M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
SEPTEMBER 21, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 7:08 p.m. by Mayor Gardiner at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Wolowicz, Stern, and Mayor Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Planning; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Traffic Engineer Jack Rydell; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Minutes Reporter Debra Presutti.
Sergeant Paul Creason of the Lomita Sheriffs Station led the Pledge of Allegiance.
James Hong and Richard Mattson were selected as recyclers of the month.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Agenda.
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.
Mayor Gardiner disagreed with postponing Item 10-A, saying it was on the agenda and people were present to speak on the matter. He remarked citywide traffic calming is an overall policy which affects all areas of the city, and delaying it suggested a breakdown of the problem into specific areas, saying it would be a mistake to address the matters piecemeal by discussing Mira Vista independently of the overarching questions of traffic calming throughout the city.
Councilman Stern said, while he appreciated the Mayor’s comments, he was persuaded by Councilman Long’s position that 10-A was a very significant budgetary matter which he did not view as a substitute answer for the Mira Vista situation. He indicated he would vote in favor of the motion, noting Council could devote all their attention to 10-A and still not do it justice given the magnitude of the item.
Mayor Gardiner requested a show of hands of those present to address Mira Vista, traffic calming only, or those present to address both items.
The hand count indicated a significant preponderance of citizens present for the Mira Vista matter.
Mayor Gardiner opined it sets a very dangerous precedent to determine public policy based on a hand count. He argued against the implication of budgetary issues being involved in the citywide traffic calming plan, saying there is considerable dispute as to what those budgetary issues are and it prejudges the discussion by basing it on a presumption about financial matters the Council has no opportunity to hear.
Councilman Long indicated his motion to amend the Agenda was made prior to any survey of the room and reiterated it will make a tremendous difference in his evaluation of TEAM RPV to discuss the five-year budget model and know whether the proposed Baca sales tax increase will pass. He indicated his motion to remove 10-A and delay it until after the November election will lessen the possibility that he would vote making certain assumptions only to learn afterwards those assumptions were wrong.
Councilman Stern agreed wholeheartedly and noted, if the Baca tax measure passes, the City will receive in excess of $2 million devoted for law enforcement activities.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark stated Council should attempt to address 10-A during this meeting or a subsequent one.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested discussing 10-B before 10-A.
Councilman Long queried, even if Council had the opportunity to address 10-A during the meeting, would they really want to discuss it and make a decision on it.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark remarked Councilman Long’s comment implied that addressing 10-A meant a decision would have to be made, saying many matters come before Council which take more than one meeting to decide.
Councilman Long stated that point was well taken and moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to place Item 10-A behind 10-B for purposes of discussion.
The motion carried without objection.
James Sweeney, Via Rivera resident, indicated in October 2001 the residents on Via Rivera voted unanimously for speed humps; the Traffic Committee recommended speed humps, and the residents were informed they would be installed in that neighborhood after Basswood; Nicole Jules recommended approval of speed humps for Via Rivera in her final report dated July 1, 2003. He described a March 31, 2004 article in the Daily Breeze reporting the results of a study in Oakland, California, which concluded that speed humps in residential neighborhoods and near schools, could significantly reduce the risk of injury or death to children. He expressed hope that Via Rivera would soon have speed humps as recommended in October 2001, saying it has been far too long.
JoAnne Michetti, Via Rivera resident, stated she has lived there since 1971, when her sons played safely throughout the neighborhood with no worry of speeding cars and noted the situation is very different for her grandchildren. She stated people ignore the 25-mile per hour signs and urged Council to seriously consider providing speed bumps for the safety of the children and other pedestrians.
Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated she would like to bring to Council’s attention the fact the citywide traffic calming study does not mention Barkentine Road or Palos Verdes Drive South, saying PV Drive South certainly has problems with speeders.
Russell Urban, Rancho Palos Verdes, said before living on Via Rivera he lived directly off Torrance Boulevard in Redondo Beach and noted he was shocked to find the traffic on Via Rivera in tranquil Palos Verdes to be much worse than it was in his old neighborhood. He urged Council to consider installing speed humps on Via Rivera.
Ron Anderson, Rancho Palos Verdes, Peacock Ridge Drive resident, expressed disagreement with a height variation for a two-story addition approved at Council’s previous meeting, saying he was surprised at the shortsightedness in the reasoning behind the approval as well as disappointed to learn the City has no proactive plan for two-story additions on small lots in the city. He requested Council and the Planning Commission consider the larger picture in their responsibility of planning for the city’s future. He explained there are 27 split-level homes within a half-mile of the applicant’s residence, which, without exception, are positioned with the taller portion on the higher end of the lot making the roofline flow with the slope of the road so the structures appear less tall and massive. He noted, in direct contrast, the design, which Council approved as compatible, does just the opposite saying, given the density of homes in the area, he was surprised such a striking difference was not considered. He remarked there are many older homes on small lots scattered throughout the city, which many owners will eventually want to upgrade and enlarge. Understanding that owners would rather build up than into their small backyards, he suggested the idea of basements as a viable option to consider for future planning purposes, saying they represent essentially the only option that adds no height or mass to existing homes. He concluded by urging Council to plan proactively for the renewal of the city’s neighborhoods.
Ashley Simmons, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated he lives on the corner of Grayslake and Mossbank and agreed with everything Mr. Anderson had to say. He indicated he was compelled by the View Restoration Committee to "adopt" a tree located on the easement between the sidewalk and street rather than have it cut down, saying it seems well accepted in his neighborhood that residents are expected to trim their trees or take whatever other steps necessary to preserve views in the area. He queried if the recent height variation Council approved will be setting a precedent of approving two-story houses on small lots within the city.
Barbara Dye, representing the PVP Land Conservancy, invited the community to attend the Mile-Long Picnic jointly sponsored by the City of RPV and the Land Conservancy at Abalone Cove on October 3 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. She stated the event will support efforts to preserve Portuguese Bend and the cost of $125 will provide a table for eight with live music and activities for children and adults. She encouraged people to gather some friends to put together a table and enjoy a wonderful Sunday afternoon on the bluffs overlooking the ocean.
