Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 – 3:27 PM
By Victoria Talbot
North Canon Drive is humming with pedestrian activity from Santa Monica – where literally thousands of tourists a day take their first look at the City- to Wilshire Boulevard, where there is a booming restaurant culture supported by the Beverly Canon Garden and the Montage Hotel. Nonetheless, the City’s best efforts to deal with the construction on both ends leads pedestrians to either cross the street and walk out of their way to get to their destinations – or walk dangerously into the street, creating traffic hazards that could become life-threatening.
At the Courier, our observations demonstrate that compliance is the exception rather than the rule, and that whatever reasoning City officials are using is dangerous and potentially lethal, and exposes the City to liability.
Construction at 257 N. Canon Drive is progressing slowly, and, according to sources, is months behind schedule. But until this month, at least the construction included a k-rail route around the project for pedestrian safety.
Now, signs at the north and south of the project proclaim “Sidewalk Closed” with a sawhorse and cones.
The sidewalk is closed. Construction activity enclosed the sidewalk, where, according to City officials , the developer is “re-doing” the sidewalk.
That may be so. According to City staff, pedestrians should behave as the City directs them. There’s a sign after all.
But the fact is that during one-minute of watching the project, 15 pedestrians of all ages, ignored the signs and took the shortest route to their destinations, walking in the street unprotected and forcing vehicles to swerve into the inside lane to avoid an accident.
Such is also the case at the north end of the business triangle, where the Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction project has left hundreds of tourists and pedestrians out in the street trying to cross the north-west side of N. Canon Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard. Over the weekend, thousands of visitors who came for the artSHOW were placed in harm’s way as they traveled to and from the festival. No traffic police were observed.
In seeking to understand the City’s apparent lack of concern for the vulnerability of pedestrians on the street, and the oversized concession to construction and development that creates a hazardous conditions for vehicles and pedestrians, the Courier has only been told that “there are signs.”
That is easy to say when your office is in City Hall and you make rules for tourists from around the world who speak different languages, not to mention residents who revert to their time-honored habits.
For the infirm or elderly, the route they are expected to take would add several hundred potentially painful footsteps, a trip with a walker, a wheelchair, crutches, a cane – all probabilities several times a day in each location.
Editor’s note: David Yeltin, Deputy Building Official, responded with a call from his assistant. City Council Members: Why aren’t you protecting your constituents or the City from accidents and liability?