Wednesday, April 28, 2010

sunset boulevard + doheny road, west hollywood

If you head just west of the Key Club on Sunset Strip, stop at Gil Turner's liquors, and look downhill, you'll see this long downhill view. It's a bit vergitinous, and cars do indeed bomb down it at speeds reaching 50mph. All the roads perpendicular to the Sunset Strip are like this: a deadly matrix of intersections that invite danger. I should know: I used to work in this neighborhood, where a motorcyclist lost his life one day.

The crash (I never call them "accidents") happened just two blocks west, near where the old Tower Records used to be, and tragic as it was no one seemed all that surprised by it. Sunset is a blazing-fast seven lanes wide after all, with huge intersections to match — intersections with interminable light cycles that all but encourage drivers to take risks like running red lights. Sunset's speed, combined with the decreased stopping ability of drivers frantically rushing downhill, allowed a car to run right into a lane-splitting motorcyclist as he burst into the intersection. A co-worker of mine (trained as an EMT) was on the scene + tried to revive him; she told me what had happened while washing her hands of his blood in the office sink.

The situation could have been prevented if common sense had prevailed during the neighborhood's construction: narrower streets designed to reduce downhill speeds to something less fatal (like 25mph or so). A narrowed Doheny (above) makes much more sense. As it is, it looks like it had been designed as if perfectly level: an idealized mental model on paper divorced from the simple reality of its slope. See it narrowed!
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About the Photographer

Los Angeles, CA, United States
Writer, designer, and urban planning geek.

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