In response to the comments of Mr. Anderson and Mr. Simmons, Mayor Pro Tem Clark advised the City is well aware the community is and will continue to be under renewal in relation to its housing, which is the primary reason there has been a strong focus on creating guidelines for neighborhood compatibility and subsequent changes to the City’s Code over the last couple years. He indicated there is a subcommittee in place to examine residential standards for lots, noting that does not mean every decision on height variation or view restoration is going to be agreeable to everyone.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
City Manager Evans informed Assembly Bill 2702, which will allow second units on single family residential property, is currently on the Governor’s desk and indicated there is still time for people interested in preventing this bill to contact the Governor’s office to request his veto.
City Manager Evans also indicated the City is seeking public input on its draft Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan, which is designed to assist in the identification and implementation of programs to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters before they occur. He advised Council will be conducting a public hearing on the draft plan on October 5 and encouraged interested parties to attend the meeting and provide testimony. He stated copies of the plan are available at City Hall, the Peninsula Center, the Miraleste Library, and on the City’s website on the News and Information page and residents can also call the City for additional information.
Councilman Wolowicz thanked City Manager Evans for bringing up the proposed AB 2702 issue, saying it not only deals with increasing the density of neighborhood populations but it removes control from local City Councils. He encouraged concerned residents to contact the Governor’s office, noting that phone calls, e-mails, faxes, and letters are all registered.
Councilman Stern echoed Councilman Wolowicz’s statement, adding the city’s residents need to be aware the bill must be vetoed or RPV could eventually be faced with a serious problem that Council will be unable to address.
Mayor Gardiner reminded the public that old City Council business can be found on the website at PalosVerdes.com/RPV.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
City Clerk Purcell informed that an audience member was present to address Item No. 3, the Geotechnical Board of Appeals matter.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended with the removal of Item No. 3.
The motion to approve the amended Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Long, Wolowicz, Stern, Gardiner
Motion to waive full reading.
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Approval of the minutes. (301)
Approved the minutes of April 20th Special Budget Meeting, April 20th Regular Meeting, August 3 Regular Meeting, August 17th Regular Meeting and August 17th Special Meeting.
2003-2004 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan. (701 x 1203)
Directed Staff to forward the City’s 2003-2004 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan to the State Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and to the Department of Housing and Community Development regarding the current status of the General Plan and the progress on its implementation during the 2003-2004 fiscal year.
Ridgecrest Rancho Recreation & Parks District: Appointment of Joyce Huppert. (106 x 1200)
Acknowledged the appointment of Joyce Huppert to serve on the Ridgecrest Rancho Recreation & Parks District Board of Directors for a term of office until December 2, 2005.
Resol. No. 2004-83:Biennial Update of the City’s Conflict of Interest Code. (1202)
(1) Received and filed the 2004 Local Agency Biennial Notice for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, the Rancho Palos Verdes Redevelopment Agency, and the Rancho Palos Verdes Improvement Authority indicating that the Conflict of Interest Code for these agencies needs to be amended; and, (2) ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-83, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING AN AMENDED CONFLICT OF INTEREST CODE CONTAINING REVISED DESIGNATED POSITIONS, DISCLOSURE CATEGORIES AND REPEALING RESOLUTION NO. 2002-82.
Resol. No. 2004-84:Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-84, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
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REMOVED FROM CONSENT CALENDAR:
Ordinance No. 412U: Geotechnical Board of Appeals. (201 x 1203)
Kavon Adli, on behalf of appellants Richard and Keanna Briles, spoke in reference to two issues: 1) the composition of the Geotechnical Board of Appeals; and, 2) the finality of the Planning Director’s decision regarding the composition of the three-member panel. With regard to the Board’s composition, he indicated the current proposal does not identify the persons who will constitute the Board and, as suggested by one or more Council members at the last meeting, believes the Board should include as many as seven members from which to select the three-panelists. He opined this or another solution is appropriate since the unavailability of even one of the five members will in many cases prevent an appeal from moving forward.
Mr. Adli stated the proposal indicates the Planning Director’s decision on the third member is final and cannot be appealed and noted, if the Planning Director is incorrect in this, the appellant may be compelled to either withdraw the appeal or pay for an appeal by a panel on which two of the three members are not properly qualified to decide. He said the composition of the panel is important enough that a right of appeal to the City Council should be provided for by the ordinance, adding, if this right is not provided, it is significantly more likely an incorrectly constituted panel may be called upon to make a critical decision regarding a safety or stability issue.
Mr. Adli also noted appellants or respondents who object to the Planning Director's decision are required to seek recourse through the courts, causing substantial delays. He stated a meaningful right of appeal before the City Council before convening the panel would render such litigation unnecessary in many cases.
Councilman Stern asked if Mr. Adli was of the opinion Council is in a better position to evaluate who the third panel member should be.
Mr. Adli answered he does not believe Council is in a better position to make the evaluation, but there should be some interlocutory procedure through which a decision that is incorrectly made could be challenged.
Councilman Wolowicz asked the City Attorney if she believes there is an inherent flaw in the structure of the proposal.
City Attorney Lynch responded she does not because staff will consult with the Planning Director in conjunction with the two panel members best positioned to provide advice about the appeal issues to decide whether an engineer, geologist, or geotechnical engineer should constitute the third member.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired if composing the panel of five or seven members might provide any additional benefit.
City Attorney Lynch indicated each appeal panel will be comprised of only three individuals and, if someone resigns or for some reason is unable to serve, staff would bring the matter before Council for appointment of additional members.
Mayor Gardiner requested clarification of the specialties, saying it is very important to provide the correct specialist for an appeal. He inquired how panelists from one discipline are qualified to select a third member from a field outside their areas of expertise.
City Attorney Lynch explained the third member would be either a geotechnical engineer or an engineering geologist and the two panel members from those disciplines would recommend which of those specialties the third member should be selected from.
Mayor Gardiner asked if Mr. Adli agreed that only two specialties would ever be involved on the panel.
Mr. Adli agreed with that aspect, explaining the dispute between the appellant and the respondent is relative to the appropriate composition of the panel because the appellant disputes the decision made by the geotechnical engineer which makes the composition of the Board very critical when a vote of two out of three is necessary to obtain a decision.
