By JAVIER ROJAS
EL SERENO — Changes are coming to Alhambra Avenue intended to improve safety along a stretch of road that has seen multiple fatalities and injuries in recent years.
The project involves reducing the number of traffic lanes from 4 to 2, the addition of bike lanes and new blinking crosswalks at Hollister Street and a traffic signal at Lowell Avenue, according to city officials.
Reducing traffic lanes — which is referred to as a road diet — has proven controversial in many neighborhoods. But residents like Doris Nevarez, a 40-year old El Sereno native, welcomes any changes to make things safer.
“Too many people have lost their lives either trying to cross the street or due to speeding,” said Nevarez, who has lived near Lowell and Alhambra avenues for more than 20 years. “It’s about time we put more stop lights here.”
In addition to a new signal light at Lowell, a nearby dirt pedestrian path that is perilously close to traffic on Alhambra Avenue will be replaced with a sidewalk to increase safety on a curving section of street.
These improvements are intended to slow traffic and boost safety along this road after years of community feedback and requests, said Rick Coca, spokesman for 14th District Councilman Jose Huizar.
“We’ve had some vocal community members that have voiced their opinions for decades about the safety concerns on this street,” Coca said. “They sent out letters and posters in the community to have input on what needs to be improved.”
The improvements were announced only a few months after a hit-and-run crash that left one woman dead and her child injured in the 5200 block of Alhambra. Holy Grounds Coffee, in the 5300 block, reopened in August after a car hit the entrance of the shop in October of last year.
Coca said similar safety improvements on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock decreased accidents by 40%.
Bruce Gillman, Director of Communications for the Department of Transportation, says the project will kick off with a groundbreaking event in January and will be headed by the Bureau of Engineering.
These is no timetable for the completion of the project.
Javier Rojas is a freelance writer and award-winning photographer who lives in El Sereno
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