City of Santa Monica
California

Staff Report
3878

Approval of the Wilshire Boulevard Safety Improvements - Design and Phasing Plan

Information

Department:Mobility (PCD)Sponsors:
Category:08. Administrative Item

Recommended Action

Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council:

1.     Approve the recommendations outlined in the Wilshire Safety Study, including but not limited to:

a.     Short-term measures to install right-turn only from stop-controlled side streets, rectangular rapid flashing beacons, signage and pavement marking enhancements, enhanced north-south bicycle connections, restricted u-turns, signal timing adjustments, hot-spot intersection enhancements, bus safety and performance improvements, median refuge replanting, photometric assessment and lighting, and curbside management plans;

b.     Medium-term measures to install a new traffic signal, permanent “hot-spot” improvements, curb extensions, and signal phasing upgrades; and

c.      Long-term measures to install a new traffic signal, corridor-wide curbside management strategies, additional curb extensions, additional bus safety and operational enhancements, and lighting improvements.

2.     Direct staff to proceed with phased implementation of the Wilshire Safety Study recommendations.

 

 

Staff Report Body

Summary

The City Council has embraced Vision Zero, the elimination of fatal and severe injury collisions by 2026Staff identified Wilshire Boulevard as a priority corridor where a disproportionate amount of fatal and severe traffic related injuries are occurring, with six fatalities and 29 severe injuries occurring over an 11-year period along the 2.4 mile stretch of roadway that lies within City limits.  Four of the intersections along Wilshire Boulevard were identified as within the City's top ten intersections with the highest occurrence of severe injury and fatal crashes. Funded by a State grant, the City undertook a comprehensive community and data-driven process to produce the Wilshire Safety Study (Attachment A) to assist in accomplishing the citywide target of Vision Zero by making safety improvements along Wilshire Boulevard. 

The study involved an investigative crash data analysis, extensive data collection, a robust year-long community engagement process, and development of targeted safety countermeasures. Using this information, the Study identified a series of phased improvements that can be made to improve safety along Wilshire Boulevard.  Approval of the Wilshire Safety Study recommendations and direction to advance with a phased implementation would facilitate immediate and longer-term safety improvements along the corridor. If approved, the process to install the first phase of improvements would begin immediately and be able to be completed in approximately a one- to two-year time period. The first phase of improvements would include signage and markings upgrades, enhanced pedestrian crossing treatments, signal adjustments, and buildout of medians and other safety features in quick-build materials. Corridor lighting and curb management studies would also be initiated as part of the first phase of improvements.  Staff would then prioritize the remaining Phase Two and Three improvements as funding becomes available and intends to pursue several applicable grant sources in 2020.

Background

Wilshire Boulevard serves as an important multi-modal mixed-use corridor both within the City of Santa Monica and as part of the larger regional transportation system.  It serves a local commercial function for people living in adjacent neighborhoods, and safe crossing is crucial for people walking to and from their homes, jobs, stores, and restaurants. It is also a major transit corridor with Big Blue Bus (BBB) and Metro Rapid and Local bus services, and will grow in importance with the construction of the Metro Purple Line extension to the Veterans Administration West Los Angeles Healthcare Campus targeted for completion in 2026.

Wilshire Boulevard has been identified as a critical corridor in several of the City’s key planning documents including the Land Use Circulation Element (LUCE), Bike Action Plan, Pedestrian Action Plan, and the Downtown Community Plan.

The 2010 LUCE emphasizes that improvements on Wilshire Boulevard should prioritize transit and pedestrian circulation.  The 2011 Bike Action Plan recommends rather than creating bike lanes directly on Wilshire Boulevard, focusing instead on creating bikeway improvements on the parallel streets of California Avenue and Arizona Avenue and linking Wilshire Boulevard to these parallel routes by enhancing the north-south bicycle crossings across Wilshire Boulevard. 

The 2016 Pedestrian Action Plan recommends several pedestrian focused enhancements for Wilshire Boulevard.  Some recommendations have already been installed such as the pedestrian scramble phasing at Wilshire Boulevard at Second, Third, and Fourth Streets.  The Wilshire Safety Study identifies and recommends completing several of the other identified improvements in the Pedestrian Action Plan, including installation of curb extensions at key locations, adding leading pedestrian intervals at all intersections, and conducting a lighting assessment to enhance the boulevard’s lighting. 