Recess and Reconvene:
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 7:48 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 7:51 p.m.
Ross Bolton, of Bolton Engineering, the civil engineer for Dr. Christopher Chidi, contended their belief was that the ordinance as amended was acceptable; saying a decision by a geologist, geotechnical engineer, and the City Planning Director on the third member for the appeal board is a reasonable way to proceed. He stated the people analyzing the matter are the appropriate ones to make a fair and equitable decision on the composition of the Board.
Councilman Stern suggested the City Attorney modify Section 2.40.070, which required the appellant to pay the estimated fee, to indicate the deposit may include additional payments since the appellant would bear the entire cost of the panel and, given the nature of this panel, supplemental payments may be required.
City Attorney Lynch proposed adding the following language to the end of 2.40.070a: "Appellant shall deposit such additional amounts to be held in trust following written notice from staff that additional funds are necessary to pay for the full cost of having the Board review the disputed decision."
Mayor Gardiner queried if the appellant was required to pay even if their case prevailed.
City Attorney Lynch responded the appellant paid regardless.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to ADOPT AS AMENDED URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 412U REGARDING THE GEOTECHNICAL BOARD OF APPEALS, AMENDING CHAPTER 2.40 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF; and (2) INTRODUCE AS AMENDED ORDINANCE NO. 413 REGARDING THE GEOTECHNICAL BOARD OF APPEALS, AMENDING CHAPTER 2.40 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Wolowicz, Long, Clark, Stern, Gardiner
Cox Cable Compliance Hearing. (605 x 1101)
Councilman Long recused himself and left the room.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to continue the matter to October 19, 2004.
Use of state funding for supplemental police services – CORE Police Team. (1206)
City Clerk Purcell announced that this was a public hearing on the use of supplemental State funds for supplemental police services, that notice of the public hearing had been duly published and that no written protests were received by the City.
Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing. There was no response to his call for public testimony. Without objection, he closed the public hearing.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the continued use of COPS (Citizen Option for Police Services) grant in FY 04-05 to partially fund the CORE Police Team. The motion carried.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Clark, to dispense with Council’s oral reports and continue them to the next meeting.
The motion passed without objection.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Citywide and neighborhood traffic issues:
Mira Vista Traffic Calming Plan. (1502 x 1204)
Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, that Council declare a reasonable time to adjourn or reach a decision on this matter, saying he does not believe cogent, lasting decisions are made after midnight. He suggested, if a decision was not reached by the close off point, the meeting be resumed the following night and suggested 11:00 p.m. as a sensible ending time.
Councilman Wolowicz stated he would second the motion if the cut-off time were changed to midnight.
Councilman Long indicated the rules currently in place state Council will cease business still being considered at midnight and continue it to the subsequent meeting, allowing people enough time to plan their attendance, saying one day’s notice is not adequate. He declared the rules are being suspended which can only be done by a two-thirds vote.
The motion failed 3:2 on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Gardiner
NOES: Long, Wolowicz, Stern
City Manager Evans advised that Captain Jay Zuanich and Sergeant Paul Creason, of the Lomita Sheriff’s Station, and the City’s Traffic Engineer, Jack Rydell were available to answer questions.
Director Allison conducted a lengthy PowerPoint presentation of the staff report on the Mira Vista Traffic Calming Plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark inquired why, considering that the pilot study on Via Rivera was unsuccessful, staff was proposing a focused enforcement program as a component of Step 1.
Director Allison replied the proposed traffic-calming program would employ a multi-step and coordinated approach, which were not available in the previous trials.
Councilman Long requested a breakdown of the $20,000 enforcement cost for Via Rivera.
Director Allison responded the cost for engineering, rental of speed feedback signs was $12,000, and enforcement was $8,000.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark queried why staff was not considering speed cushions or other varieties of speed humps, saying speed cushions were recently installed in Oceanside and Palm Springs the rationale being they were easier to install and could be removed if there came a time they were no longer needed.
Director Allison explained that staff’s experience with the speed humps on Basswood has been very positive, that they have gone through a cycle of road maintenance, have been slurried over, and that they created no problems for street sweepers. He indicated the speed cushions at Forrestal are very different from the speed humps on Basswood because they have slots to allow access by the fire department; they are rubberized, screwing into the ground rather than being paved in which makes them far more expensive as well as time consuming and difficult to install; and, that they are aesthetically less desirable.
Councilman Wolowicz requested clarification between speed bumps and speed humps.
Director Allison informed speed bumps are narrow and are typically used in parking lots; speed humps are lower, wider and are designed to be imperceptible if a car is driven at the speed limit.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark inquired how much coverage the proposed targeted enforcement would provide.
Director Allison answered officers would be deployed at different times, two hours a day on weekdays for three months, enhanced by continuous use of a radar trailer, decoy car, and feedback signs moved around to different locations within the neighborhood.
Councilman Stern asked if multi-jurisdictional discussions have taken place regarding coordination of traffic signals on Western and, if so, what the probability is of that occurring and in what period.
Mr. Rydell indicated the signal synchronization program was currently being designed by L.A. County Public Works in conjunction with Caltrans and they expect to have it operational by June 2005. He said staff would be working with them to coordinate intersections and facilitate good traffic flow on Western Avenue.
Councilman Stern queried why synchronization had not been previously addressed since the problem has existed for quite some time.
Director Allison replied funds for the program recently become available through a grant from MTA.
Councilman Wolowicz requested a response to a rumor that left-hand turn closures are planned on 1st Street and Miraleste.
Director Allison assured the rumor is absolutely, positively unfounded.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if it would be possible to interweave education into Step 1 as one of the Three E’s suggested in the report prepared by the City’s consultants.
Mr. Rydell indicated staff has been developing a citywide education program, which would include neighborhood signs and informational brochures, as well as working in conjunction with schools and other community organizations to disseminate information.
