Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

SEPTEMBER 21, 2004

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL

FROM: CITY MANAGER

DATE: SEPTEMBER 21, 2004

SUBJECT: CITYWIDE AND NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC ISSUES INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

RECOMMENDATION:

(1) Approve the Traffic Committee’s recommendation to approve the TEAM RPV City Wide Traffic Enforcement Program; (2) Request staff to agendize a contract amendment with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and a budget adjustment to fund the program; (3) Approve the four step Traffic Calming Plan for the Mira Vista Neighborhood as recommended by the Traffic Committee; (4) Authorize staff to move forward with Step One of the plan; and (5) Request staff to prepare a budget resolution to fund implementation of the plan.

BACKGROUND:

On January 10, 2004 the City Council and senior management staff met to discuss and formulate goals for the next two years. Four goals were identified including:

Citywide Traffic and Parking: Formulate and Implement an action plan on/or before September 30, 2004.

(1) By March 30, 2004 the City Council and the Traffic Committee will meet jointly to discuss and agree on a plan for the control of speeding in residential neighborhoods.

(2) By June 30, 2004 the Traffic Committee will recommend to the City Council a plan to address traffic calming issues in Eastview.

    1. By September 30, 2004 the City Council will provide the necessary funding to implement approved plans and direct staff to proceed with the approved measures.

The City Council and Traffic Committee have completed tasks (1) and (2). This evening the City Council will be asked to consider the recommendations of the Traffic Committee, take public testimony and, if appropriate, take action on the recommendations.

Order of Business:

In order to make the most efficient use of time, staff has organized the presentations on the pending citywide and neighborhood traffic issues and related Traffic Committee recommendations into a single agenda item with three subdivisions. The subdivisions include:

1. An Introduction and Overview of Traffic Issues (This report/ Report A)

    1. TEAM RPV Program (Report B)
    2. Mira Vista Neighborhood Traffic Calming Plan (Report C)

Each of the Reports (subdivisions) is written to stand-alone for those who are focused on a particular issue. Since they are each stand-alone reports there is some material in each that may be duplicated in the other reports. Staff suggests that the Council hear the Staff Report on all three of the subdivisions, ask questions on all three and then take public testimony on all three. Staff believes that much of the material to be discussed in these subdivisions is related and to hear three separate reports and testimony on each would take several meetings over a period of weeks, or months. However, the staff presentations are designed to accommodate whatever procedure for hearing them that the Council wishes.

Action by the City Council:

The City Council may choose to adopt all the recommendations of the Traffic Committee or none of them. The Council may choose to modify some or all of the recommendations before adopting them. The City Council may choose to send all or portions of the recommended actions back to the Traffic Committee or the staff for more information or further analysis.

Relationship Between TEAM RPV and Mira Vista Traffic Calming:

There has been discussion over why the TEAM RPV and Mira Vista Traffic issues have been placed on the same City Council agenda and how they are related. First, we should recall that the City Council discussed the timing of hearing these issues at their meeting on July 20, 2004 and agreed that the items should both be placed on the September 21st agenda. Secondly, both the TEAM RPV Program and the Mira Vista Traffic Calming Plan will require Sheriff assets and City General funds and a discussion of both the "Program" and the "Plan" at the same time may result in more efficient solutions for both traffic problems. Both programs could be approved. For instance, if the Council approves both the TEAM RPV Program and the Mira Vista Traffic Calming Plan, the Mira Vista Plan could be implemented immediately with existing Sheriff resources and be ultimately replaced with the TEAM RPV deputies when that Program is ready to be implemented.

New Information:

Staff has been asked by several Council members to prepare and present statistical traffic data including number and location of accidents over the past few years, number of hazardous traffic citations issued over the same periods, cost of current sheriff services per hour, breakdown of how a typical deputy’s week is spent, how many citations a deputy can issue in a given time period and anticipated revenues from these citations. All this information has been developed and assembled by staff over the past few weeks. Hopefully, the information will assist the Council in making better-informed traffic control decisions for the long term. Staff has attempted to avoid reanalyzing the recommendations made by the Traffic Committee when reviewing and interpreting the citywide traffic data.

DISCUSSION:

The following discussion will rely primarily on the traffic accident data gathered at the request of the City Council. Some of this information has not been reviewed by the Traffic Committee, nor fully analyzed by staff. However, staff has drawn some generalized conclusions that the City Council may wish to consider as they decide the course of action for both the Mira Vista neighborhood and the entire City.

Accidents v. Citations Hazardous Citations Issued:

Although the data is somewhat inconclusive there does not appear to be a relationship between the number of citations issued in a given year (or month) and the total number of accidents or the total number of injury accidents. The table summarizes over five years of data.

Accident Locations:

Of the 482 reported traffic accidents over the past two years (this figure does not include accidents on private property) approximately 69% occur on arterial or collector streets and 31% in neighborhoods. As is typical in almost every city, the accidents increase as traffic volumes increase. Therefore, our highest numbers of accidents occur on Western Avenue, Hawthorne Blvd, Palos Verdes Drive East and Palos Verdes Drive South. Although Western Avenue has the highest number of reported accidents in the two-year period, it does not appear in the detailed statistical information since it is a State Highway and not under City jurisdiction.

About % of the accidents (under City jurisdiction) are at arterial intersections. The intersections with the highest number of accidents are also high volume intersections and include Hawthorne Blvd at Highridge Road, Hawthorne Blvd at Ravenspur Drive and Hawthorne Blvd at Eddinghill Drive. Western Avenue intersections were not included in the analysis.

In neighborhoods, there are seven street segments that reported three accidents over the past two years and three street segments that reported four accidents in that period. The local streets with more than two accidents include familiar names such as Via Rivera, General/Enrose/Trudie, Basswood and Crestridge. These local streets probably have more accidents than most other local streets because of high traffic volumes.

The overall accident rate (accidents divided by traffic volume) for Rancho Palos Verdes is about . The accident rate for cities of comparable size is .

Enforcement Notes:

A fully equipped deputy sheriff, with vehicle, costs the City about $90 an hour. The Lomita Sheriff recently conducted some pilot tests to determine how many citations a deputy could realistically issue in an hour. The tests were conducted at six locations on both arterial streets and in residential "hotspots." The results of the tests were that no more than two citations an hour could be expected. The City’s "share" of traffic citation revenues has been about $35 per citation over the past few years. Since a deputy has to attend briefings, prepare daily logs, eat lunch and travel from location to location it is unlikely that a deputy has more than 60% of his/her time available for enforcement. Quick arithmetic suggests that revenue from an aggressive citation program would not exceed $42 per hour and would probably be much less.

How Does a Deputy Currently Spend His Time:

At the request of a City Councilman, the Sheriff has provided a breakdown of how a deputy might allocate her hours during a typical week.

Observations for City Council Consideration:

As a result of the compilation and preliminary analysis fo citywide traffic data as wll as information previously available the City council may wish to also consider the following actions:

    1. Since a relatively high number of accidents occur on Hawthorne, PVDE and PVDE the Council may want to concentrate additional enforcement on these arterial streets.
    2. Since Sheriff enforcement is costly and unproven as a consistent speed reduction method in neighborhoods; and speed humps are relatively inexpensive and have proven effective in the appropriate application the Council may wish to utilize speed humps in neighborhoods that demonstrate speeds in excess of typical neighborhoods and meet traffic volume, street geometric and safety criteria for speed humps.
    3. Since there are three intersections on Hawthorne Blvd that have a relatively high number of accidents compared to other intersections in the City, the Council may wish to direct staff to study and make recommendations for safety improvements at these intersections.

Respectfully submitted,

Les Evans

City Manager