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50 COPS SET TO UNCLOG WORST L.A. TRAFFIC SPOTS THEY'LL CLEAR INTERSECTIONS.

Byline: Rick Orlov Staff Writer

UNIVERSAL CITY - Taking an old idea and expanding on his predecessor's efforts, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced plans Friday to use traffic control officers to reduce traffic congestion at the city's busiest intersections.

Beginning Monday, 50 of the white-gloved, green-vest-wearing traffic officers will be rotated among the city's worst intersections - targeting 50 in the initial effort, half of them in the San Fernando Valley.

``This is a small step, but it's common sense,'' Villaraigosa said at a news conference held at Barham Street and Cahuenga Boulevard, one of the city's most congested areas during rush hour.

``I have talked about the big things - extending the Red Line to the ocean, building the Exposition line, synchronizing traffic signals - but we have to do the small things, as well.''

The proposal was first made to former Mayor James Hahn by Councilman Tom LaBonge, who renewed his suggestion to Villaraigosa after he was elected.

``Everything old is new again,'' LaBonge said. ``This is a way to reduce traffic congestion and let people get to work or get home.''

Chief Jimmy Price, who oversees the traffic officers, said the program has been expanded under Villaraigosa and is more proactive.

``What we had before was a static situation where officers were assigned basically along Ventura Boulevard,'' Price said. ``What we are doing here is targeting intersections throughout the city and responding dynamically.

``Once an area is flowing smoothly, we'll move to another area. If we hear there is a particular problem somewhere, we can move officers into that area immediately.''

Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who chairs the City Council's Transportation Committee, said the officers will spend their shifts on patrol, including working on the stolen-vehicle recovery program.

``This is an important new step to end the chokehold on traffic,'' Greuel said, adding that studies have shown that the use of traffic officers can improve traffic flow by as much as 20 percent.

``That's 20 percent more time with your family. That's getting home 20 percent earlier.''

The program has identified 35 intersections to receive traffic officers from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays.

They are at Vermont Avenue and Pico Boulevard; Vermont and Washington Boulevard; Ventura Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Avenue; Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards; Ventura and Van Nuys boulevards; Reseda Boulevard and Clark Avenue; Argyle Avenue and Franklin Street; Cahuenga and Barham boulevards; Los Feliz Boulevard and Griffith Park; Melrose Avenue and Highland Boulevard; Rossmore Avenue and Beverly Boulevard; Ventura and Beverly Glen boulevards; Ventura and Sepulveda boulevards, Wilshire and Westwood boulevards.

Also, Roscoe and Sepulveda boulevards; Victory Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Avenue; Victory and Sepulveda boulevards; Hubbard Street and Foothill Boulevard; San Fernando Road and Van Nuys Boulevard; Van Nuys and Foothill boulevards; Crenshaw Boulevard and Stocker Street; 16th and San Pedro street; First and Alameda streets; Fifth and Figueroa streets; La Cienega and Fairfax boulevards; Sunset and Sepulveda boulevards; Reseda and Roscoe boulevards; San Fernando Road and Fletcher Avenue; Highland and Sunset boulevards; Soto Street and Washington Boulevard; 9th and Gaffey streets; and Imperial and Central avenues.

Fifteen intersections have been initially designated for traffic officers between 7 and 9 a.m. weekdays.

These are Vermont and Pico; Vermont and Washington; Ventura and Coldwater; Ventura and Laurel Canyon; Ventura and Van Nuys; Reseda and Burbank; Argyle and Franklin; Cahuenga and Barham; Los Feliz and Griffith Park; Melrose and Highland; Ventura and Beverly Glen; Ventura and Sepulveda; Overland Avenue and National Boulevard; Overland and National Place; and Reseda and Roscoe.

Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390

rick.orlov(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 8, 2005
Words:590
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