Mayor Gardiner expressed concern about the plan to divert 5,000 trips from the area, saying he wondered where that traffic would go. He speculated perhaps1st or 9th streets in which case, even though those streets are actually in a sister city’s jurisdiction, cueing theory models should be developed to help determine the necessity of reengineering the area and creating more left-hand turn lanes to handle the increased traffic. He remarked if the goal was to reduce average traffic speeds from 31 to 30 mph on Enrose, for instance, five speed humps would be installed to provide a one-mile per hour improvement, saying that he did not understand that rationale. He observed if speed humps are installed on Enrose, Trudie, and General, people now living on calm streets are going to find increased traffic on their streets which would most likely need to be rerouted again. He opined properly executed enforcement is a far better option than the traffic dislocations which he fears will occur for a speed reduction of one or two miles an hour.
Mayor Gardiner also noted the fire department’s general policy is they do not recommend speed humps and have many rules regarding their installation, saying he is curious if the proposed speed hump arrays have been designed in accordance with their guidelines. He cited a study on speed humps from Boulder, Colorado, which concluded ten people, would die from delayed responses for each fatality prevented by traffic calming in the form of speed humps, indicating as a policy maker he must take these things into consideration. He remarked he would rather not approve a pattern for A which causes a problem for B, then fixing B causes a problem for C, and so on an so forth which is why he prefers a strong, directed program of enforcement.
Councilman Stern opined enforcement would create the same spillover effect by causing drivers to avoid particular areas, noting the result is essentially the same whichever technique is employed.
Mayor Gardiner indicated that in his experience, enforcement has worked and stated he does not regard the pilot test in Via Rivera as a fair assessment since Council never received reports nor had the opportunity to make midcourse corrections during its implementation.
Councilman Wolowicz advised the program’s intent is to place the spillover traffic onto arterials that are better able to accommodate it than residential streets.
Mayor Gardiner said he understood the concept but his concern remained where the traffic will be placed, saying it is reasonable to have that information to determine whether the streets it will be diverted onto can adequately carry it.
Councilman Long remarked the $1,500 per hour per weekday enforcement cost weighs heavily in his view of things.
Mayor Gardiner agreed but indicated there is a large discrepancy in the numbers in the report and requested clarification.
Captain Zuanich explained the cost per year for a deputy sheriff is $187,000, which works out to $90 an hour. He indicated the other figure is the overtime rate that is used when a deputy is not hired for the full year’s term.
Recess and Reconvene:
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:56 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 9:15 p.m.
Assistant Chief Tom Glonchak, of L.A. County Fire Division One, remarked the L.A. County Fire Department’s policy has been to discourage the use of speed humps and bumps because of their negative impact on emergency response times, the risk of injury to personnel traveling over them, and the possibility of causing mechanical damage to vehicles, prematurely ending their service life and increasing costs to the people they provide service to. He stated diverters are also a problem because fire engines, because of their size and turning radius, are unable to respond down virtually any street with a diverter. He indicated the L.A. County Public Works Department has conducted extensive studies on various traffic calming measures and suggested the City’s Public Works Department contact them to obtain further information. He advised notifying the local fire departments what is going to be constructed where once those decisions have been made.
In response to Mayor Gardiner’s mention of the Boulder, Colorado study, Assistant Chief Glonchak noted another extensive study on speed humps and bumps conducted by the University of Texas concluded they cause responding vehicles to slow down their response times between three to five seconds per bump, cutting response times significantly in critical life-threatening situations. He indicated responding vehicles generally come from multiple directions and are not always able to choose one area or direction in order to avoid traffic calming devices.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark thanked the Chief for his input, agreeing it certainly needs to be measured in making these decisions. He inquired if he is familiar with the speed cushions with slots for emergency vehicles installed in cities like Palm Springs and Oceanside that have received endorsement from the San Diego County fire departments.
Assistant Chief Glonchak replied he has not had personal experience with them. He explained the L.A. Public Works Department has analyzed them and determined most speed cushions have a breadth of about seven feet which allows larger emergency vehicles such as ladder and pumper trucks to straddle them; however, approximately 75 percent of calls are for EMS services and those vehicles as well as ambulances have a smaller wheel span and are therefore forced to slow down and stop for each speed bump, hump, or cushion.
Councilman Long inquired if he could provide specific information on response times relative to the speed humps in Basswood or similar areas.
Assistant Chief Glonchak indicated that area is slightly out of his realm, adding he will obtain that information and provide it to the City.
Councilman Wolowicz, indicating he understood the Department’s official position in this regard, commented there are areas within Los Angeles County where speed humps have been installed and inquired if City staff might work with their design engineers to devise something that would be acceptable to everyone.
Assistant Chief Glonchak remarked there have been installations in several areas, saying L.A. County Public Works has assisted several entities to devise a common ground approach. He recommended installing speed humps rather than bumps, which are a much more severe traffic calming, measure and are strongly discouraged.
Ava Shepherd, Chair of the Traffic Committee, stated she would defer many of her own comments since so many audience members came to speak and indicated education should be considered a key element of the program and an integral part of enforcement.
Councilman Stern thanked Ms. Shepherd and the entire Traffic Committee for the excellent job they have done on a Herculean task.
Bill Schurmer, member of the Traffic Committee, stated enforcement must be ongoing and noted the crucial difference between the enforcement on Via Rivera and what is being proposed for Mira Vista is Via Rivera had no real plan in place whereas Mr. Rydell has developed a strategic and continuous enforcement program which can succeed. He pointed out the speed boards and radar trailers used in conjunction with the officers is designed to produce the desired speed reductions whether or not there is actual police presence.
Mr. Schurmer also stated they worked with the fire department to install the speed cushions on Forrestal and the result was the pumper trucks were able to go through the area at 27 miles an hour without slowing down. He indicated the one drawback was they were extremely difficult to install. He recommended working with the fire department to come up with a product that will be satisfactory to all.
Mark Wells, Trudie Drive resident, supported the Mira Vista traffic-calming plan, saying slower speeds mean safer streets. He urged Council’s support of the plan and indicated everyone’s safety is more important than anyone’s slight inconvenience.
Susan Addleman, General Street resident, informed that motorists are constantly speeding down the street and running the stop sign on their block. She urged Council approve the traffic-calming plan as quickly as possible.
Martin Addleman, stated he trusts Council will find a way to make motorists obey the law, design speed bumps to accommodate emergency vehicles, and recognize the overarching issue is safety rather than convenience, adding he has faith they will make the right decision.
