Santa Monica is planning to makeover its portion of Wilshire Boulevard.
The 2.4-mile stretch of Wilshire has been the site of six traffic-related fatalities and 29 severe injuries over the past 11 years, prompting local officials to propose adding a suite of safety improvements to the street that could range from $11.5 to $22 million. The proposal City Council will vote on Tuesday includes a short-term plan to improve the road’s signage, crosswalks, crossing signals and medians over a one to two year period.
The plan grew out of last year’s Wilshire Safety Study, which found that 89% of severe pedestrian and bicyclist injuries happened at intersections without traffic lights. 20% of crashes involve a left or through movement from sidestreets, despite representing only 1% of overall traffic volume.
Residents older than 55 comprise 27% of the city population, but 70% of the fatal and severe injury collisions on Wilshire, the study found.
The first phase of the proposal would make 13 cross streets without traffic signals right-turn only and restrict U-turns at several intersections to reduce the risk of car and pedestrian collisions, according to a staff report.
Pedestrian warning signage and road markings would be added throughout the corridor and flashing pedestrian lights would be installed at five intersections. Existing north to south bicycle routes that cross Wilshire would be enhanced with intersection markings.
Two bus stops would be relocated to the far side of intersections, two stops would be consolidated and a bus queue jump lane would be installed in the eastbound direction at Lincoln Boulevard and 14th Street.
The second phase of the proposal would add a traffic light at Wilshire and 16th Street, extend the curb at seven crosswalks to improve pedestrian visibility and reduce crossing distances, and add protected left turns at six intersections.
In the third phase, a traffic light would be added at Wilshire and Chelsea Avenue to facilitate bicycle connections and improve access to Douglas Park, additional curb extensions would be installed, all bus stops would be relocated to the far side of intersections and additional bus queue jump lanes would be added.
A curbside management plan, which could include dedicated short-term parking for deliveries and rideshare pick-up, would be put in place. Light poles may be upgraded or replaced.
The estimated cost for the design and construction of the plan is about $11.5 to $13.5 million, including $1 to $1.5 million for phase one, $4.5 to $5 million for phase two and $6 to $7 million for phase three, according to the staff report.
The city currently has funding for the design and implementation of the phase one improvements and a small portion of the phase two improvements. For the remainder of phase two and phase three, staff would pursue grants from Caltrans and Measure M.