The Downtown portion of Wilshire Boulevard is identified for improvements in the 2017 Downtown Community Plan with a focus on the intersections of Wilshire Boulevard at Second, Third, and Fourth Streets.  As part of the development of the Wilshire Safety Study, the team has been coordinating with Downtown Santa Monica Inc, (DTSM) and other stakeholders to align Study recommendations with the strategy outlined in the Downtown Community Plan and on-going re-envisioning of the Third Street Promenade.  These plans identify important guiding policy and potential improvements for Wilshire Boulevard to enhance its position as a transit and pedestrian focused corridor in Santa Monica

Recent Vision Zero traffic safety work identified a need for a detailed safety focused study to complement the previous studies and plans. The need to improve safety along Wilshire Boulevard was identified as a high priority as part of the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan through a citywide mapping effort of severe injury and fatal crashes over an 11-year period.  Improving safety on the corridor is a necessary step towards reaching the City’s goal of eliminating all fatal and severe injury crashes from Santa Monica streets by 2026.  In February 2019, after receiving a grant award from the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”) Sustainable Communities Transportation Planning Grant Program, the City’s Mobility Division launched the Wilshire Safety Study.  The Resolution (Attachment F) authorizing authority to enter into the grant agreement was adopted by City Council February 13, 2018.  The study goals are to:

·         Use a data-driven process to understand current safety issues for all users on and across Wilshire Boulevard;

·         Gather information from community stakeholders to understand existing safety context;

·         Develop options for targeted safety enhancements;

·         Encourage safe and accessible linkages to nearby homes, businesses and transit; and

·         Identify preferred short- and long-term recommendations through a robust community engagement process.

The grant-funded portions of the study will wrap up in February 2020. The recommendations are organized in phases to allow for immediate implementation of cost-effective safety countermeasures and prioritization of those larger improvements that require more intensive engineering design and funding. Following the study, staff will be looking for grant and other funding sources and strategies to assist in implementation of future phases. The staff report summarizes key findings, outreach and study recommendations.

 

Discussion

Community engagement for the Wilshire Safety Study was a robust, year-long process. The Study team consulted with the community through a series of meetings with neighborhood associations, Board and Commission meetings, workshops, walk audits, and focused stakeholder discussions. The City’s Take the Friendly Road website hosted an interactive mapping tool and comment section, and knowledge of the project was spread widely through eye-catching light pole banners, door to door outreach, postcards and pop-up events.

The first phase of outreach solicited input from the community on their experiences of Wilshire Boulevard and priorities for improvement. Key themes from the community comments include:

·         Improve crossing conditions for pedestrians, especially at uncontrolled intersections;

·         Address vehicles speeding and failing to yield;

·         Address vehicles parked in red curb zones, especially Uber or Lyft vehicles;

·         Address trucks loading outside of designated loading zones;

·         Address decreased visibility at dusk and at night for people walking and driving;

·         Add more left turn signals; and

·         Add flashing beacons at crosswalks.

Further insights were gathered from data about roadway performance as well as operations and maintenance issues from an interdepartmental technical advisory group of Big Blue Bus, Public Works, Police, and Fire Department staff. Findings from the data-rich investigation, and field observations, are summarized in the Road Safety Audit (RSA). The full RSA is included as an appendix to the Wilshire Safety Study.

Some of the corridor-wide crash trends were:

·         Four Wilshire Boulevard intersections (16th, 18th, 21st, and 25th Streets) ranked in the top 10 citywide intersections with the most fatal and severe injuries;

·         While only involving 14 percent of total crashes, pedestrians represented 60 percent of the fatal and severe injuries occurring on Wilshire Boulevard;

·         Relative to citywide trends, a higher percentage of crashes involved violation of the pedestrian right-of-way indicating conflicts between people driving and walking;

·         Illegal passenger and commercial vehicle loading within red zones reduces the visibility of crossing pedestrians and turning vehicles; and

·         Field observations indicate that visibility of pedestrians crossing during low light conditions may be limited and a more detailed lighting evaluation of the corridor is warranted.

