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Santa Monica's Ocean Park Blvd. - An Accident Waiting to Happen

I travel up and down Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica multiple times a day. The street is heavily traveled, and its usage only seems to be increasing. Every time I drive on Ocean Park Blvd., I am reminded of how dangerous and ripe for accidents the street is. It's a combination of heavy vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, poor rode design, and insufficient traffic control devices and signage that makes Ocean Park Blvd. an accident waiting to happen.

Most Dangerous Intersections on Ocean Park Blvd.

The following are, in my opinion, the top five most dangerous intersections on Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica, and why I believe they are accidents waiting to happen:

  1. 16th & Ocean Park Blvd. Why it's dangerous: Pedestrians crossing Ocean Park in danger because no traffic signal. There are only stop signs for vehicles traveling on 16th St. JAMS (John Adams Middle School) is on the north side of Ocean Park Blvd. Many teenagers traverse this busy intersection, without the protection of a traffic signal. The south side of Ocean Park Blvd. has lots of businesses, including a local pizza joint and a yoga studio, which draw heavy pedestrian traffic.
  1. 17th & Ocean Park Blvd. Why it's dangerous: Even with a traffic signal, the volume of vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic at this intersection makes it dangerous for everyone. With JAMS on the northwest corner, Bob's Market on the southwest corner, and now a frozen yogurt shop going in on the southeast corner, this intersection sees heavy traffic from pedestrians (especially teenagers from the school), vehicles, and bicyclists. Whenever the field at JAMS is in use by sports teams (soccer, lacrosse, etc.), the on-field activity is a visual distraction for drivers. Add to that the visual distraction posed by real estate agents' signs and flags which clog all four intersection corners on Sundays and Tuesdays, and the BBQ'ing often going on in the parking lot of Bob's Market, it's any wonder there aren't more accidents.
  1. 25th & Ocean Park Blvd. Why it's dangerous: Hazardous to drivers traveling westbound on Ocean Park. The westbound lanes on Ocean Park Blvd. have recently been restriped. Now, drivers traveling westbound on Ocean Park in the left lane must merge into the right lane if they intend to proceed straight through the intersection at 25th St. The left lane has become a dedicated left turn lane. The problem is that there is insufficient signage. Drivers are not given enough advance warning. So at the last minute, drivers in the left lane who want to go straight are suddenly merging right, creating a traffic hazard. It's uncommon for a lane of travel to suddenly become a left-turn only lane. Drivers don't expect it and are surprised by it at the last minute, forcing them to swerve.
  1. 29th & Ocean Park Blvd. Why it's dangerous: The unexpected pedestrian. There is no traffic signal to protect pedestrians crossing Ocean Park Blvd. at 29th St. With an ice cream store on the northwest corner, a burger joint on the northeast corner, and a business park on the south side of the street, many pedestrians cross Ocean Park Blvd. at 29th St. There is a crosswalk which gives pedestrians a false sense of security. It is a "T-intersection" because southbound 29th St. dead-ends at Ocean Park Blvd. Drivers, particularly those traveling eastbound on Ocean Park, don't anticipate pedestrians at this intersection. When drivers see a pedestrian at the last minute, they slam on their brakes, increasing the chances for a rear-end collision. Too many trees on the Ocean Park Blvd. median are a visual distraction which obstructs not only a driver's view of approaching pedestrians but also obstructs a driver's view of the sign warning to watch for pedestrians. Because the trees are still young, their canopy is low. The low branches further obscure the visability of pedestrians.
  1. 30th & Ocean Park Blvd. Why it's dangerous: The unexpected pedestrian - same issues as at 29th & Ocean Park Blvd. No traffic signal to protect the pedestrians crossing Ocean Park Blvd. At a minimum, the city should install higher visiability pedestrian warning signs and in-roadway flashing beacons.

The take-away? Be careful when driving, biking or walking on Ocean Park Blvd.! Don't allow any distractions to interfere with your awareness of the movement of other drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians around you. Anticipate that another roadway user may behave negligently, and be ready to react immediately to hopefully avoid an accident.

If you have been injured in an accident, you are welcome to contact our office and speak with a Santa Monica personal injury lawyer. Whether you were involved in a bicycle accident, car accident, or pedestrian accident, an attorney at McGee, Lerer & Associates is available for a free consultation.