PLAYA DEL REY, LOS ANGELES - In a reversal, Los Angeles officials on Thursday announced that traffic lanes will be restored along a stretch of Vista del Mar Boulevard in Playa del Rey following a litany of complaints about gridlock and reduced access to the beach.
The upgrade had initially been conceived as a way of making Playa del Rey streets safer, but local residents have described the project as a complete failure.
"Absolutely, it provided the opposite," said Kevin Farrigton, who lives in the coastal community. "So you also have people sitting in red lights here because you can't get out - you're just forced."
The controversial project reduced a section of Vista del Mar Boulevard from four lanes to two, added a center lane for turns, and moved all parking to the west side of the street. The final result, according to neighbors, has been a traffic nightmare.
In a video statement posted on YouTube, 11th District Councilman Mike Bonin acknowledged that "the level of gridlock created by Vista del Mar was unacceptable."
"For those of you who've been inconvenienced over the past couple of months by traffic gridlock, for those of you who've been late to work, for those of you who've missed bedtime with your toddler: I am sorry," Bonin said. "We are doing our best to make this right."
According to Bonin, the lanes on the roadway will be restored to the original four, free parking will be added to the existing county beach parking lot, and changes will be made to a traffic signal and turn at Vista del Mar and Culver Boulevard.
"That's awesome. That's fantastic," Farrigton said. "And, again, we are all for safety. We would just like to be involved in the decision-making, in terms of how can you make it safe. We all have ideas."
Bonin also announced the creation of a new community task force -- comprised of residents, small-business owners and other stakeholders - that will have input on future road projects.