As part of the Road Safety Audit, the Study team identified two distinct corridor typologies with similar features and crash patterns (unsignalized and signalized intersections) as well as systemic safety needs corridor-wide, and “hot spot” intersections with unique safety, geometric, and operational conditions. Highlights of the RSA are presented below in those categories: a) Unsignalized Intersections, b) Signalized Intersections, c) Corridor-wide Conditions, and d) Hot-Spot Intersections.

 

a. Unsignalized Intersections

The Wilshire Boulevard study corridor includes 16 unsignalized intersections (excluding alleyways).  At the unsignalized intersections, vehicles approaching from the side streets operate with stop-control and must yield to crossing pedestrians.  All of these intersections (except Centinela Avenue) have pedestrian refuge medians that allow pedestrians to cross Wilshire Boulevard in two stages.  Issues identified at the unsignalized intersections were:

·         89 percent of the severe injuries to people walking and biking occur at the unsignalized intersections, even though they represent fewer than half of the corridor intersections;

·         It is very difficult for drivers to make left turns or through movements from the side streets, and this is leading to safety issues and delays for all roadway users; these movements represent fewer than one percent of the intersection volume, but represent 20 percent of the unsignalized intersection crashes;

·         There is a high frequency of failure to yield pedestrian crashes; this is complicated by a combination of the multi-lane nature of the roadway, uncontrolled movements, and reduced visibility due to red zone violations;

·         15 percent of nighttime crashes involve median strikes; and

·         The intersection of Wilshire at 16th Street was found to meet several traffic signal warrant criteria on the basis of crash history and volume and is listed as number three in the top 10 Priority Intersections.  The intersection has had four severe injuries since 2006 and a high number of crashes involving older adults.  The intersection is also located in a school zone, and was identified in the 2013 Safe Routes to School Walk Audit for Lincoln Middle School as a priority location.

 

b. Signalized Intersections

There are 19 signalized intersections in the study corridor and all have a similar configuration, with two travel lanes and a left turn bay for the eastbound and westbound directions.  The signalized intersections do not have pedestrian refuge islands or medians.  Issues identified at the signalized intersections include:

·         Higher crash rate when compared to the unsignalized intersections along the corridor.  However, a majority of crashes at signalized intersections are vehicle to vehicle and represent only 11 percent of the fatal and severe injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists;

·         Many of the signalized intersections do not currently have fully protected left-turn phasing, which may contribute to the occurrence of left-turn crashes and conflicts with crossing pedestrians and bicyclists; and

·         Higher rates of left-turn crashes and left-turn crash issues were identified at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard at Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, 17th, 20th, 26th, Berkeley streets, and Lincoln Boulevard.

 

c. Corridor-wide Conditions

Bus Safety

Wilshire is a major local and regional transit corridor, serviced by BBB Route 2 and Metro Routes 20 and 720. The Study team worked closely with BBB staff and interviewed bus drivers to evaluate existing bus operations and safety conditions.  Most of the existing bus stops along the corridor are located on the near-side of the signalized intersections.  When buses board at these locations, they may temporarily limit visibility for motorists turning from the side streets and passengers exiting in front of the bus and crossing at the crosswalk.  In addition, buses stopping at near-side stops and then attempting to merge back into traffic can result in conflicts with right-turning vehicles.

The Study team also observed that many of the bus stops along the route are often blocked by illegal loading of passenger and commercial vehicles, making it difficult for buses to fully access the curb and increasing the potential for conflicts with other vehicles attempting to travel the corridor.

Bicycle Accommodations

There are currently no dedicated bicycle facilities on Wilshire Boulevard.  Santa Monica’s Bike Action Plan and LUCE identify Wilshire Boulevard as a transit priority route, focusing on parallel east-west bicycle facilities on California and Arizona Avenues rather than recommending facilities along Wilshire Boulevard.

Wilshire Boulevard currently intersects with several dedicated bicycle routes that run north-south and that provide connections to these parallel facilities.  While many of the routes have green bike lane markings, there are currently limited markings where they cross Wilshire Boulevard. 

