“One of the biggest complaints we have is people say, How come we don’t have a left-turn signal?” John Fisher, assistant general manager of the Department of Transportation, said the city’s signal system was built in the 1950s, when left-turn arrows weren’t considered standard as they are now. Over the years, the city has installed left arrows at 32 percent of the approaches to major intersections. The four-year program is expected to double that number. “They needed a major retrofit program. That’s what we’re undertaking,” Fisher said. By comparison, 7 percent of the intersections in New York City have left-turn arrows, and 15 percent in Philadelphia do. About 63 percent of San Diego’s intersections have either left or right-turn arrows. But don’t expect relief anytime soon. Fisher said it takes about three years from the time the need for a new signal is identified until it’s up and running – though he hopes to be able to streamline the process. Each of the 160 intersections can get multiple left-turn arrows – to handle traffic coming from various directions – so 450 new arrows will be added in all citywide. The Valley will get more than 35 percent of the new arrows, on par with the area’s portion of the city’s population. In the Valley today, more than 200 intersections have left-turn arrows and 45 additional intersections – with 163 new arrows – will be added. Each signal costs $18,000, so putting four new arrows in each each direction at an intersection would cost $72,000. Officials estimate the full program will cost $8 million, and funding is secured in the Transportation Department’s budget – though rising material costs will require some increased funding, officials said. But shortfalls could come in future years because the work is being wrapped into the department’s ongoing projects to synchronize street signals and upgrade signals with newer models, and those projects lack funds. For example, the $200 million signal-synchronization project lacks $40 million in coming years, Fisher said. Greuel, who asked for a new signal herself at Moorpark Avenue and Laurel Canyon Boulevard in her district, said she’ll be working on the new city budget to make sure there are adequate funds for the program. “I think us getting to the 21st century on this one is critical,” she said. Lisa Mascaro, (818) 713-3761 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Los Angeles motorists will be able to turn left without dodging oncoming traffic at nearly 160 more intersections – including a fair share in the San Fernando Valley – under an $8 million program to bring traffic signals into the 21st century, officials said Wednesday. After decades of resisting left-turn arrows for fear of jamming through-traffic, Los Angeles has quietly launched a campaign to add the signals, which have become a mainstay of newer cities. Wayne Adelstein, who just last week found himself making a series of right-hand turns to avoid having to make a single left near traffic-choked California State University, Northridge, was happy to hear of the multimillion-dollar investment. “If you want to make a turn, it’s one car at a time. Any technology usage that’s going to regulate the flow and speed of traffic is welcome,” said Adelstein, president and CEO of the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a good thing.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The dearth of left-turn signals has plagued the city for years, and has been a favorite gripe among Angelenos. And the Los Angeles Police Department says failure to yield to oncoming traffic is a major cause of crashes, and that left-turn arrows should help reduce those collisions. “Failure to yield is one of our main problems,” Detective William Bustos said, adding that the Valley averages 1,400 to 1,500 collisions a month. “Left-turn arrows will help.” Former Mayor James Hahn made increasing the number of left-turn signals one of the priorities in what was otherwise considered an anemic transportation policy, and three years ago the city set out to step up its efforts to bring more signals on line. “Every single day we have someone who wants a left-hand turn signal,” said City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee, which discussed the plan Wednesday.