Carol McKinniss, representing the Miraleste Hills Homeowners Association, stated they are in favor of safe streets and the slowing of traffic but they are opposed to the four-step plan. She indicated the residents in Miraleste and the surrounding areas have very limited access in and out of the area and are very worried about any loss or limitation of those routes. She opined enforcement is a fair and equitable way to slow traffic because offenders are punished and access to public streets remains open to everyone. She remarked she attended a Traffic Committee meeting where Mr. Rydell indicated the second step of the plan would be to install no left-turn signs on Miraleste and 1st streets and urged Council to consider the residents on the east side of RPV and achieve safer streets by looking more seriously at enforcement and not shutting down access routes.
In response to a question by Councilman Stern to Ms. McKinniss, Mayor Gardiner directed Council members not to ask questions, saying time would not permit given the number of speakers.
Councilman Stern appealed the Mayor’s ruling to the Council, and argued that it was not the proper way to run a meeting since Council members were attempting to gather information to help them make important decisions.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired if that also applied to questions of staff.
Mayor Gardiner indicated questions of staff would be fine but, if questions were directed to every speaker, the business of the meeting would not be accomplished.
The Mayor’s ruling was upheld 3:2 on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Wolowicz, Gardiner
NOES: Long, Stern
Councilman Long pointed out Council members are normally allowed to ask questions and opined that the Mayor was essentially suspending the governing rules. He stated that he believed that suspending the rules required a 2/3 majority vote.
City Attorney Lynch indicated on Page 8 of the Rules of Procedure it said at paragraph 6.12F, "The City Council may limit public input on any item based on the number of people requesting to speak, length of agenda, or the business of the Council," saying she interprets the phrase "may limit" to mean by majority vote of Council. She further mentioned on Page 13 under 10.1 Suspension of the Rules it says, "The rules may be suspended by a majority vote of the Council," and indicated the Mayor's ruling stands.
Councilman Stern requested a response from staff to Ms. McKinniss’s comment about loss of access.
Director Allison explained the goal of the program was to design an approach that did not restrict access to anyone but merely required them to follow the posted speed limit.
Councilman Wolowicz requested clarification of the speaker’s comment regarding closure of left-hand turns onto or from 1st, saying he wanted to make certain there was a clear understanding there is no plan to put left-hand turn restrictions anywhere in that area.
Mr. Rydell answered they have stated repeatedly that access is not being prohibited from anywhere.
Pat Vilicich, Miraleste Drive resident, thanked the fire department and especially Fire Station 83 for their assistance when her husband suffered a major heart attack, noting their quick response time made a big difference in his life. She said when she and her husband chose to live on Miraleste in 1961 they were aware of the traffic but there were also far fewer homes on the east side of the hill in those days. She indicated, although she understands the problem, she opposes the four-step plan. She asked how the City could deal with a portion of the problem without recognizing how it will affect other neighborhoods, saying she cannot fathom why Mira Vista is more important than any other part of the city.
Paul Hansen, Crestwood Street resident, introduced himself as a licensed professional civil engineer with experience in community master planning in design and construction of street and traffic improvements. He opined the proposed traffic calming recommendation is fundamentally flawed because it will pose undue safety concerns to the residents of Crestwood, decreasing their mobility by significantly increasing the traffic flow there. He suggested while General and Trudie currently meet the criteria for average traffic volume and speeds, when the speed hump portion of the plan is implemented, traffic will most likely follow the path of least resistance, effectively being shifted onto Crestwood thereby creating safety impacts and decreased livability to those residents in direct contrast to the goals of the plan. He stated he had not seen anything in the report predicting what the average traffic on Crestwood will be if the plan is implemented and views that as a gross oversight in the planning process.
Mr. Rydell reminded that the program is a four-step plan with Steps 3 and 4 designed to protect the interior streets if necessary.
Pat Kelsey, Miraleste resident, indicated she was raised on General Street so has an interest in both areas, noting her primary concern is cut-through traffic resulting from vehicles being diverted from one area to another. She opined the plan as designed is not going to produce the desired result until the issue of traffic flow on Western Avenue is addressed.
Paul Matthews, Avenida Corona resident, presented himself as an individual living in an area with limited access to Western Avenue, saying the Traffic Committee is not considering people living in this area who need to access the area from Crestwood north to Albertson’s. He stated he is in favor of the traffic calming effort, including speed humps, and implored Council not to deny access to his primary shopping area without making some other convenient arrangement. He suggested the City consider creating an additional roadway in the canyon running from Miraleste to Western just north of first, saying this could be an ideal extra route to Western without forcing motorists through the Mira Vista area.
Councilman Wolowicz again asked for staff’s reassurance there is no plan to limit access to these streets.
Mr. Rydell reiterated there would be no blocking of access.
Stephen Jones, Trudie Drive resident, voiced support of the traffic-calming plan, saying the tract on Trudie was built about 60 years ago with small homes, small driveways, and single-car garages on a narrow street. He stated, although many of the homes have been remodeled, most still have one-car garages, noting original owners are moving out and being replaced by families resulting in more cars being parked on both sides of an already narrow street. He indicated Trudie Drive was obviously not designed to handle the current volume and size of cars, saying vehicles constantly speed down the street often with rude and inconsiderate drivers behind the wheel. He noted there have been several near misses of pedestrians and his beloved dog, an incorrigible escape artist, was killed right in front of him and the driver never even bothered to stop. He opined that with more young children in the neighborhood, it is only a matter of time before something horrible happens to one of them.
Nancy Budar, Jaybrook resident, concurred with Mr. Jones’s comments and reiterated his point about small driveways and single-car garages. She indicated she recently took some measurements and determined the width of her street leaves only two to three feet on either side of a traveling vehicle when cars are parked directly across from one another. She stated she agreed with speed humps and requested Council consider installing them on Jaybrook in the future if traffic winds up being diverting down that street.
Teri Yamada, Trudie Drive resident, stated she was appalled at the increased traffic speed in her neighborhood, indicating the near accidents as she attempts to back out of her driveway are too numerous to list. She said she strongly supported the proposed multi-way stop control at the intersection of Trudie and Highmore Avenue that will slow traffic along that stretch of roadway.
