The following is a press release from the City of Santa Monica.
Construction for safety enhancements on Wilshire Boulevard on the corridor between Ocean and Centinela Avenues is set to begin on May 1, 2023. Developed as part of the Wilshire Safety Study, which evaluated the 2.4-mile corridor and incorporated community feedback and crash data analysis to determine the most effective and high-impact approach to enhancing transportation safety and transit service, the modifications aim to enhance safe routes to schools while also promoting pedestrian and bicycle travel to nearby establishments such as grocery stores and health care facilities.
“I am thrilled about the upcoming safety improvements to Wilshire Boulevard,” says Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis. “These changes will enhance the safety of our residents and visitors while promoting a more walkable and livable community. Santa Monica is committed to intelligent street design that promotes safety, equity, and accessibility for all modes of transportation.”
Planned Wilshire Boulevard improvements include:
- Infrastructure Upgrades: Complete repaving of Wilshire Boulevard followed by improved road markings, refreshed crosswalks, and painted areas to make it clearer where pedestrians can cross.
- Pedestrian Visibility: Highly visible flashing beacons at five intersections will signal to motorists that they must yield to the pedestrian crossing the street.
- Hot Spot Solutions: To reduce the number of collisions at 14 intersections without traffic signals, the side streets will be restricted to right turns only. Although few vehicles continue straight or turn left at these intersections, they are involved in a disproportionately high number of collisions. Approximately one out of every five collisions at these locations occurs when drivers make a left turn or continue straight.
- Transit Improvements: Bus stops will be marked with bright red pavement to discourage private vehicles from blocking them. Loading zones will be installed next to bus stops so that vehicles have a space to pick up and drop off passengers without creating blockages. Bus stop enhancements will improve transit service for Big Blue Bus Route 2, and Metro Routes 20 and 720. Transit ridership is expected to increase in the Wilshire Boulevard corridor upon completion of the Metro Purple (D Line) subway extension to Westwood, scheduled to open in phases between 2024-2027.
- Better Bike Connections: Special markings at four intersections will create dedicated space for cyclists to safely cross Wilshire Boulevard.
“With these changes, the community is taking a major step toward realizing our Vision Zero goal of eliminating fatal and severe injury crashes from our streets by 2026. Additionally, we will be able to provide faster and more reliable bus service for our customers, ultimately making it easier for them to access all that Santa Monica and the Westside has to offer,” said Ed King, Director of the Santa Monica Department of Transportation. “We are committed to creating a transportation network that meets the needs of our community, and these improvements are an important step towards that goal.”
The year-long community engagement process during the Wilshire Safety Study included close to twenty presentations to neighborhood groups and schools, stakeholder meetings, on-the-street canvassing, digital outreach, and a comprehensive social media campaign. Through these efforts, 40% of public comments identified difficult crossing conditions as a concern on Wilshire Boulevard.
The improvements are part of a comprehensive initiative to make the street more friendly for pedestrians and will continue with Phase 2 next year. Phase 2 improvements are in the design stage and will focus on more permanent changes like concrete curb extensions, and improved lighting.
To learn more about the Wilshire Boulevard Safety Enhancements, visit santamonica.gov/mobility-projects/wilshire-boulevard-safety-enhancements.