Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Olympic-Pico update

Allyn Rifkin presented his Olympic and Pico Boulevards one-way study at the CD-11 Transportation Committee Monday evening. (See my earlier post for an introduction.)

He set the stage well, saying, "Think of this as someone's first idea ... now let's go out to the community about it." His main points were:

  • Olympic and Pico are major Metro and Big Blue Bus corridors. Because they're mostly more than 1/4 mile apart, he rejected pure one-way roadways in favor of contra-flow bus lanes.

  • Left turn arrows eat up a lot of intersection capacity. The one-way direction would be clockwise — east on Olympic, west on Pico — so changes in direction would use right turns.

  • His "5/2" (5 lanes one-way, 2 contra-flow) diagrams are here — off-peak with parking and left turns above, peak without parking or left turns below.

    Without peak-period left turns capacity would increase by 20%; with peak left turns capacity would only increase by 6%. A questioner was concerned about banning left turns, which would require many to drive around a the block through neighborhoods.

  • The roadways would not become "freeways" because speeds would be regulated by synchronized signal timing.

Zev Yaroslavksy's transportation deputy Vivian Rescalvo emphasized this is about improving transit in the corridor, not only for automobiles, and that it's "absolutely not" an alternative to the Expo Line, but that is eight years away.

Rifkin agreed with my question that Santa Monica's section of Olympic is difficult, long blocks west of Centinela with many west-bound cars headed to the freeway at Cloverfield, and with the median's coral trees and Expo Line west of Cloverfield. Pico is also narrower in Santa Monica. But switching from one-way to two-way would require a large connector street. Could Barrington do that? Bundy is already jammed.

The next step is more study and public process. Will we end up deciding to just synchronize signal timings in the dominant direction?


Matthew H said...

1. Yes, Vivian from Zev's office, after being prompted by a question, stated that the Olympic/Pico proposals are not an alternative to the Expo Line.

2. Using any major north/south street or boulevard as connector steets seems highly unlikely as they are all crowded to the max. It is unknown if the reconfiguration of these boulevards would add to or relieve the north/south gridlock, or keep the gridlock in its current state, which is of continuous growth it seems.

Anonymous said...

last few days our group held a similar talk on this subject and you illustrate something we have not covered yet, thanks.

- Laura