Roadway enhancements are coming to Wilshire Boulevard in order to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. The upcoming changes were developed through the Wilshire Safety Study, a year-long community engagement process involving many residents, businesses, and visitors in Santa Monica. Community outreach included presentations to neighborhood associations and commissions, branded banners along the corridor, meetings with key city stakeholder groups, on the ground business outreach and corridor canvassing, and a robust online presence with study updates.
As part of its Vision Zero Action Plan, the City of Santa Monica conducted an 11-year analysis of citywide vehicle collision data (2006-2016). The analysis found that those walking are disproportionately impacted by traffic crashes, as they represented the majority of fatal and severe traffic injuries even though they make up a small proportion of total traffic collisions. The Wilshire Safety Study examined more recent crash data for the five year period from 2014 to 2018, which found the same trends on Wilshire Boulevard. Key corridor safety statistics include:
- Wilshire Boulevard is among the 10% of roadways that account for 50% of fatal and severe traffic injuries in Santa Monica.
- 60% of fatal and severe injury crashes on Wilshire Boulevard involve pedestrians. These occur at a rate nearly 50% greater than citywide.
- A higher percentage of crashes on Wilshire Boulevard involved pedestrian right-of-way violations (12 percent) than those across the city (7 percent)
The total amount of traffic crashes occurring on Wilshire Boulevard indicated the need for a systemic evaluation of the Wilshire Corridor. Each element of this project was designed to create a boulevard that reduces traffic collisions, encourages pedestrian and bicycle trips, creates safe routes to school, and enhances access to health care, local retail, and public transit. Project elements include:
Flashing Beacons at Crosswalks: Highly Visible flashing beacons at 5 intersections signal to motorists that they must yield to the pedestrian crossing the street.
Right-Turn Only at Unsignalized Intersections: Preventing left turns at 14 unsignalized intersections will remove the vehicle movements that account for 20% of collisions.
Curb Extensions with Paint and Bollards: Curb extensions at 14 intersections shorten pedestrian crossing distances, reduce vehicle turning speed, and limit erratic maneuvers by narrowing the travel lane.
Bus Stop Red Zones: New pavement markings will discourage vehicle loading in bus stops that limits visibility and impacts bus stop access and performance.
Additional Loading Zones: More loading zones located adjacent to bus stops will provide a space for motorists to safely enter or exit their vehicle without blocking other road users.
Construction of Phase 1 Improvements on Wilshire Boulevard will begin May 8, 2023. Implementation will occur when the corridor is fully repaved between Ocean Avenue and Centinela Avenue.