Exhausting all efforts to lighten traffic

traffic fight
March 20, 2014

Op-ed by Carleton Cronin, West Hollywood, California

It is very likely that there were other things I should be doing, as we Americans are constantly goaded into action, many of us even considering ease as slothfulness , one of the deadly sins.

However, I found myself sitting on my front steps with Marley The Magnificent, my son’s faithful canine companion, staring at the procession of vehicles slowly inching west on Dorrington toward Robertson Boulevard where they were to make a valiant effort to turn left across traffic.

I did not look to see if a traffic cop was there to help.  Probably not.

Carleton Cronin writes about the perils and pleasures of living in the urban wilderness.

Carleton Cronin writes about the perils and pleasures of living in the urban wilderness.

So, there I sat like a bump on a log eyeballing the seemingly endless lineup.

Since I always carry pen and paper to catch  the errant thoughts which would otherwise dribble into oblivion, I decided to count the cars as they went by.

(Now I know why  Romeo the cat and Marley like to sit outside: They also count cars.)

In the space of about one hour we counted 111 vehicles – autos, trucks, motorcycles and MTA buses, all detoured down Dorrington Avenue and sharing their exhaust gases with the neighborhood.

An automobile accident on the San Vicente Racetrack had sheared off a utility pole.

My view earlier of the scene indicated to me that the car had been travelling at a high rate of speed  and probably lost control just prior to the spot it struck.

Further, the car ended up about 100 feet away from the point of impact.  An ambulance took away the driver.

Now my eyes are not as sharp as they once were, but I had seen many  vehicle accidents as a military police investigator in the early 1950s. accidental

I cannot imagine much has changed since then in terms of the evidence presented by the wreckage  of the vehicle and whatever it had struck.

My concerns for the safety of vehicles on this stretch of roadway have been stated on these pages before.

Repetition is required.

My queries to City Hall elicited the answer in the typical narrow fashion of all government workers, to wit: (more or less) – a survey of the number of vehicles on San Vicente found that too few travelled that street to warrant the establishment of a stoplight halfway down the block towards Beverly Blvd.city hall dusk5

I was told that the average speed was within the limits posted.  The investigation by the city was based upon suggestions  written by the state, taken by the city as rigid requirements.

The local conditions and a smattering of common sense were omitted to the decision.

That was after the third vehicular fatality I knew of on San Vicente.  I do not know how many other accidents have taken place there, but I’m willing to bet that it is the number one scene for such events in our city.

But, the city  fathers are beholden to the automobile for its supposed relationship to the level of sales tax revenue.  I harbor a gut feeling that at least 75 percent of the cars on our streets are headed somewhere else and must pass through the city to get there.councilatlibraryribbon

Watching today’s parade reinforces that opinion.  Since eight this morning there has been a non-stop line of cars.

A contributing factor has been the AIDS Walk, which closed a number of streets intermittently.  And, I think I might have routed the cars differently.

I would have put the signal at Robertson and Melrose on blink and put a traffic cop there to handle the crowd.  Melrose has two lanes and a turn lane down Robertson which would have speeded things up quite a bit.

Detouring all the traffic from San Vicente to a crowded residential street might be seen as pretty short-sighted.

Will there be another survey by the city’s Transportation department?

Will the rigid outline produced by traffic managers in Sacramento prevail over good judgment?

Will we, after probably fifteen years if asking, ever see a stoplight or a crossing signal midway down San Vicente?

Glumly, I believe my Powerball ticket will pay off first.