Yep, it’s a mess.
Just ask anyone stuck in a line of traffic at Western Avenue and Palos Verdes Drive North — idling through several cycles of red lights before they can break free.
“Road work ahead” doesn’t begin to describe the holdups that have become a commuter’s nightmare in the past several weeks.
Traffic along the already-busy Western Avenue thoroughfare that takes motorists in and out of San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes is down to single lanes in some areas as Caltrans crews make road improvements connected to the coming Ponte Vista housing development.
It’s all left motorists seriously backed up as they inch forward toward freedom. Side streets, especially as local schools let out, are now clogged with motorists seeking to avoid Western Avenue.
But, if all goes well, it’s a case of things getting worse before they get better.
The street improvements came with the agreements that moved Ponte Vista forward after many years of haggling over the issue of density and how the development might impact Western Avenue traffic.
The 61.5-acre future housing site, at 26900 S. Western Ave., has seen numerous changes and delays since the first iteration of the plan was rolled out in 2005. Housing construction for up to 700 homes under the plan is still several months out.
The road work, said Eric Menjivar of Caltrans, is designed to improve the flow of traffic along Western Avenue and entails:
- the installation of upgraded traffic signals at Avenida Aprenda, Pacific Coast Highway, Palos Verdes Drive North and Capital Drive;
- a widening of Western Avenue to create a dedicated right turn-out lane taking motorists into the Ponte Vista property;
- the installation of a new signal at Peninsula Verde Drive, just north of Avenida Aprenda, on Western;
- installation of a left-turn signal for entrance into Mary Star of the Sea High School from Western Avenue; and
- new medians, landscaping and bus turnout lanes.
Harridge Development Group, which took over the Ponte Vista project in 2018, recently received the necessary permits to launch the mitigation measures designed to improve the flow of traffic, according to Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council minutes of a report Harridge Development’s Mitch Canada gave last week.
On Western, in front of the project, crews are lengthening the southbound left-turn pocket to accommodate more cars, Canada’s report said. The anticipation is that part of the work will be finished in about three weeks, last week’s report said.
Canada did not respond to multiple requests for updates on the project on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Once that is completed, the report said, the company hopes to open a dedicated road into Mary Star for daytime use only. The lights and speed bumps have still not been installed on that road.
Improvements being made to the intersection at Palos Verdes Drive North and Western Avenue also are anticipated to be finished in about three weeks, Canada told the neighborhood council.
In the meantime, motorists are advised to find other routes to take them in and out of the area.