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California Neighborhood Revolts Over Traffic Calming
Residents of an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood oust proponents of traffic calming from their homeowners board.

Cheviot Hills
A majority of residents in the affluent Los Angeles neighborhood of Cheviot Hills are fed up with the traffic calming measures that have made driving into or out of the area a nightmare. Los Angeles Department of Transportation officials have used every trick in the book, spending more than $500,000 to slow down traffic. The measures taken include installing speed bumps and curb extensions that narrow the streets, adjusting traffic light timing, adding four-way stop signs, and imposing restrictions on right and left-hand turns.

City engineers took action at the request of a number of outspoken residents demanding that they do something to "slow down" traffic. The result was that after calming techniques were applied to the neighborhood's main street, Motor Avenue, traffic immediately diverted to sidestreets to avoid the hassle, causing even more congestion.

"Traffic calming measures like these typically don't work," explained National Motorists Association spokesman Eric Skrum. "What it does accomplish is to push the problem into another person's street. Rather than hindering traffic, engineers need to facilitate traffic in the areas where they want them. By making those alternative avenues more attractive, traffic will naturally flow to them."

That's why the residents staged a coup in June to remove the original four traffic calming advocates from the Cheviot Hills Homeowners Association.

Article Excerpt:
Janet Levine, an attorney who has lived in the area for a decade, said the bump-outs on Motor "serve no purpose except to make driving, walking, biking and running on the street more dangerous. And they're not even pretty, to boot." The rounded features stick out six to eight feet from the curb and are intended "to get you to see [that] the roadway is narrower and you need to drive slower," Fisher said. "If you're inattentive even for a moment," he acknowledged, "you could end up hitting them."
Source: 'Calmed' Roads Led to a Storm (Los Angeles Times, 7/20/2005)

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