New light system could reduce drive time

MID-WILSHIRE DISTRICT Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has announced the completion of a traffic light synchronization system for the area.

It's green lights for blocks between Wilshire and Hollywood boulevards.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation spent more than $5 million synchronizing 256 traffic signals along Wilshire and Hollywood boulevards and La Cienega Blvd. and Western Ave.

It's in an effort to ease traffic congestion on L.A.'s busiest streets. Officials believe drivers will see travel times reduced at least 15 percent.

Mayor Villaraigosa and transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday morning to promise that Wilshire's traffic relief will be expanded to the rest of L.A. in the future.

"When the citywide light sync project is completed commuters in every part of Los Angeles will enjoy 20 percent faster travel times and a 30 percent reduction in traffic congestion," said Villaraigosa.

The new multi-million dollar light synchronization project is marked by a blue "Signal Sync" sign placed at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Western Ave.

"This is a street that is historically been one in which you've had to be stuck in traffic," said L.A. City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. "We know that signal synchronization produces results. It can, in fact, reduce the time in which you are sitting at those lanes."

Surveillance cameras have been placed at six locations to monitor traffic flows. The cameras will allow engineers to manually adjust traffic signals to ease any traffic congestion.

Officials say the light synchronization project can work provided drivers obey traffic laws, including the speed limit.

"I think it's a great idea and it's going to help a lot, if, as the Mayor points out, drivers learn to follow the speed limit posted," said Brian Laughlin, a motorist and traffic school instructor. "Then it's a great plan. But as a traffic school instructor I know that's easier said then done."

The L.A. Department of Transportation is also working to synchronize lights at 136 intersections in Westchester at a cost of about $5 million.


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