Councilmembers welcomed to area

| January 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

LARCHMONT BOULEVARD ASSOCIATION (LBA) welcomes new Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (at far left). LBA members and guests, (from left, in foreground) included Leisha Willis of State Farm Insurance, Unknown, Heather Duffy Boylston of the Larchmont Village Business Improvement District, Steve Cohen of Village Pizzeria, Bob Day of Coldwell Banker, John Duerler of Hancock Homes Realty and Jerry Shaw of SSA Security.

Larchmont’s two new city councilmembers spent parts of last month getting to know their respective new communities after political redistricting took effect on Jan. 1.

HPHOA Town Hall

Councilmember Paul Koretz welcomed his new constituents and introduced his staff at a virtual Town Hall last month hosted by the Hancock Park Homeowners Association.

“We are very happy to meet our new councilmember,” HPHOA President Cindy Chvatal said Jan. 13 as she introduced Koretz, who now represents Hancock Park (and Sycamore Square, Brookside, Fremont Place, Windsor Village, Wilshire Park and Country Club Heights).

Koretz shared his background with participants and encouraged residents to contact his office anytime.

“I am a strong believer in responsible government,” said Koretz, noting that Hancock Park residents might recognize his field deputy for the area  — Rob Fisher — who also served in that capacity for former Councilmember David Ryu.

Highlighting a few issues facing all of his Council District Five constituents, Koretz said public safety is a concern with an uptick in violent crime citywide, including an alarming increase in the use of untraceable “ghost” guns. And he spoke of the “dual crises” of the pandemic and the issue of homelessness.

On issues specific to Hancock Park, Koretz said that he is committed to preserving the historic palm trees on Highland Avenue’s median parkway while also taking measures to alleviate traffic issues.

SPEED TABLE or not? This is a new addition to Van Ness Avenue near Robert Burns Park.

Sixth Street

An issue important to the community is the speed of traffic on Sixth Street, according to Chvatal, who inquired on the status of installing speed tables on that street between Highland and La Brea avenues.

Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation (LADOT) engineers Brian Gallagher and Bhuvan Bajaj were also in attendance and told residents that speed tables are a very real possibility, but that further consultation is needed between LADOT and the Los Angeles Police Department. Koretz told the LADOT representatives that they have his full support on the request if it’s what the community wants.

If everything is approved, Bajaj said that there is a “good possibility” that the speed tables could be installed by the end of 2022.

Speed tables are midblock traffic calming devices that raise the entire wheelbase of a vehicle to reduce its traffic speed. Unlike speed bumps, tables are usually longer with gently rising slopes and a large flat top.

Vehicle operating speeds for streets with speed tables range from 25-45 mph, depending on the spacing, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

SIXTH STREET car crash left a vehicle smashed into a front yard at the corner of Sixth and Mansfield.

Resident reaction

Following the Town Hall, the Chronicle spoke with La Brea Hancock resident Jennifer Rojas about the update given on the proposed speed tables. She has been advocating for efforts to slow traffic on Sixth Street, where she has witnessed a number of speed-related accidents over the years, including one that ended with a car crashing over her perimeter wall, just feet from where her kids were playing.

“This conversation has been in the works since 2020,” said Rojas. “But I felt hopeful that, for the first time, a timeline was given by the LADOT.”

Rojas says that dangerous driving and vehicle crashes are occurring during the day when people are out and about: “If you’re walking on Sixth Street, you’re in danger.”

It’s time for the community to consider all of the options available for slowing traffic, Rojas urges: “I have zero political agenda. I am 100 percent motivated by the safety of my kids to play in the yard without getting hit by a car.”

In support of the speed tables, Chvatal told us last month by phone that the HPHOA supports the measure: “All of us are on the same page, to get mitigations to make Sixth Street safer.”

“Nothing happens unless you have council support,” added Chvatal. “I really believe that we have that now.”

VOLUNTEERS pose at Robert Burns Park before heading to their various clean-up tasks nearby.

In Your Corner

On the eastern part of Greater Wilshire, north of Wilshire Boulevard, 13th District Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell was seen at several events with his new constituents. He hosted, Jan. 15, a “Councilmember In Your Corner” event at Robert Burns Park, followed by a community walk and clean-up. Dressed in a bright yellow jacket, O’Farrell led volunteers as they picked up discarded Christmas trees and trash in the neighborhood around the park.

Then, on Jan. 18, O’Farrell was a guest of the Larchmont Boulevard Association at a gathering in the parking lot of Tailwaggers. Attending were numerous association board members, merchants and aficionados of the Boulevard.

LARCHMONT attendees in Tailwaggers parking lot of owner Todd Warner (at left) included, from left in foreground, Jerry Shaw of SSA Security, Gary Gilbert from Windsor Square, Patty Lombard of the Larchmont Buzz, George Hakopiants of CD 13, Unknown, Jenny Chow and June Ahn of Coldwell Banker and Patti Carroll of Hollywoodland Realty.

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