Dan Wanger, Mira Vista resident, related the first day he moved to the area five years ago, saying one of his friends was nearly stuck as he crossed the street by a vehicle speeding around the corner and, if that was not unsettling enough, he awoke the following morning to discover the car he left parked on the street had been sideswiped. He indicated he and his wife are afraid to allow their children to walk outside, saying it is dangerous for adults since some sections of the street have no sidewalks. He voiced concern over the developments at DiCarlo Bakery, Office Depot, and the Marymount dorms on Western and requested Council consider entrance treatments on Trudie, General, and Via Colinita, saying they have been proved to reduce new traffic entering into an area and will help deal with the increased traffic these developments will surely produce. He urged approval of the traffic plan with immediate implementation of the speed humps.
Kristine Denton, Rancho Palos Verdes, requested Council specifically pass items 1, 2, 4, 7, and 8 in Step 1 as well as Step 2 of the Traffic Calming Plan, using the $9,000 set aside for enforcement to install entrance treatments in the neighborhood, saying they have already tried both education and enforcement and neither has been effective. She also requested installing speed humps rather than cushions, noting the cushions are louder and more expensive.
R.J. Figler, resident at the northwest corner of Elberon and Bayend, remarked he has noticed a considerable increase in the amount of traffic down Elberon, saying Council’s proposal to put a diverter at Elberon and Bayend would essentially make Elberon a one-way street which he and many of his neighbors are opposed to, preferring the installation of speed humps instead. He opined speed humps would be a far more effective mechanism for slowing traffic than a diverter.
Lynn Testa, Upland Street resident, indicated she previously lived on Basswood and believes the Mira Vista issues are very similar: too many cars traveling way too fast. She urged implementation of the Traffic Calming Plan, beginning with the speed humps, and suggested Council consider entrance treatments to eliminate new traffic in Mira Vista.
David Yu, MacArthur Street resident, thanked Council for taking the initiative to address the traffic problem in the area, saying he appreciates the hard work many people have devoted to this plan. He opined, in spite of the progress that has been made, he believes it is premature for Council to vote on the plan: He said, although it responds well to the initial traffic calming requests by residents on General, Trudie, and Enrose, it will inadvertently divert traffic elsewhere in the neighborhood, greatly increasing the vehicle counts on streets such as Summerland and MacArthur in contrast to the general mandate of a comprehensive plan for the entire Mira Vista community. He remarked the plan does not effectively address the issue of cut-through traffic, providing no direct solution to this potential problem other than hoping a general traffic slow down in the area will discourage it. He suggested a possible resolution would be a short one-way street southbound on Enrose between General and Via Colinita, which would reduce the volume and speed in the neighborhood. He urged Council to table voting on the current plan to allow consideration of more thoroughly developed improvements.
Samuel Tennant, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated California law restricts speeds in school zones to 25 miles an hour when children are present. He opined the proposed 24/7 15 mph speed zone around the Crestwood Elementary School is a punitive measure since school is only in session approximately 15 percent of the time. He indicated, if the reason is to address safety concerns, he would be interested to know which other schools in RPV have that same speed limitation, noting there are many children on the sidewalk at the intermediate school on PV Drive East before and after school and there is a 25 mph when children are present zone in place at that location. He urged Council be rational and return to the California standard.
Councilman Wolowicz queried if the proposed 15-mile an hour zone would be 24/7 or when children are present.
Director Allison indicated his presentation was unclear and stated the proposal is for when children are present not 24/7.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark queried if there are currently other 15 mph speed zones around schools in the city.
Mr. Rydell responded not in RPV, explaining the California Vehicle Code mandates that 15 or 20 mph speed limits may be established around schools based on volumes and speeds. He indicated fairly high speeds and volumes create an increased conflict between pedestrians and vehicles and the 15 mph zone is a tool to help control this.
Scott Kebschull, Rancho Palos Verdes, introduced himself as a cut-through person stated "traffic calming" is a euphemism and a more accurate term would be traffic enragement or traffic frustration. He opined that speed humps make roads less safe and can actually encourage increased speeds because they are more comfortable to traverse at very high speeds; they cause vehicles to constantly slow and accelerate, increasing noise, using more fuel, and creating more air pollution and other problems; they are dangerous for cyclists who have very little suspension; they are unfair to small and sports car drivers because they are much more comfortable for drivers of oversized vehicles and SUV’s. He remarked he has seen no studies addressing the costs that will be passed on to motorists for suspension wear and tear, increased fuel usage, et cetera, if speed humps are installed. He urged Council to reject these measures, stating traffic enforcement is the best way to achieve the desired goals.
Barbara Zuliani, Rancho Palos Verdes, said she disagrees with the plan and worries about plans to restrict or prohibit turns onto 1st Street.
Mr. Rydell indicated the City of Los Angeles not RPV has the authority to make any restrictions on 1st Street. He explained because they are a neighboring jurisdiction RPV maintains an open dialogue with them, saying they have seen the proposed traffic calming measures and have voiced no opposition. He remarked there is no plan, scheme, or conspiracy to close roads or access in the future.
Candy Rice, Rancho Palos Verdes, said she moved to RPV because of its beauty and does not favor speed humps because, for one thing, they are not very attractive. She expressed concern on the impact they might pose to the city’s elderly residents, saying, at the very least, they will find them extremely uncomfortable to drive over. She indicated radar trailers and other forms of enforcement seem to be a much better option for encouraging people to slow down and urged Council to find a way to solve the problem that will make everyone happy.
Dawn Henry, read a letter written by her father-in-law, Raul Henry, Sr., a MacArthur street resident, who indicated the proposed speed hump placement will cause traffic to flow to the path of least resistance, encouraging motorists to travel down quiet streets like his that do not have them. He questioned what right anyone has to divert traffic from their streets onto surrounding streets, saying he cannot believe this plan has been approved by the Traffic Committee and is now before Council for a vote. He requested Council consider enforcement or some other measure, noting the plan supposedly represents Mira Vista but only addresses three of the approximately 14 streets in the community. He agreed speeding is a problem that needs to be addressed but urged Council not to solve it at the expense of other residents on surrounding streets.