In addition, the Study team received significant community comment regarding the limited north-south bicycle accommodation in the vicinity of Chelsea Avenue.  As many of the intersections are unsignalized in the eastern end of the corridor, bicyclists have difficulty crossing Wilshire Boulevard.

Other Corridor-wide Systemic Conditions

The Study team also identified several corridor-wide systemic safety issues including faded or outdated pavement markings and signage, limited signal indication visibility (particularly during dawn or dusk hours), and limited visibly of pedestrians during low light conditions.  These issues, among others, are described in greater detail in the Wilshire Safety Study (Attachment A).

 

d. Hot Spot Intersections

In addition to the systemic analysis, specific intersections, or “hot-spots,” were identified due to their unique crash history, their geometric conditions, their proximity to community resources, Study team observations, and community input.  Addressing the identified safety issues at these locations was generally determined to require a higher level of design, but they would also benefit from short-term improvements as well. 

As described above, four of the hot-spot intersections— Wilshire Boulevard at 16th, 18th, 21st, and 25th Streets—were identified in the City’s Vision Zero analysis as “high priority intersections” due to the occurrence of fatal and severe injury crashes.  During the Study process, three more intersections— Wilshire Boulevard at 22nd Street, Harvard Street, and Centinela Avenue—were identified as hot-spot locations due to a combination of unique safety, geometric conditions, and community input.  The following are the key issues at each of the “hot-spot” locations.

·         16th Street at Wilshire Boulevard was identified as number three within the top ten intersections based on fatal and severe injury crashes.   In addition, it is located adjacent to the UCLA Medical Center and is one block from Lincoln Middle School.  Crash analysis indicated there is a high incidence of broadside crashes (approximately 50 percent) and the intersection was found to meet several warrant criteria for the installation of a traffic signal.

·         18th Street at Wilshire Boulevard is an important pedestrian intersection crossing with the Pilgrim Lutheran Church and Pacifica Christian High School located on the southwest corner.  Three severe injuries have occurred at the intersection since 2006 and it is listed as number eight in the top ten intersections based on severe injury and fatal crashes.

·         21st Street at Wilshire Boulevard has an irregular geometry with offset side streets, which makes it difficult for Wilshire Boulevard eastbound and westbound left turns to occur simultaneously.  The intersection was ranked number nine based on fatal and severe injury crashes with two fatalities occurring at the location since 2006.

·         22nd Street at Wilshire Boulevard received more comment requests for pedestrian crossing improvements than any other intersection on the corridor. There is a significant amount of pedestrian volume due to the adjacent Cassidy Preschool, Whole Foods Market, and medical offices.

·         25th Street at Wilshire Boulevard provides an important connection to Douglas Park.  The intersection is ranked number 10 based on fatal and severe injury crashes and the intersection received substantial community comments.

·         Harvard Street at Wilshire Boulevard has an irregular geometry with offset side streets which make eastbound and westbound left turns from Wilshire Boulevard difficult.  The intersection received a substantial level of comments from the community.

·         Centinela Avenue at Wilshire Boulevard straddles the border between Santa Monica and Los Angeles and acts as a gateway to the City for Wilshire Boulevard.  The intersection has a unique offset geometry with only a portion of the intersection operating under traffic signal control. A majority of crashes at the intersection involved Centinela Avenue northbound left turning vehicles and people walking within the crosswalk.

Community Engagement and Interdepartmental Collaboration

Community engagement was a core part of the project scope and reached residents, businesses, organizations and other stakeholders through in-person, digital and group events (including walk audits). Meetings were held with the Santa Monica Northeast Neighbors, Wilshire Montana Neighborhood Coalition, Santa Monica Mid-City Neighbors, the Planning Commission, Commission for the Senior Community, Disabilities Commission, and DTSM. The Study team also contacted numerous other stakeholders along the corridor to have focused conversations about the Wilshire Safety Study, including Pacifica Christian High School, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, UCLA Medical Center, Saint Johns Health Center, Cassidy Pre-school, Erewhon Market, Tower Imaging, and other businesses.

