 a.m. on July 11, Park La Brea resident Margaret “Marne” Rosenberger was struck and killed by a vehicle that careened toward her after a collision with another vehicle.
The car that struck Rosenberger, a silver Volkswagen Jetta, collided with the other vehicle and jumped the curb at the northwest corner of the intersection, where Rosenberger was standing. She would have turned 75 years old two days later.
“They need speed bumps [here],” witness Matthew Gray said at the time. “It’s got to be the most dangerous little intersection in L.A.”
The intersection has a history of being a traffic accident magnet. Bernie Clinch, the president of the Park LaBrea Residents Association, said that a similar accident occurred there approximately one month before the traffic fatality.
The incident mirrored the July 11 accident. Clinch said a collision at the intersection caused one of the vehicles to jump the curb on the northwest corner and knock a pillar off the entrance to a townhouse.
“There’s obviously a severe problem there,” he said. “There’s always fender benders at that corner. …It’s a dangerous corner.”
Clinch was among a group of people, including managers from Park La Brea, who testified at city hall when LaBonge’s motion was discussed.
He said he conducted a small poll by walking door to door and learned that there are 21 children who are under the age of 10 living near the intersection at the south end of Park La Brea.
“It’s another tragedy waiting to happen,” Clinch added.
It appears that most of the accidents involve vehicles traveling west on 6th Street, he said. Clinch theorized that drivers increase their speed once the street opens to two lanes near Dunsmuir Avenue, leading to more accidents.
At city hall, the group and LaBonge discussed the possibility of lowering the speed limit on 6th Street in that area, or creating a turn lane with a turn arrow on 6th Street at Hauser Boulevard. Clinch said they also proposed putting a “millisecond hold” on the traffic signal, allowing drivers more time to get out of the intersection before the other side turns green.
“It all depends on the study,” he said.
LaBonge said any changes will likely affect parking, and advised motorists to slow down in the area.