Sidewalk, Roadway Drama on Entrada Drive in Pacific Palisades

By Sue Pascoe 

Advocates in Santa Monica Canyon argued that a widened sidewalk from Kingman Avenue to Amalfi Drive on the north side of Entrada would make it easy for kids living in the 200 homes north of the roadway to walk the few blocks to Canyon Charter Elementary.

This would have required the City of L.A. to take away 10 feet of public right-of-way that some homeowners had landscaped and put up walls. But it would have maintained the same street width on Entrada, allowing drivers going uphill to bypass cars turning left, while also providing room for emergency vehicles to access homes, even in bumper to bumper traffic. And, bike riders would still be able to use the shoulder as an ad-hoc bike lane.

Accidents are frequent on Entrada near Kingman.
Accidents are frequent on Entrada near Kingman.

Proponents eventually managed to obtain a $630,000 grant from Caltrans to pay for construction of a new sidewalk from Amalfi to Kingman. (The grant did not specify side of street.)

However, the sidewalk was installed on the south side of the street and extended beyond Kingman to Adelaide Drive in Santa Monica. There are no crosswalks on Entrada at Kingman, which is located on a dangerous blind curve, and thus the sidewalk is basically inaccessible to people living in the homes north of Entrada.

Additionally, when the sidewalk was constructed beyond Kingman, it did not match the roadway. One resident observed that the road was almost 10 inches higher than the sidewalk.

Councilman Mike Bonin’s District Director Debbie Dyner Harris sent a May 10 email to residents: “You may be aware that the new sidewalk that was recently completed on Entrada created a height differential between the gutter and the roadway. To remedy this, the Bureau of Street Services will begin work this weekend to grind down the asphalt, and then resurface the street to create a smooth, even roadway.”

The entire road was closed on May 12, May 20 and May 27 for “reprofiling,” and Harris warned on May 23 that “More of the same work is expected to occur the weekend of June 3 and 4. After that, the new asphalt work will occur, where we’ll resurface from Amalfi to Adelaide for a beautiful new street. I presume that work will begin the following weekend of June 10.”

Canyon resident Henry Lichstein told the News, “The reprofiling of Entrada was described as taking no more than five days, but has now been stretched to beyond a month.”

The cost of extending the sidewalk from Kingman to Adelaide and the cost of “re-profiling” the road? Good question. Since May 10 when the News first contacted him, the Bureau of Street Services public information officer Paul Gomez has been looking into how much taxpayers will need to pay for a sidewalk that services 24 homes and the required roadwork.

A sidewalk along Entrada was first suggested 10 years ago and then-Coucilman Bill Rosendahl requested a traffic study. In 2015, the sidewalk once again proposed by Council District 11.

A Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (SMCCA) traffic committee was formed consisting of George Wolfberg, Doug Suisman, Marilyn Wexler, Mark Kanday and Julie Siliman, with Debbie Dyner as the CD11 point person.

Members expressed concern to CD11 about the hundreds of bicyclists who use Entrada on the weekends, especially, as they make their way to PCH and the beach. The residents noted that for years, the diagonally-striped curb lanes had functioned as a de facto, if undesignated, bike lane. The committee asked the city to enhance these into a fully protected bike lane. But because of the terrain and some private encroachments on the public right-of-way, there was apparently inadequate room for such a bike lane.

The committee was concerned that the final roadway configuration, which would be narrower, would be less safe in accom- modating both cars and cyclists along Entrada. An updated traffic study was re- quested, but was never done.

In April 2016, the SMCCA held a special meeting to discuss the pros and cons of constructing a new sidewalk along Entrada. Residents were told that about $700,000 (Caltrans’ website listed the grant as $630,00 and did not specify side of street) had been approved for a six-month reconstruction project on the south side of Entrada from Canyon School to Adelaide, resulting in a 5-ft. wide, ADA-compliant sidewalk. The widened sidewalk, however, would reduce Entrada’s width by three feet.

Residents were told that despite a narrower roadway, drivers would still be able to turn left into San Lorenzo, Kingman or Stassi, without backing up traffic. They were also told that the city was unable to use the 10-ft. public right of way on the north side of the street because of homeowners’ landscaping and retaining walls.

The sidewalk and gutter were constructed below street level requiring dirt from the street to be taken away, before the road could be repaved.
The sidewalk and gutter were constructed below street level requiring dirt from the street to be taken away, before the road could be repaved.

The pros given for a south-side sidewalk were: 1.) if the project didn’t go forward, money would be lost; 2.) children on the south side of Entrada (about 24 homes) needed a safer route to school; and 3.) traffic on Entrada was too fast and the narrower roadway would slow the flow of cars.

The cons were: 1.) there was no crosswalk on the hill, which meant that 200+ households on the north side would be unable to use that sidewalk; 2.) drivers turning left onto San Lorenzo, Kingman and Stassi would cause more congestion because cars would not be able to go around them with a narrower roadway; 3.) a south sidewalk would forever foreclose the possibility of a sidewalk on the north; 4.) Entrada would be more dangerous by narrowing the sharp curve at the top of the hill; and 5.) the project was initiated and approved without a traffic assessment study.

At that meeting, SMCCA President Marilyn Wexler noted that the 25-memberboard was largely in favor of going forward with a south sidewalk, with the exception of six members who lived on the north side of Entrada. About 50 residents attended the meeting and were evenly split about whether to proceed with the sidewalk.

The city started the project in September 2016 and by this March it was apparent something was wrong with the roadway. One resident observed that the curb and gutter of the sidewalk did not match the existing street level.

At the SMCCA’s annual meeting in May, a north-side-of-Entrada resident Michelle Grosso asked CD11’s Dyner Harris, “How can we cross the street to use the sidewalk?” Harris said that the city was looking into it.

“The city should have used the 10-ft. public right of way on the north side of the street,” Wexler told the News.

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