Hermosa Beach approves traffic safety measures for areas along Strand
by Ryan McDonald
The Hermosa Beach City Council approved the installation of new traffic-calming devices at six locations on and around The Strand at its meeting Tuesday night, part of a package of reforms aimed at protecting pedestrian safety in the beachside walkway.
Known as bollards, the devices are posts installed into the ground that run perpendicular to the flow of traffic in a roadway. Although some bollards are rigid and made of stone or steel, the ones to be installed will be plastic and flexible to allow emergency personnel to quickly access the routes. Preliminary plans call for the bollards to be coated in reflective paint and designed to resemble vintage surfboards.
Safety on The Strand has been on the city’s radar for at least a year. A motorist turned onto the city’s bike path in North Hermosa last year, damaging a light fixture and nearly hitting pedestrians.
The increased popularity of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft has coincided with an uptick in drivers mistakenly entering the walkway when approaching beachside addresses.
“If you are just looking on Google, it says you can drive onto The Strand,” said former councilman Pete Tucker in public comment.
Four of the six bollard installations are in the area surrounding Pier Plaza. Input for locations came from the Hermosa Beach Police Department, but it was not clear whether those areas had historically higher incident rates, said Public Works Director Andrew Brozyna.
The affected intersections are at 10th and 11th streets and The Strand; at 13th, 14th and 24th streets and Beach Drive; and at the pedestrian walkway on 35th Street and the bike path.
The 35th Street area was a special focus of the plan. City staff will add new lines and pavement shadings in the area to slow both motorists and bicycle travelers.
They will also replace a swinging gate, currently located at the end of the Manhattan Beach portion of The Strand, with bollards, prompting some concern from council members about the protection offered from drunken drivers
“There is a deterrent, because the bollards are highly visible,” Brozyna said. “But if a person is intoxicated, you’re right, it’s not as strong a physical obstruction.”