Steven LaPine, Enrose resident, President, and founder of the Mira Vista Homeowners Association, indicated there are approximately 600 homes in their tract that encompasses the area from Jaybrook to Summerland and from Enrose to just above Western. He requested Council consider providing entrance treatments along with the proposed speed humps, indicating they are in widespread use as traffic calming devices and would benefit the entire neighborhood because they will slow traffic, reduce new cut-through traffic, and advertise to motorists entering the area to prepare for the speed calming measures in place. He reminded the plan would be implemented incrementally, keeping it flexible by measuring the success of each step before moving to the next and ascertaining that undesired effects such as material traffic increases on surrounding quiet street will be mitigated. He advised the plan does not restrict access into or from Via Colinita but was devised to keep entrances open. He stated, although enforcement is an option, it has been attempted before and he does not believe it is a solution to the traffic-calming problem.
Recess and Reconvene:
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 10:59 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 11:04 p.m.
Don Shults, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated going through this with Mira Vista brings back old memories of Basswood, remembering the first attempt at traffic calming was enforcement and, when it was determined that was not producing the desired effect, speed humps were installed. He indicated they appear to be working, traffic has not been diverted to neighboring streets and people are not complaining about their cars being damaged because they are driving the speed limit. He remarked the residents in Mira Vista have a problem, but no matter what solution is arrived at, the situation will not improve because it basically comes down to cars and the fact the roads in RPV were not built to accommodate their increasing number. He said enforcement will work for a while, but education must happen because people need to understand all the streets in the city belong to everyone and since there is only so much room on the roads and so many ways to get to Western or the freeway or wherever people need to learn to slow down and exercise courtesy and patience.
Holly Cain, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated she hopes Council’s intent is to approve or disapprove only Step 1 rather than the entire program. She commented the 15 mph speed limit around Crestwood School seemed unreasonable so she took a survey of the schools within the city. She congratulated the City for its excellent job with signage, saying schools located on major streets have posted 25 mph signs that are very noticeably a different color, shape, and size than the other 25 mph signs and the schools in residential areas, with no specific signs for the schools, are in areas already posted as 25 mph zones. She said she believes an L.A. Unified school that happens to be in RPV because of annexation should not receive a 15 mph designation when 25 mph is deemed good enough for the city’s other schools and students, remarking RPV should post speeds in accordance with the reasonable 25 mph defined in the California State Code.
Ms. Cain commented to the President of the Mira Vista Homeowners Association that to her knowledge it is the custom in RPV that each homeowners association pays for construction and maintenance of their own entrance treatments.
Councilman Long inquired if the City has paid for any entrance treatments.
Director Allison answered money has been granted through the Beautification Grant, but he is not aware of any entry treatments the City has built.
Councilman Long queried if any of the other schools identified as being in residential neighborhoods is being considered for 15 mph speed limits.
Mr. Rydell indicated staff would be examining these schools to determine if it would be appropriate, saying the 15 mph speed limit is a tool to be used selectively and the City may choose to consider its use for other schools.
Jay Hatson, Trudie Drive resident, advocated approval of the plan, and suggested another method to consider is the possibility of turning Trudie and General into one way streets, saying it would make the streets safer, they would be able to accommodate emergency vehicles, and it would help synchronize the traffic onto Western.
Ken Guardado, Noble View Drive resident, introduced himself as an L.A. City fireman and requested Council table the motion for further discussion and impact studies, saying he does not believe emergency vehicle accessibility has been given enough consideration. He indicated while he is not totally opposed to the plan, it will increase response times thereby decreasing survival chances for heart related and certain other emergencies, reminding there are still many elderly people in the area. He advised response time is very crucial and explained responding to a heart related emergency in less than five minutes provides roughly a 60 to 80 percent survival rate with a decrease by half for each minute thereafter. He also predicted people wishing to avoid speed humps are going to travel those streets without them, bypassing the speed reduction measures being implemented. He asked for further study in relation to impacts on the interior streets as well as input from the fire and police departments before any action is taken.
Ali Sanjabi, expressed concern about the proposed plan and questioned, if the City has been unable to enforce the 25 mph speed limit, how they expect to enforce 15 mph. Realizing it is outside the City’s jurisdiction, he indicated he has heard nothing mentioned proposing to address traffic on first or 9th streets, saying traffic is obviously a concern to RPV’s neighbor San Pedro and 1st is already a bad street with many nasty accidents occurring at the intersection of 1st and Western. He urged Council to seriously consider the impact the proposed plan could have on emergency responses.
Jim Jones, member of the Traffic Committee, explained they considered 48 separate topics related to this very difficult question and illustrated some of the subjects on a single page entitled "Problems and Their Causes," were inadequate uphill and downhill access routes, increased number of vehicles on the road, growing disregard for the law and neighbors, high speeds, and the presence of an elementary school, just to name a few. In response to concerns raised about emergency vehicles, he indicated at the most they would be forced to traverse three, perhaps four speed humps on any given street, adding the neighborhood is already constructed in a fashion that essentially does not permit them to travel faster than 35 and they may have to slow to 25 to compensate for the humps. He remarked the Traffic Committee did consider this a tremendous obstacle in light of all the other elements of the problem.
Speaking on behalf the entire Committee, Mr. Jones indicated there was no pressure to arrive at this plan, saying it was a very independent decision. He advised the likely outcome of the four-step process will be to initiate one step at a time and, if people give up their perceived right to speed, the problem will be solved immediately and the subsequent steps will be unnecessary. He concluded by saying after listening to this issue in meeting after meeting it became a personal question for him and the other Traffic Committee members if they could do nothing, and the answer was no; he urged Council not to do nothing.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark queried how staff determined the particular configuration of speed humps being proposed.
Mr. Rydell explained their locations were determined by the physical characteristics of the roadway and how they would fit into a particular neighborhood, saying their goal was to devise a layout that would be appropriate from an engineering perspective and would also accomplish the proper spacing to effectuate the desired speed reduction, adding they also need to be placed on streets with an appropriate grade and distance. He stated traffic patterns and access in either direction between Miraleste and Western was also considered to ensure motorists would go over the speed humps or through other existing traffic control devices rather than avoid them.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark questioned why only two speed humps positioned halfway down the street were being proposed on Trudie.