The first phase of outreach and collection of initial community comments culminated in a public workshop held on June 8, 2019 at Christine Emerson Reed Park.  Once preliminary recommendations were developed, the Study team returned to neighborhood groups and commissions to present more detailed safety findings and draft recommendations for feedback and adjustments.  A second community meeting conducted as a special meeting of the Planning Commission was held on October 17, 2019 to gather input on the specific recommendations and preferences to include in the Wilshire Safety Study. 

The study was promoted through multiple methods including, but not limited to, door-to-door canvassing on the corridor (reached over 260 businesses), postcard mailings (over 13,000), 96 light pole banners, and pop-up tables at events such as the Farmers market. Throughout the process, the community was able to obtain project information on a dedicated webpage on the City’s Take the Friendly Road website and provide comment and reactions via a project-specific email Safe.Wilshire@smgov.net or via an interactive map tool where community members could provide location-specific comments on safety issues they experienced on Wilshire Boulevard. 

The Study team has worked to refine safety recommendations based on feedback. The Wilshire Safety Study includes a more detailed account of the robust community outreach, stakeholders involved, and themes identified during the outreach.

In addition to community stakeholders, staff met with several City departments to discuss the initial collision analysis and held a series of meetings to identify operational and safety improvements.  The technical advisory group included staff from Big Blue Bus, Public Works, Police Department, and Fire Departments. The Study team along with the technical advisory group conducted the Road Safety Audit (RSA), conducted field observations, and developed high level draft recommendations for specific intersections and the whole corridor. 

 

Recommendations and Phasing

One of the intentions of the Wilshire Safety Study was to identify the lowest cost, highest impact approach to improving transportation service and safety, considering both design and operational options.  The Study identifies a comprehensive strategy for implementing targeted safety countermeasures including location-specific and systemic corridor-wide treatments.  The Study recommends a phased approach so that enhancements can be deployed quickly, with available funding, tested and evaluated, and modified as required before more permanent and capital-intensive measures are designed and constructed. 

City staff would monitor the implemented safety countermeasures to help inform any necessary changes to the mid- and long-term improvements before they are designed and constructed.  The City would monitor changes in traffic volumes, patterns, U-turns, and crash history; although a longer time period following implementation may be required to fully quantify safety benefits (typically three to five years).

The following summarizes the prioritization of the key recommendations.

 

Phase One: Short-term

Short-term measures are primarily those that can be accomplished with signal timing, paint, signage, flexposts and other temporary materials that do not require substantial design or reconstruction. Existing funding would be used to install these recommendations. 

·         Right-turn only from stop-controlled side streetsThis measure was recently installed successfully at Wilshire Boulevard and Harvard Street; the implementation of this measure would be extended to 13 additional intersections (all unsignalized intersections except alleys, 16th Street, and Centinela Avenue) which would create consistency through the corridor and would help to reduce the occurrence of angle crashes, improve pedestrian safety, and reduce motorist confusion. It may also enhance traffic flow along the corridor because there would no longer be vehicles attempting through and left movements from the side streets and getting stuck in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard blocking traffic. Attendees at the October Planning Commission meeting expressed a greater preference for installing this treatment at all locations versus a phased implementation.  Staff would continue to monitor any resulting changes in traffic patterns and make adjustments as necessary.

·         Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) – Pedestrian activated RRFBs would be installed at five locations (Wilshire Boulevard at 10th, 18th, 22nd 25th, and Franklin Streets) to further alert drivers and to enhance pedestrian visibility across Wilshire Boulevard. RRFBs would be considered for additional locations in later phases.

·         Signage and Pavement Marking Enhancements – Corridor-wide signage and pavement marking enhancements would be installed at all unsignalized crossings including, but not limited to: enhanced pedestrian warning signage, advanced yield line markings (i.e., “Shark’s Teeth”), and white edge lines to delineate the parking lane to provide more cues to drivers to yield and drive safely.

·         Enhanced North-South Bicycle Connections – At each of the existing north-south bicycle routes crossing Wilshire at Second, Sixth, Seventh, 11th, 14th, and Yale Streets, enhanced markings across Wilshire Boulevard would be installed, such as green dashed conflict markings through the intersection.  These enhanced markings would help inform bicyclists of parallel routes available, and improve driver awareness of people on bicycles.  Markings at 17th Street and Ocean Avenue would be addressed concurrently as part of separate capital projects. 

