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LA traffic fatality count falls, but numbers remain short of city goal

File: Traffic fatalities in Los Angeles declined last year, but not as much as the city had aimed for in its Vision Zero program. Tony Webster/Flickr

New figures from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation show traffic fatalities fell in 2017 by a little more than 6 percent over the previous year, with a total of 244 deaths recorded.

That’s short of the stated goal of the city's Vision Zero program that aimed to reduce deaths by 25 percent by 2017. The previous year's fatalities rose by more than 40 percent.

Los Angeles has among the highest traffic fatality rates of any major U.S. city and crashes are the leading cause of death for children.

Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Vision Zero campaign in 2015, pledging the city would eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.

Street safety projects are ongoing in the city. Last week, construction began on a series of street improvements in downtown Los Angeles. They will reconfigure an eight-block stretch of Spring and Main streets, adding a physical barrier to the bike lane, high visibility crosswalks and moving the bike lane away from bus stops.

The changes will not include removal of any lanes of car traffic, a commonly used safety measure referred to as a road diet.

Such projects have come under fire in the last year. There were several lawsuits and a recall campaign against Councilman Mike Bonin over the removal of lanes on several streets in his westside district.