OCTOBER 18, 2005 CITYWIDE AND NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OCTOBER 18, 2005 CITYWIDE AND NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OCTOBER 18, 2005 CITYWIDE AND NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL

FROM: CITY MANAGER

DATE: OCTOBER 18, 2005

SUBJECT: CITYWIDE AND NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT

RECOMMENDATION

Consider upgrading the current traffic enforcement program.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On September 21, 2004 the City Council deferred discussion on a Citywide plan for traffic enforcement until after the November Public Safety Ballot Initiative (Baca Initiative). At the September 10, 2005 City Council meeting staff was directed to return with some alternatives for increased enforcement along with costs and benefits of each. The attached matrix summarizes the alternatives developed by staff along with costs and summary analysis of anticipated benefits.

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 action on Eastview (Mira Vista) traffic calming, but a citywide plan has not yet been adopted.

Staff receives traffic related requests from residents on a daily basis. Often times the requests are for stop signs, speed humps, striping, signal modifications, or even law enforcement presence to slow down traffic. Although stop signs and speed humps may or may not be the ultimate solution, the common concern is safety. Residents do not feel safe with the perception of excessive speeding and high volumes on their streets.

When Staff receives traffic-related requests, a process is followed to efficiently address residents concern. An initial investigation is conducted to assess existing conditions, accident history, speeds, and volume data. The initial investigation may result in corrective measures that can either be done right away if it is a low-cost remedy or in a recommendation to be forwarded to the Traffic Safety Commission for consideration. The requestor is involved and informed of the recommendations and in some cases is required to submit a petition with the required number of neighborhood signatures. In the event the recommended measure is a costly solution and/or requires an ordinance, the recommendation is forwarded to City Council for approval.

The process that Staff follows is outlined in the City’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Manual. This manual outlines the tools that Staff uses to recommend a particular measure. These tools are commonly known as the 3 E’s of traffic calming: Education, Engineering and Enforcement. RPV utilizes the 3 E’s, however our emphasis in the past has been on engineering, rather than education and enforcement.

Three case studies that exemplify our current process are the Basswood Speed Hump Pilot program, the Via Rivera Speed Reduction Pilot Program, and the South Eastview Neighborhood Traffic Calming plan. Each case identifies traffic calming measures that were used or proposed to address neighborhood concerns.

It has been suggested by Councilmembers, Commissioners and residents that new ideas and new tools are needed to put an increased emphasis on the other 2 E’s of traffic calming. Captain Jay Zuanich from the Lomita Sheriff’s Department, last year, presented a proposal for an enforcement program that addressed Education and Enforcement. The proposal was called Traffic Enforcement And Maintenance (TEAM) RPV. TEAM RPV was first introduced to the City Council and Traffic Committee on March 30, 2004 at a Joint City Council/Traffic Committee meeting.

At the July 26, 2004 Traffic Committee meeting, Staff in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Department presented the TEAM RPV concept in full detail. The Traffic Committee voted unanimously (6-0) to forward a recommendation to the City Council for approval of the TEAM RPV program.

At their meeting of September 21, 2004, the TEAM RPV matter, with the Traffic Committee recommendation, was placed before the City Council as Item 10-A on the agenda. The following is an excerpt from the minutes of that meeting:

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to delete Item 10-A, Citywide Traffic Enforcement: TEAM RPV, from the Agenda.

Councilman Long explained his removal of Item 10-A, saying he believed it confused matters to discuss it concurrently with 10-B and also it was premature to discuss it since the City’s five-year budget model had not been determined and it was unknown what the City’s revenues would be.

Mayor Pro Tem Clark indicated Councilman Long made some salient points although he did not necessarily agree with them all. He requested a poll of audience members to determine the numbers present to address 10-A and 10-B, the Mira Vista Traffic Calming Plan, and, if there was a significant difference, reorder the Agenda to take first the item with the preponderance of speakers.

Councilman Wolowicz asked Councilman Long if he visualized 10-A being postponed until the budget issues are resolved or to some date certain, saying it was a very significant item that he would not like to see postponed indefinitely.

Councilman Long stated he believed it would be more appropriate to address the matter after the November election (referring to the Baca Tax initiative).

The motion passed without objection.

On November 2, 2004, Measure A (the sales tax increase to fund law enforcement) failed to gather the required 66.7% majority vote. However, it was supported by 59.6% of the Los Angeles County voters. In Rancho Palos Verdes the voter support was less than 50%.

On September 10, 2005, the City Council and the Traffic Safety Commission met jointly.

As a result of the discussion on Lomita Station Deployment of Resources, the Council: 1) Directed Staff to bring back a proposal for increased Sheriff traffic enforcement during the P.M. and weekend shift; and, 2) Directed the Traffic Safety Commission, possibly through a subcommittee, to study new technology that might be available to improve traffic safety and reduce collisions.

DISCUSSION

The following discussion will rely primarily on the traffic accident data gathered at the request of the City Council over the past few years. Some of this information has not been reviewed by the Traffic Committee, nor fully analyzed by staff for statistical validity. However, staff has drawn some generalized conclusions that the City Council may wish to consider as they decide the course of action for increased traffic enforcement.

Goals of a Citywide Traffic Control Program

Current Enforcement Levels

The City of RPV currently has two traffic officers that we share with the Cities of Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates. We receive 60% of the two traffic officer’s time. Our enforcement coverage occurs Monday through Friday 6am to 2pm. There is no coverage on the weekends, school dismissal times and during the evening commute hours. In addition to the two officers, we have access to one sheriff decoy car and one speed radar board, approximately 2-3 days a week. However, the City cannot utilize the decoy car and speed radar trailer at the same time. Recently the City has acquired additional enforcement tools including two speed monitoring and feedback signs, a speed and volume (Stealthstat) recording device and a second radar trailer.