·         Restrict U-turns Restrict U-turns along the Wilshire Boulevard eastbound and westbound approaches where appropriate.

·         Signal Timing AdjustmentsExtend pedestrian crossing times and adjust other timings at select locations with operational issues.  Since the Study was initiated, leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) across Wilshire Boulevard have been added, and a signal retiming of the corridor between 11th and Berkeley streets has been completed.

·         Hot-Spot Intersection EnhancementsInitial improvements would be implemented and, in some cases tested with temporary materials, at the seven hot spot intersections.  Where improvements are installed in a temporary fashion, staff would observe safety conditions for effectiveness before seeking funding to install in a more permanent fashion. A summary of key improvements by “hot-spot” intersection are listed below.  The improvements are described, and illustrated, in greater detail in the Study.

o       16th Street at Wilshire Boulevard:  pavement markings and signage would be upgraded and the City would advance the design of the traffic signal detailed under Phase Two.

o       18th Street at Wilshire Boulevard: improvements would include enhanced markings and signage, right turn only from the side streets, restriction of red zone parking with temporary materials, and installation of RRFBs on both Wilshire Boulevard crossings.

o       21st Street at Wilshire Boulevard: improvements would include enhanced markings and signage, right turn only from the side streets, and restriction of red zone parking with temporary materials.  In addition, the Wilshire Boulevard westbound left turns would be restricted to reduce intersection conflicts and allow for the widening of the eastern pedestrian refuge island to further enhance safety.

o       22nd Street at Wilshire Boulevard: improvements would include enhanced markings and signage, right turn only from the side streets, restriction of red zone parking with temporary materials, and installation of RRFBs on both Wilshire Boulevard crossings.

o       25th Street at Wilshire Boulevard: improvements would include enhanced markings and signage, right turn only from the side streets, installation of RRFBs on both Wilshire Boulevard crossings, and restriction of red zone parking with temporary materials.  In addition, the low traffic volume Wilshire Boulevard westbound left turns would be restricted to reduce conflicts with crossing pedestrians and allow for the widening of the eastern pedestrian refuge island to further enhance safety.

o       Harvard Street at Wilshire Boulevard: improvements would include enhanced markings and signage, right turn only from the side streets (installed in October 2019), and restriction of red zone parking with temporary materials.  In addition, the Wilshire Boulevard eastbound and westbound left-turn lanes would be reconfigured, using temporary materials, to better facilitate left-turn maneuvers, enlarge the pedestrian refuge islands, and reduce conflicts. 

o       Centinela Avenue at Wilshire Boulevard: improvements would include enhanced markings and signage and restriction of red zone parking with temporary materials.  Staff would also coordinate with the City of Los Angeles to explore the feasibility of creating a pedestrian refuge island with temporary materials and implementing an LPI at the crosswalk to reduce conflicts with pedestrians.

·         Bus Safety and Performance ImprovementsBus safety and performance improvements would be made at priority locations, including:

o       Far-side stop relocation: at the Sixth Street westbound stop and 14th Street eastbound stop;

o       Bus stop consolidation: Existing bus stops in the eastbound and westbound directions at 22nd and 24th Streets would be consolidated to the 23rd Street signalized intersection as far-side stops; and

o       Installation of a bus queue jump lane: along Wilshire Boulevard in the eastbound direction at Lincoln Boulevard and 14th Street.

·         Median Refuge Replanting – Replacement of the existing flax plants located within the median refuge islands with lower growing plants to reduce ongoing maintenance needs and enhance visibility of pedestrians and vehicles.

·         Photometric Assessment and Lighting Plan Conduct a follow-up photometric assessment of the entire corridor to enhance lighting levels for all users.  The effort would consider existing light spread and fixture upgrades, identify where or if additional light poles are needed, and assess any necessary modifications to the existing circuitry.  Installation of resulting recommendations may not occur until Phase Three.

