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Venice crash: City Council to vote on boardwalk traffic barriers

August 06, 2013|By David Zahniser
  • Debris litters the scene after a person drove a car onto the crowded Venice boardwalk and struck several people Saturday, killing one and injuring 16.
Debris litters the scene after a person drove a car onto the crowded Venice… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

The Los Angeles City Council is set to consider an emergency measure Tuesday to install temporary traffic barriers at various locations along the Venice Boardwalk, the latest response to the hit-and-run crash Saturday that left one person dead and 16 injured.

The council is set to instruct the city's police, street, transportation and park agencies to place the temporary barriers at the boardwalk’s “most hazardous intersections” until a permanent solution for keeping cars away from pedestrians is found.

Councilman Mike Bonin, who drafted the proposal and represents the Venice neighborhood, said the city needs to treat the boardwalk, which receives thousands of visitors per day, less like a neighborhood park and more like a global tourist destination. Although pylons were in place on Dudley Avenue separating cars from Ocean Front Walk, the suspect swerved around them by driving on the sidewalk and then into a crowd, Bonin said.

“There were four pylons on this street and if we had a fifth one it would have prevented him from getting through," Bonin told CNN on Monday.

Alice Gruppioni, 32, a newlywed from Italy who was on her honeymoon, was killed in Saturday's crash. Police have arrested Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, on suspicion of murder.

Bonin contends Saturday's tragedy highlighted the additional safety measures needed for Ocean Front Walk, which lures tourists with its street artists and other seaside attractions. Some of those tourists unintentionally drive their cars onto the boardwalk thinking it is a street, he said.

The council is also expected to call for city officials, including those at the police and fire departments, to produce a safety assessment for the boardwalk within 14 days.

Bonin said he wants the city to determine whether bollards -- pier-like posts of steel or concrete -- should be installed on selected streets and sidewalks. Another option would be huge concrete planters, he said.

The study will also look at proposals for more street lighting, installation of a public address system and expanded surveillance cameras along the walkway.


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Twitter: @davidzahniser

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