Anyone who lives, walks, bikes, or parks on the half-mile loop of Mabery Road / Ocean Way knows that, since the sewer construction on PCH began in May, this narrow residential street has become a high-speed cut-through for commuters and others trying to avoid PCH. Smartphone apps like WAZE are actually directing drivers onto the street as a short-cut, as if it were a highway. The roadway has become frequently dangerous for the street's many families, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and for residents pulling in or out of their driveways. The intersection of Mabery with Ocean Avenue Extension is the site of daily nearly missed head-on collisions as drivers race downhill on Ocean Avenue Extension into oncoming traffic to turn the blind corner into Mabery. There have been numerous minor accidents at the corner.
Bad though the current traffic situation is, it is likely to get worse when the California Incline closes in January. That means four months of overlap with the sewer project, slated to finish in April.
Nine months ago, BOCA and SMCCA (Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association) formed a Canyon Traffic Working Group, which has been meeting regularly with our City Councilman Mike Bonin's staff, LADOT, and LAPD to get some relief from this unacceptable situation. We can't prevent drivers from short-cutting through our Canyon neighborhood, but we can demand that they drive calmly, slowly, and legally. To achieve that, BOCA and SMCCA have jointly been requesting a number of measures:
1. A uniformed traffic officer in front of Canyon School in the morning and afternoon rush. (This was successfully arranged with LADOT by the Councilman's office for the opening weeks of school, but will soon end)
2. LAPD motorcycle officers to patrol and write tickets for speeding or illegal maneuvers (this request is being reviewed at LAPD)
3. "Do Not Block" road markings in front of Kingman and San Lorenzo (these have now been installed by LADOT)
4. A "neck-down" and striped crosswalk across Mabery at Ocean Avenue Extension to improve pedestrian safety and discourage illegal high-speed turns (LADOT has approved this and will implement - date unknown)
5. A restoration of the speed humps on Mabery / Ocean Way loop (these have become ineffective because of wear after twelve years from original installation - thanks to Councilman Bonin's staff, Bureau of Street Services, or BSS, will restore the humps next week).
This last item is the reason that "No Parking 6:30am-4pm except Saturday and Sunday" signs went up today on Mabery, to allow BSS crews to restore the humps. While this will undoubtedly prove inconvenient for some people for a day or two, please be patient and understanding. It took nine months of effort by BOCA and SMCCA to get this work approved, and the immediate, long-term benefit should be to calm traffic and make the street safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and residents during the 18 months of the Incline closure, and beyond.
A special thanks to Adrienne Chandhok and Jona Frank, chairs of BOCA's Traffic & Walkability Committee; to Marilyn Wexler and George Wolfberg, who represent SMCCA on the Canyon Traffic Task Force; to Councilman Bonin for his personal efforts and to Norman Kulla and Mark Grant of his staff; and to BSS Director Nazario Sauceda for his ready help and cooperation.