Venice Boardwalk to beef up public safety

01/28/2014 4:49 pm2 commentsViews: 18

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – City officials today proposed installing better
lighting, security cameras and an automated street barrier system to beef up
public safety along Venice’s Ocean Front Walk, where a car fatally struck a 32-
year-old Italian woman last summer.
Recreation and Parks officials estimated it would cost about $1.2
million to install retractable bollards at five of the 32 streets that cross
the beach boardwalk.
The automated barriers, which could be lowered to allow emergency
vehicles to go through, would impede drivers who mistake the pedestrian area of

 Venice's Ocean Front Walk Photo by Gary McCarthy

Venice’s Ocean Front Walk
Photo by Gary McCarthy

the boardwalk for a road, especially at intersections that lead to parking
lots.
Officials said cars drive onto the boardwalk about 15 times a day on
average.
Also being proposed is the permanent closure of 18 entry points to the
boardwalk — using bollards, planters or bike racks — at an estimated cost of
about $400,000.
Gates that can be manually opened, costing about $150,000, could also be
installed at eight intersections.
Maintenance of the $1.2 million automated system, the costliest of the
safety measures proposed in the Venice Beach Public Safety Needs Assessment,
might prove challenging because of the “corrosive” beach environment,
according to Recreation and Parks officials.
The cost of security cameras and a sound system, which could be used by
the LAPD to broadcast announcements during emergencies, would be in the six
figures, officials said.
City staff also recommended adding LED lighting along Ocean Front Walk.
The council’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee, which
heard a presentation on the safety measures, advanced the proposals to the
Budget and Finance Committee. City staff were also directed to identify funding
sources for the safety measures.
Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the Venice area and requested the
assessment, said the measures would prevent drivers from accidentally going
into pedestrian areas along the boardwalk.
In addition to the report, Bonin last August ordered signs and temporary
barriers to be put up immediately at multiple intersections while city
officials consider more permanent options.
Bonin said the woman’s death last summer was the work of a “mad man”
who drove around existing barriers into a crowded boardwalk, but it drew
attention to safety problems at “one of our most heavily traveled tourist
destinations.”
Bonin said the safety measures proposed today are geared more toward
accidents such as when a car driven by an 86-year-old man plowed into the
crowded Santa Monica Farmers Market 10 years ago, killing 10 people and
injuring 63. The market was set up without barriers in the middle of Arizona
Avenue at the crowded Third Street Promenade.
The city of Santa Monica responded by placing parked cars straddling
streets leading to pedestrian areas, eventually installing cable restraints and
other removable vehicle-stopping devices.

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