·         Curbside Management PlanConduct a follow-up study of the competing needs of curbside space along Wilshire Boulevard (parking, deliveries, rideshare pick-up and drop-off, and bus boarding and alighting). Recommendations may include creating dedicated short-term parking and commercial loading areas to help reduce the occurrence of motorist parking or standing in red zones and bus stops, which has a negative impact on overall pedestrian safety and bus performance along the corridor.  Implementation of recommendations may not occur until Phase Two or Three.

 

Phase Two: Medium-term

The Phase Two improvements would require a greater level of design and funding for construction and are therefore on a longer-term implementation timeframe.  The improvements should be prioritized as funds are identified and incorporated into other on-going citywide maintenance and construction projects. To complete all these improvements would require grant funding.  Phase Two improvements include:

·         New Traffic Signal at Wilshire Boulevard and 16th Street– Design and install a new traffic signal at the “Hot-spot” intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and 16th Street to reduce conflicts and improve safety and access for all users.  The Study recommends that this new signal receive the highest priority among the Phase Two improvements.

·         Refine and Formalize “hot-spot” ImprovementsFollowing the monitoring of locations improved with temporary materials in Phase One the recommendation would be to design and install permanent versions of the treatments. 

·         Curb ExtensionsDesign and construct extensions of the sidewalks at the intersection to increase pedestrian visibility and to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and exposure time.  Install these at the seven “hot spot” intersection locations as appropriate to formalize red zone areas and improve safety for people walking and driving. As part of the work, ramps would be upgraded in accordance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

·         Signal Phasing UpgradesUpgrade existing signal equipment to accommodate the addition of protected left-turn phasing at the priority locations Wilshire Boulevard at Fourth, Fifth, 16th (new traffic signal), 20th, 26th, Berkeley Streets, and Lincoln Boulevard. Additional locations may be considered in Phase Three.

 

Phase Three: Long-term

Long-term improvements would include corridor-wide safety enhancements to broadly address other systemic safety issues along the corridor that require a more complex evaluation, detailed design, and higher capital cost.  Phase Three improvements should be considered in a future grant cycle or capital plan for the corridor.  Setting aside match funds for future grant opportunities would assist in obtaining outside funds for implementation.  Phase Three improvements include:

·         New Traffic Signal at Wilshire Boulevard and Chelsea AvenueInstall a signal at this intersection to facilitate north-south bicycle connections in the eastern end of the corridor, improve safety for all users, and enhance overall access to Douglas Park.  The intersection received a substantial level of comments from the community regarding safety conditions and meets the minimum criteria to have a signal installed.

·         Implement Corridor-wide Curbside Management Strategies based on the findings of the study identified in Phase One.

·         Additional Curb Extensions –Install additional curb extensions along the corridor where feasible to formalize red zones and enhance pedestrian crossing safety.  These would be prioritized at the near-side of intersections, across the intersecting side streets, and at unsignalized intersections.  As part of the work, ramps would be upgraded in accordance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

·         Additional Bus Safety and Operational Enhancements should be implemented throughout the corridor, including relocating all remaining bus stops to the far-side of signalized intersections and installation of additional bus queue jump lanes where feasible.

·         Lighting Improvements would be implemented throughout the corridor as deemed appropriate in accordance with the lighting study identified in Phase One.

Next Steps

The estimated cost for the design and construction of the recommended improvements is approximately $11.5 - 13.5 million, including ($1 - 1.5 million for Phase One, $4.5 - 5 million for Phase Two, $6 - 7 million for Phase Three).  The City currently has funding for the design and implementation of the Phase One improvements (and associated evaluations) and a small portion of the Phase Two improvements.  Staff would then prioritize the remaining Phase Two and Three improvements as funding becomes available and intends to pursue several applicable grant sources (e.g., Caltrans Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), Measure M, and Caltrans Active Transportation Program (ATP)).

As staff advances the Wilshire Safety Study recommendations, staff will continue to provide project updates through the Take the Friendly Road Campaign and refine treatments based on evaluation and community feedback. 

 

Financial Impacts and Budget Actions

There is no immediate additional financial impact or budget action necessary as a result of recommended action.  However, staff will return to Council with specific budget actions associated with implementation of the phased recommendations in the future.