Following reports of mobile traffic applications causing a spike in traffic on one of the city's steepest streets, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has announced that a series of safety improvements are coming to Baxter Street in Echo Park.
With a 33 percent grade, Baxter Street is an imposing challenge for some drivers, and the typically quiet residential street has seen big increases in traffic in recent years. Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez highlighted the issue recently, with residents saying that along with the new traffic, the street is experiencing a lot of car accidents and other safety problems. Lopez reported the street is the third steepest in the city and among the 10 steepest in the country.
"The problem is that Baxter, with its Himalayan double dip between Allessandro Street and Echo Park Avenue, is not a normal street, and it was never meant to be a thoroughfare," Lopez wrote. "It was designed for goats, not people or cars."
Top news of the day
LADOT also said that residents can expect to see temporary "no parking" signs in the area as a safety precaution as signs are being installed as early as 8 a.m. Tuesday.
"I share in the frustration of residents with drivers utilizing narrow, hillside residential streets for cut-through traffic, especially one as steep as Baxter," Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said. "I want to thank LADOT for working with my office and residents on a solution, and I ask for your patience as we implement these changes and grow accustomed to them."
The coming changes include:
-- Baxter Street between Allesandro Street and North Alvarado Street will be converted to a one-way street in the westbound direction
-- Baxter Street between North Alvarado Street and Lake Shore Avenue will be converted to a one-way street in the eastbound direction
-- Fargo Street between Allesandro Street and North Alvarado Street will be converted to a one-way street going westbound
-- Cove Avenue between Cerro Gordo Street and Lake Shore Avenue will be converted to a one-way street going eastbound
-- Two stop signs will be added to Lake Shore Avenue at Baxter Street, making the intersection a four-way stop
-- Advance signage and markings will be utilized to direct motorists
-- Right turns will be restricted from Alvarado Street onto Baxter Street between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Waze and other mobile traffic apps are not just causing problems on Baxter Street, and some City Council members have been exploring ways to alter the companies' business practices.
Councilman David Ryu recently sent a letter to the City Attorney's Office asking for a review of possible legal action against Waze for causing traffic problems, and Councilman Paul Krekorian recently introduced a motion calling for the city to develop approaches to curb Waze and other traffic apps from diverting drivers off of major thoroughfares.