[From Mike Bonin]
As we all know, traffic congestion on Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood is maddening and infuriating. During rush hour, motorists can spend nearly an hour driving a single mile near the I-405. As a result of the tremendous gridlock, people are arriving late for appointments, parents are losing quality time with their children, and residents feel like they are locked into their neighborhoods for large chunks of the day.
The problem has been getting incrementally worse for decades – but I refuse to believe we can’t make it better. That’s why I am launching a Sunset Traffic Initiativeand taking three big steps to address the problem. We are going to focus on unprecedented collaboration, expert analysis, and community input, to come up with proposed solutions, big and small.
Formation of the Sunset Transportation Collaborative
There are many causes of traffic on Sunset Boulevard. One big cause is the number of people going to and leaving from the many wonderful institutions on and near Sunset Boulevard – world class schools, houses of worship, hotels, and museums and cultural centers. To truly make an impact on traffic, these institutions need to work together, share best practices, pool resources, and develop goals for actually reducing the number of Sunset Boulevard trips they generate. That is why I am convening a Sunset Transportation Collaborative, and inviting all the Sunset-area institutions to participate. Already, key institutions have accepted my invitation to participate in the collaborative, including: Paul Revere Middle School, the Getty Center, the Archer School for Girls, St Martin of Tours Catholic Church, the Brentwood Business Improvement District, University Synagogue, Brentwood School, and Mt. Saint Mary’s University. The Collaborative will host its first meeting in early 2016.
I want the collaborative to grow into a genuine Transportation Management Association, a non-profit collaborative that will provide and coordinate transportation services in and around the corridor. We have seen successful trip reduction through such transportation management plans at Warner Center, UCLA, and more recently in Century City. Through ride-sharing, joint shuttles, coordinated scheduling and more, the number of trips on Sunset Boulevard can be reduced, easing the gridlock we encounter.
Getting Expert Analysis & Advice
In order to solve this problem, we first need to fully understand how two basic foundations of transportation engineering – street design and traffic signal timing – contribute to traffic on Sunset. To accomplish this important first step, I have asked renowned transportation expert Allyn Rifkin in collaboration with former City of Santa Monica Traffic Engineer Sam Morrissey (now with the transportation systems firm Iteris), to prepare a strategic analysis of the Sunset corridor design and signal timing. This report will help us understand the technical challenges we are facing, including roadway construction, lane markings, and signal timing, and will additionally offer suggestions for improving the corridor. Bringing in fresh, expert eyes to take a look at Sunset Boulevard will be incredibly useful in guiding how we tackle this problem.
Once the expert analysis is complete, we will share it with the public at a Sunset Traffic Solutions Charrette, to be held in February. This will be your opportunity to evaluate proposed solutions, and suggest your own. This is not going to be a bunch of folks with a PowerPoint presentation talking at you. This will be an interactive, solutions-focused workshop.
We will begin by hearing about proposed solutions from traffic engineers and transportation experts, but we will also workshop different ideas in small groups. I am open to any idea that could help — big and small, general or intersection-specific — and nothing is off the table for discussion. The charrette will be February 6. Please save the date and CLICK HERE to sign up to receive an invitation.
Sunset Boulevard is not going to miraculously return to the traffic-free street that it might have been a half century or more ago. But it can get better — if we work together, are open to examining all ideas, and commit to finding ways to reducing the number of cars. I look forward to working with you to make this happen.
Councilmember, 11th District