The winding, shady streets of Beverlywood are beginning to resemble a freeway, according to worried residents.
So the Beverlywood Homes Assn., representing 1,350 households, wants Los Angeles officials to close key neighborhood streets to through traffic.
"People are afraid to let their children out of doors," said Terri Uris, the association's director.
Many motorists ignore stop signs and travel at more than 50 m.p.h, she said. Association members recently monitored traffic on four major Beverlywood streets between 7 and 9 a.m. and between 4 and 6 p.m. and counted more than 10,000 cars.
Many of the drivers who speed through the neighborhood apparently are commuting between the Santa Monica Freeway and Beverly Hills or Century City, Uris said.
The situation is particularly irksome to homeowners in Beverlywood, where each household contributes more than $200 a year to an association fund that pays for a private security service and for gardeners who care for a small park and more than 50 other small parcels owned by the association.
Beverlywood, a community of homes ranging in price from $300,000 to $600,000, was established in 1939. Roughly, it is bounded on the east by Robertson Boulevard, on the west by Beverwil Drive and the Hillcrest Country Club and by Airdrome Street on the north. The jagged southern boundary extends as far as Cattaraugus Avenue and Castle Heights at one point and just south of Hillsboro Drive at Robertson Boulevard.
The association is proposing that cars be prevented from entering Castle Heights Avenue at both Cattaraugus Avenue and Beverwil Drive. Beverwil would be closed at Beverlywood Street, Cisco Street and Castle Heights Avenue. Access to Beverly Drive and Bagley Avenue would be cut off at Beverlywood.
Other closures would prevent entry or exit from Robertson Boulevard at Hillsboro Avenue, Durango Avenue, Sawyer Street, Cresta Drive and Monte Mar Drive. Glenville and Rexford drives would be closed at Airdrome Street.
The association's traffic committee, which formulated the plan, hopes the streets will be blocked with large planters such as those used on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, forcing motorists to take other routes. Where barriers are not possible, the association would like speed bumps installed, Uris said.
The association also wants the city to widen and improve Robertson Boulevard, the street designated by signs on the Santa Monica Freeway as the route to Beverly Hills and Century City.
The association asked its members for comments on the proposal, and so far 1,400 Beverlywood residents have favored the plan, while about 200 have voiced opposition, Uris said.
"It's still just a proposal," Uris said. "We are trying to get the ear of the City Council. We know we will have to make compromises."
Adinah Solomon, a spokeswoman for Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, said the proposal will probably come to the councilman's office within a few weeks. Before any action can be taken, it must be presented to the city Department of Transportation, the Police and Fire departments and other city agencies, she said.
A meeting has been scheduled in July with the association, Yaroslavsky and representatives of the Planning, Police and Fire departments.
Association members said that emergency vehicles would be able to enter Beverlywood at Airdrome, go to Bagley and have "easy access" to any location within the community.
However, a spokesman from Los Angeles Fire Department said that street closures, one-way streets and speed bumps restrict access of emergency vehicles. Units from two or more stations might respond to a fire call and an entrance on Airdrome might not be the fastest route for some of the vehicles, he said.
Even though the closure movement is still in its infancy, it has already drawn objections from residents of neighboring communities.
Lillian Kratz, who lives just south of Beverlywood, said some neighbors asked her to voice their complaints.