Sunday, February 15, 2015

If The Government Only Had A Brain

We live in an area of the Hollywood Hills called The Oaks.  It’s a community of over 300 homes, adjacent to Griffith Park, between the observatory and the Hollywood sign.  Thanks to a rockslide in Griffith Park some 25 years ago, there is no access to the San Fernando Valley on the other side of the Hollywood sign, so there are no Waze driven commuters going through the community.  Brad Pitt has his US compound in the Oaks, and over the decades notables from Will and Ariel Durant to Cary Grant and Randolph Scott’s bachelor mansion to Diane Keaton, Vince Vaughn, Jason Priestly, Flea, Nicolas Cage (before his real estate empire crumbled) and Adam Levine have rotated in and out of the neighborhood.

There are two main entrances to the Oaks, the Fern Dell Griffith Park entrance on Los Feliz Blvd., and Bronson Ave. at Franklin Ave. on the western end.  While there are other streets which could be theoretically used for access to the Oaks, only the two main entrances have traffic signals, and without a traffic signal it’s nearly impossible to cross Franklin Ave.   Recently the Bronson Ave. entrance has seen extreme traffic delays at times, leading to a community outcry for amelioration.  I’m guessing that the increase in traffic might be from cars using Bronson Ave. as an access route to the Hollywood sign, which despite traffic signs to the contrary, can be reached by turning up Hollyridge Dr., and which GPS toting tourists have finally discovered.   That and all the hipsters hanging out at the Oaks Gourmet, jammed whether it's 10:30 am or 2 pm (don't those people have jobs?), plus Gelsons and the Scientology Center at the same intersection. 

The neighborhood and city councilman Tom La Bonge came up with a perfect solution–install a traffic signal at Van Ness Ave and Franklin Ave. to provide a third entry point.  Besides relieving pressure on Bronson Ave., Van Ness Ave. ends right at Hollywood freeway onramp, which would give Oaks residents a straight shot onto the freeway.  Congratulations were in order, and all that was needed was approval by the Los Angeles City Traffic Department.  So guess what?  The Traffic Department turned down the signal request because there wasn’t enough traffic to justify the signal--nobody was crossing Franklin Ave. on Van Ness.  Well d’oh.  Of course not.  Because without a signal you’d wait forever to cross Franklin at Van Ness, so few drivers are stupid enough to take that route.  But government is too stupid to figure that out.    

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