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Construction starts on Hollywood Boulevard improvement project

Construction project to make Hollywood Boulevard safer begins
Construction project to make Hollywood Boulevard safer begins 02:55

Along Hollywood Boulevard, construction work is in full swing for the first phase of the improvement project between Lyman Place and Gower Street, with safety in mind. 

Hammed Esa said he witnesses a car crash at least once a month. Esa said he ended up in a car crash while waiting at a traffic light just a couple of months ago.

"All of a sudden, a car came behind me and just hit me," Esa said. 

The street is being resurfaced to add protected bike lanes, meaning that portions of the boulevard will be reduced from two to one lane.

Some residents like Sam Brodnitz are excited by the construction. 

"I actually don't have a driver's license," Brodnitz said. "I ride my bike so the idea of bike lanes for me sounds very exciting. But, I totally understand. I know it gets bottlenecked around here a lot. I can also see that being frustrating for people."

Commander Craig Valenzuela, the head of the Los Angeles Police Department's traffic group, welcomes the changes as long as they slow traffic.

Fatal crashes have steadily increased since 2021. That year, there were 294 fatal crashes in LA. In 2022, there were 314 and 345 last year. 

"That trendline continues to rise and pretty sharply," he said. "Just a reminder, last year we had more traffic fatalities than criminal homicides."

Nick Barnes-Batista, the spokesperson for LA City Council District 13, said he would not ride his bike on the boulevard until the improvements. He believes the new bike lanes and other traffic calming measures will protect pedestrians.

"Hollywood Boulevard is a high injury network," he said. "It's part of 8% of city streets that make up 70% of fatalities on city streets."

The work between Lyman Place and Gower Street should be finished by the end of July. The improvement project will move onto the road between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue by next year. 

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