City Council could green-light Los Coyotes Diagonal signal improvements

After nearly eight years of searching for grant funding, Los Coyotes Diagonal could finally get its traffic signals upgraded over the next few months.

The project will upgrade ten intersections’ traffic signals running along Los Coyotes Diagonal from Outer Traffic Circle Drive to Carson Street, which is the entire stretch of Los Coyotes in the city of Long Beach.

It will also replace outdated traffic lights, pedestrian crossing signals, the poles and arms that hold up the lights as well as install new detectors for vehicles and bicycles. Additional upgrades to meet safety and ADA standards, like improved lighting, are also expected to be part of the project.

The project will address ten intersections along Los Coyotes but will omit the signals at the 405 Freeway Bellflower Boulevard south exit, the fork where it meets Studebaker Road and the signal at Parkcrest Street outside McBride High School. It also won’t address an intersection between Spring and Willow Street where a teenager was killed earlier this year by an alleged drunk driver. The teen’s parents have started a petition to put a signal at Deborah Street but that will require a separate traffic survey and additional infrastructure, according to the city.

Joy Contreras, a spokesperson for Public Works, said that the signals at Studebaker would be upgraded as part of a different project that will upgrade Studebaker Road’s traffic lights. That project is expected to happen over the next 18 months, Contreras said.

One of the biggest improvements for pedestrian safety along Los Coyotes could be the installation of pedestrian push buttons and countdown signals, which will let pedestrians know the time they have to cross the street. Those are expected to be placed at all pedestrian crossing locations along the route, according to a city memo.

The city has been seeking funding for the $1.4 million project since 2013 when it applied for a federal safety improvement grant money from the United States Department of Transportation. However, it wasn’t granted permission to authorize construction or engineering for the improvements until December 2020. Contreras said that grant funding will cover about half of the project cost.

The City Council is scheduled to approve the contract to begin work on the project at its Nov. 9 meeting. According to the bid accepted by the city, the work is expected to take 90 working days to complete. While no full street closures are expected, Contreras said that temporary signals and partial lane closures could happen once the project begins.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.
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