Existing Enforcement Needs

Presently, there are 11 neighborhoods and 10 schools with identified traffic concerns and enforcement needs. These identified neighborhoods are displayed in Figure 1.

Figure 1 – Traffic Hot Spots

Collision Information

Collisions are a natural concern when it comes to traffic safety. Attachment A is a summary of total collisions in the City that have occurred over the last 5 years. In

summary, the City has experienced an average of 253 total collisions per year.


Attachment B is a summary of reported collisions for the past 2 years through July 2004. The City experienced 532 collisions in the past two years, of which 304 are listed in the summary table. The remaining 228 collisions that are not listed are collisions that have occurred either on; Western Avenue (77 collisions), which is under the jurisdiction of Caltrans, private property (50 collisions), or local residential streets (101 collisions) scattered throughout the city. The 101 collisions occurring on local residential street were not included in the summary table because the frequency of collisions, that is 1 collision in 2 years, is usual. A local residential street experiencing more than 1 collision is unusual and warrants attention. Longhill Drive and Toscanini Drive have experienced only 1 collision in the past two years but have been included in the summary table because they have been identified as having a need for traffic calming.

It can be seen that approximately 63% of injury/fatal collisions in the past two years occur on arterials and collectors and approximately 37% occur on local residential streets.

Attachment C is a graphical representation of the two-year collision summary. It shows the number of collisions relative to neighborhoods and specific streets. As seen on Attachment C, collisions are identified with a circle and a number. The number in the circle represents the number of collisions reported on that particular roadway. The size of the circle is representative of the number of collisions.

Accident Locations:

Of the 405 reported traffic accidents over the past two years (this figure does not include accidents on private property or accidents on Western Avenue) approximately 63% occur on arterial or collector streets and 37% in neighborhoods. As is typical in almost every city, the accidents increase as traffic volumes increase. Therefore, our highest numbers of accidents occur on 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 20% 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.

Number of Accidents

RPV has a better than average accident history for most categories when compared to 103 similar cities (those with similar populations).  For example, RPV ranks:

 24 out of 103 cities in fatal and injury accidents (better than 76 cities)
 18 out of 103 cities in speed related accidents (better than 82 cities)
 22 out of 103 cities in pedestrian related accidents (better than 78 cities)

The above comparisons were based on accidents per vehicle miles traveled and the information was compiled by the California Office of Traffic Safety. RPV has a better accident history than Arcadia, Azusa, Beverly Hills, Diamond Bar and Manhattan Beach.  It has a slightly worse history than Laguna Hills.  It is somewhat difficult to compare accident statistics since each city seems to have its own unique characteristics that affect traffic.

Accidents v. 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.

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. The information is broken down by shift (Early Morning [EM], Day [AM] and Night [PM]). The majority of a deputy’s time

(about 50%) is spent handling calls. The calls include responding to approximately 100 false alarms each month. About 30% of the deputy’s time is spent patrolling. The remaining time (about 20%) is spent with report writing, briefing, meals and travel time. A more detailed explanation of these activities and the use of time is attached.

Citation Rate

The Lomita Sheriff’s Department is reporting that, at best, an average of two tickets can be written in an hour during enforcement activities. During the week of September 6, 2004, a three-day test was conducted on six streets to document how many citations can be issued in an hour. Table 1 summarizes the test.

Table 1 – Citation Issue Test

Location

Date

Time

# Of Citations

Arterials

Hawthorne Blvd near Vallon Drive

9/9/04

8-9 AM

2

Palos Verdes Drive East (switchbacks)

9/9/04

2-3 PM

2

Residential

Ambergate Drive

9/10/04

8-9 AM

2

Via Rivera

9/10/04

5-6 PM

2

School Locations

Ridgecrest Middle School (Whitley Collins)

9/8/04

7:30-8:30 AM

0

Mira Catalina School (Lucania Drive)

9/8/04

2-3 PM

2

As seen in Table 1, citations were issued at 5 of the 6 locations and of the five locations, 2 citations were issued in one hour. More recently, the Lomita Station conducted additional tests to develop a reasonable expectation of how many citations a deputy could be expected to issue in a shift and determined that one citation per hour was more realistic than the number generated in the September 2004 test.

Table 2 summarizes our current hourly costs for traffic enforcement services:

Table 2 – Current Costs for Enforcement Services

Enforcement Service

Unit Cost

Yearly Hours

Hourly Cost

1 Deputy & Squad Car

$198,657

2,088

$95.14

I Deputy & Motorcycle

$190,306

1,778

$107.03

On average, the City pays approximately $107.03 per hour for traffic enforcement services. Similarly, the revenues we receive from issuing tickets are approximately $35 per ticket. To cover the current cost for our enforcement services, approximately 2.58 tickets an hour should be written.

FISCAL IMPACT

The annual impact on the City Operating Budget for adding one Growth Deputy under the Regional contract would be $84,000 for the first year and $119,194 for the second year (not adjusted by an inflator). These funds could be made available by utilizing General Fund Reserves (see attached Status of General Fund Reserves) or by reducing other programs in the approved budget by the amount required for the new traffic enforcement program.

CONCLUSION

Staff makes no recommendation for increased enforcement since the cost of any ongoing increased enforcement program cannot be sustained by current general fund revenues.

Respectfully submitted,

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachments: Matrix of Alternatives

Status of General Fund Reserves

Attachment A: Five Year History of Collisions

Attachment B: Detail of Collisions

Attachment C: Location of Collisions