Culver City Cluster

The intersection of Venice & Robertson near the Culver City Expo Line stop holds a special place in many pedestrians’ hearts, but not in a good way. It dwells in that special place where existential fears reside – will I survive crossing 8 lanes of Venice Blvd and a the goofy one-way pair that is Robertson, full of impatient drivers trying to get to the 10?

There is no love for this intersection among drivers either, as it is reliably snarled for much of the day, causing major delays to Metro bus routes 33 and 733. The exhaust of so many idling cars doesn’t lend much to the ambience of the Venice Blvd bike lanes either. It’s pretty much an unmitigated multi-modal disaster. With Expo Line construction complete, we are at least done with lane closures and pedestrian detours, but that’s not saying much, especially since the final configuration still has no crosswalk on the west side of Robertson.

To see why this area is such a mess, let’s zoom out a little and look at the arterial grid in the region.

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In addition to the oddly-configured interchange with the 10, arterial roads around downtown Culver City are very disjointed, with Venice being the only continuous one. Culver ends at Venice. Washington is interrupted in a way that forces travel on Culver. Robertson, for all purposes, ends at Washington, because traffic controls on Higuera St make it impossible to link Robertson, Higuera, and Rodeo as a continuous arterial. National and Hughes/Duquesne are only one lane each way, reducing their utility as routes around Venice/Robertson. The result is that traffic is funneled to Venice/Robertson, creating misery for everyone involved (except Expo Line riders sailing overhead).

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What could be done?

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The most ambitious plan (which many readers aren’t going to like) would be an underpass from Culver to Robertson and reconfiguring the offramp from the 10 eastbound. This would require tunneling under Venice, the shopping center, and a retained fill section on the Expo Line. It would create a continuous arterial out of Culver & Robertson, and remove this traffic from the existing Venice/Robertson intersection. It would also turn the intersection into a conventional four-legged junction. The carrot to this stick would be crosswalks on all four sides of Venice/Robertson with lower traffic volumes, and, by virtue of removing the worst bottleneck on Venice, a center running BRT on Venice from Crenshaw Blvd to the Pacific Ocean. I don’t have time to properly CAD this up at the moment, but here, have a crappy MS Paint rendering.

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A less ambitious plan would be to eliminate Culver Blvd between Washington and Venice, reconfigure downtown Culver City to make Washington continuous, and still reconfigure the offramp from the 10 eastbound. This would still reduce the traffic volume on Venice, and reduce left-turn volumes from Venice eastbound to Robertson northbound by forcing Culver/Washington traffic to turn at Washington/Robertson instead.

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There are probably other options too. The absence of the crosswalk at Venice/Robertson is really inexcusable in any case, and that at least should be fixed immediately.

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6 thoughts on “Culver City Cluster

  1. Red Line Reader

    The lack of a crosswalk here was directly connected to me getting hit by a car on my bike in early 2015. This is one of those junctions that really is a catastrophe across all modes

    Reply
  2. alisonkendall

    This intersection was the site of a Hamilton High student being hit and killed by a car not long ago. With the increased use this site will get starting with Expo Phase 2 service to Santa Monica, it is even more urgent to do everything we can to improve pedestrian, transit user and bicycle safety in a setting which is overly designed for automobile speed above all else.

    Underpasses for Culver Boulevard as shown are not happening. The crazy complexity of the I-10 onramp demands some attention. As a homeowner on Higuera, more needs to be done to deflect through traffic to La Cienega or other arterials. It is sad that the Washington/Culver connection and the big parking lot in front of trader Joes and the Culver Hotel is such a mess. What is planned there? Surely there is a better way to manage traffic and provide an attractive open space at this important location?

    Reply
  3. Luke Klipp

    Here’s another configuration idea that would be a lot cheaper:
    — Convert S Robertson Blvd b/n the I-10 W/B off-ramp and Venice into a two-way street without on-street parking (instead of the current one-way N/B where only one lane goes onto the freeway entrance anyway)
    — Convert Exposition Blvd b/n Robertson Pl and Venice Blvd into a one-way W/B
    — Rebuild the end of the I-10 E/B off-ramp so that exiting drivers are directed to hang an immediate left onto N/B Robertson Pl and then can hang a right onto the new S/B lane of S/B Robertson Blvd.
    — Now you make the intersection of Venice/Robertson a traditional four-way light, since you’ll no longer have traffic entering the intersection from E/B Exposition Blvd.

    This could create some delays for vehicles exiting the I-10 E/B off-ramp, but you can also create additional green light signal time for S/B S Robertson Blvd. to make up for this. Just a little paint and redirection of traffic, and you get a traditional four-way signal and hopefully de-stress this intersection somewhat.

    Reply
  4. mrsman

    The crosswalk on the western side of Robertson needs to be made. This can be accomplished if the “porkchop” gore between the lanes of E/B Exposition approaching Venice and the right turn lane from Expo EB to Venice WB were made wider. Every crossing needs to be fully signal controlled. (Singalize E/B Expo to N/B Robertson where all the yield signs are). No turn anywhere near here without a green arrow that doesn’t impact pedestrians.

    In essence, reconstruct the intersection so that no car may make a right turn into a pedestrian at all. Right turns only on green arrows that are completely separate from pedestrian phases. For a good example of this, see SB Highland turning to WB Franklin in Hollywood, the heavy right turn movement has a completely separate phase from the pedestrian crossing. While it may be scary to cross here because of the heavy right turn movements, it is completely safe because of the protected pedestrian phase. This intersection is so complicated and pedestrian-heavy thanks to the Expo Rail station that they need a similar treatment at all 4 right turns in the intersection.

    The intersections of Robertson/Robertson Pl/ 10 Fwy WB on-ramp and Robertson Pl/Expo/10 Fwy EB off-ramp also need to be signalized.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Problemas en la intersección de Venice y Robertson en Culver City |

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