Death on Woodman.

Conor Lynch, 16-years-old, was killed yesterday as he walked across Woodman Avenue near Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.

There is nothing more gut wrenching or tragic than the death of a child. My condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim.

Woodman Avenue is a busy street, where cars, trucks and SUVs speed up as they approach and exit the 101 Freeway or turn to go into Fashion Square Mall.

For years, I have watched these streets become increasingly more deadly and dangerous. Red light runners, texting drivers, speeding drivers, distracted drivers. The self-centered, self-absorbed and murderous habits of drivers have culminated in the death of a young man.

It is said that he ran outside and crossed against the red light. Perhaps. But in broad daylight, drivers need to drive near schools with caution.

If you doubt that drivers are driving badly, take a trip to the corner of Riverside and Woodman or go north to Magnolia or Chandler. Watch the light change from red to green and see how many cars go through the intersection illegally. How many cars are driven by texting and talking idiots who are only 50% aware of what is going on beyond their windshield?

Only one intersection in the San Fernando Valley has a cop regularly handing out tickets. He is a mustached motorcycle cop who waits at the corner of Burbank and Van Nuys Blvd. to catch drivers turning right on red without fully stopping. His tickets, issued to drivers going as slow as 5 MPH, cost $380. The 60 MPH red light runners speeding down Fulton, Woodman, Hazeltine and Laurel Canyon go as fast as they please without punishment.

A young man is dead and a family is in mourning and we continue to do hardly anything to punish drivers who aren’t properly driving.

5 thoughts on “Death on Woodman.

  1. I was recently in LA visiting from Melbourne. Here there is such an iron fisted approach to speeding that my brain literally wouldn’t let me drive at the speed most people drive on the freeways there, which is 10-20 MPH above the limit. Also we have ‘slow down’ zones around all schools during school start and end times, heavily enforced. I find it very heavy handed at times, but it no doubt has worked here, the overall road toll has been slashed.


    1. Brett-

      Thank you for your comment.
      The only way to get people to obey is to enforce the law, as you pointed out is done in Australia.
      We have a lot of drivers who do what they want because they can get away with it.



    2. Brett, as another Melbourne antipodean living in LA, I have also noted this lack of law enforcement as a curious feature of US life. Unfortunately it extends to many things and institutions, often with disastrous impact.

      Red-light and speed cameras find a hard time to get acceptance. I’ve been told it’s to do with the free-spirit of the American people. People wave 1-finger salutes at me on the streets and freeway because I drive just a smidge over the “speed limit”. I guess that’s people sharing their free-spirited charm. And most drivers don’t hesitate going 65 km/hr or 40 mph in residential streets. Isn’t that horrible? (much of Australia standardizes to 40 km/hr or 25 mph when driving in residential areas).

      Yet I detect much learned helplessness and victim syndrome. If you dissect the comments and responses from the communities writing into online forums, all say “poor kid”, “RIP”, “condolence”, “texting is to blame”…but there’s nothing about fixing the aberrant and corrupt system wholistically – nothing much about introducing stricter standard for driving, about enforcing speed limits seriously and punishing criminal driving.

      Yet in LA we’re told that our taxes are needed to support more police. We’re told police numbers have increased as a result of our generous taxes, and that there is a incredible effort into “community policing” (if only I know what that buzzword means).

      I don’t know whether this is worth the effort and publicity.

      I feel like I should be free-spirited and not pay any tax.


  2. This is so tragic. Whatever this young man was doing as he performed the innocent act of crossing the street — texting, talking on the phone, staring at a tree — doesn’t compare to the deadly habits of drivers doing these same things hurtling along at 50mph in a 2-ton weapon. I see people commenting on the LA Times article that he “crossed against the red light” or was “texting while walking,” placing blame on the victim instead of the cars surrounding him. This dystopian thinking disgusts me.

    On paper, people (let’s not call them pedestrians, please) always have the right of way. In real life however, Woodman Avenue is a staggering 7 lanes wide with 15 foot setbacks — wide enough to distort any driver’s sense of speed and fool them into thinking they’re already on the 101. A street that wide is built for only one thing: speed. It is absolutely tragic that such a heavy-handed infrastructure design choice robbed this young man of the simple pleasure of traveling about his neighborhood as a local would.

    Danger is built into the very design of this street. And it prevents people from ever becoming comfortable in their own backyards. I wonder how many people will notice the flowers on the side of the road as they zoom by.


    1. David-

      So eloquently expressed.
      Yes, our “normal” LA streets are as wide as freeways and elevate the car while demeaning the human.



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