Mr. Rydell indicated a multi-way stop control already existed at the corner of Homeworth and Trudie and the speed humps were positioned at the lower end of the street because the grade above is too sharp for them to be safely placed there.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark asked if the steepness of the road would not inherently increase the likelihood of speeding.
Mr. Rydell replied, yes, but there are safety concerns associated with placing speed humps on a sharp grade and staff needed to ascertain that they are placed in accordance with the Institute of Transportation Engineering Guidelines.
Councilman Wolowicz, noting a large amount of correspondence had been received regarding placing speed humps on Jaybrook and Homeworth, questioned why staff did not consider them appropriate there.
Mr. Rydell responded Jaybrook is a very narrow and winding street that is out of the way and does not get any bypass traffic, saying professionally they do not believe that will change because of this program. He indicated, if Step 2 is approved, they would identify if that becomes a problem and address it.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark queried why so many speed humps were proposed for Enrose.
Mr. Rydell explained Enrose was considered as a complete entity, saying staff wanted to make certain people could get through the neighborhood but also would be required to slow down.
Mayor Gardiner stated he was unsure how a speed hump on Enrose prevented motorists from traveling down Crestwood and asked how the City intended to respond to people who bought houses on calm streets and now would be faced with traffic being rerouted onto their streets in response to the speed humps.
Mr. Rydell indicated staff did not necessarily believe the traffic would be rerouted, adding there were appropriate tools to deal with that issue should it occur.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark asked if the presumption is that rather than go through this maze, motorists would avoid Mira Vista altogether and use 1st or 9th streets.
Mr. Rydell replied staff is attempting to make it more time consuming to travel through the Mira Vista neighborhood, saying the project anticipates improving traffic flow on Western, thereby encouraging motorists to utilize the arterials because they will become just as fast to travel on.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark, following on the Mayor’s point, indicated it seemed logical to assume that if this program is successful but diverts traffic to streets such as Crestwood and MacArthur which have steeper grades, speeding cars will be essentially rerouted to those streets.
Mr. Rydell informed staff has already identified potential solutions to address that situation in Steps 3 and 4, reiterating it is still was not clear if and where traffic would be diverted.
Councilman Stern illustrated several possible route choices through the neighborhoods once the speed humps are positioned and stated, considering the way the program has been designed, it seems illogical to him why people believe this proposal would cause any meaningful shift in traffic patterns.
Mr. Rydell indicated the program was designed to position the humps in a pattern making it no more desirable for motorists to use alternate routes within the neighborhood because they would still encounter speed humps, adding the routes they currently use would be available, but they must abide by the speed limit.
Councilman Stern opined the speed humps on Enrose are integral to preventing unwanted spillover, saying they are not necessarily to address speeding on Enrose as much as they are to prevent motorists from using a circuitous route to avoid the speed humps.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if staff could assure the plan is volume neutral with respect to current traffic distribution throughout the Mira Visa neighborhood.
Mr. Rydell stated there is no way that can be guaranteed.
Mayor Gardiner observed there was much speculation in the plan combined with some very important questions that remained unanswered and emphatically stated he opposed any policy that would benefit one set of neighbors at the expense of another.
Councilman Long remarked there was obviously no way to guarantee that any plan would be volume neutral, saying experience will be gained from what actually takes place once the program is implemented. He opined that motorists will not be concerned whether the speed limit is enforced by speed humps or enforcement unless they realize that one method is proved to be ineffective and will allow them to continue speeding. He agreed with Councilman Stern’s contention there is no logical basis for the plan to create spillover but noted it can be dealt with if it happens. He stated a solution is needed that focuses on recognizing that local streets are minor networks whose basic function is to provide access to dwellings and design public access into residential areas to control non local traffic, noting this did not mean denying access but taking serious steps to prevent a residential area from being a first choice for cut-through traffic. He reiterated access through the area would still be available for motorists willing to abide by the speed limit.
Councilman Long indicated he did not consider the proposed enforcement in Step 1 to be cost-effective or worthwhile for this neighborhood at this time.
Councilman Wolowicz stated the Mayor’s point about studies being needed to provide some assurance on the potential traffic displacement was spoken eloquently and passionately, noting his belief is no less fervent that there is a serious traffic problem in this neighborhood that is apparent to the casual visitor and Council owes it to those residents to take action. He noted Mr. Jones stated it correctly, saying he was not satisfied with doing nothing. He remarked the Traffic Committee had presented a plan they admit is not perfect, but it is a starting point and the fact that it was presented in serial fashion provided an opportunity to obtain results from the elements in Step 1 that would answer many of the questions posed during the discussion. He remarked Step 1 contained eight good recommendations and that Steps 2, 3, and 4 were each predicated on the failure of the previous step and may never be needed.
Councilman Wolowicz queried if Mr. Rydell and Director Allison would make any changes to Step 1 based on the testimony and comments received.
Mr. Rydell indicated they believe Step 1 is a very good approach and clarified the proposed enforcement is different from what had taken place in the past because it would be carefully scheduled to be regular and ongoing but also irregular in the sense it would not occur at the same place, time, and day of the week and would be coordinated with the radar trailer.
Mayor Gardiner supported Councilman Wolowicz’s statement about Step 1, adding he believed enforcement was volume neutral and should not displace traffic from one set of streets to another and should be given a fair test with a well thought out and effective plan of implementation. He indicated he did not believe the recommended two hours of enforcement is enough and that he would favor doubling the amount to provide a better test of effectiveness.
Councilman Long said he had a logical gap understanding the Mayor’s comment, noting, if it was true the speed humps would be imperceptible to motorists traveling the speed limit and if enforcement worked, both would have the same effect; so the only thing causing either to divert traffic volume would be the ability to go more quickly elsewhere.
Mayor Gardiner disagreed, explaining speed humps are fixed but enforcement moves randomly from street to street, which is quite different from having a recognized fixed pattern of humps.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark remarked enforcement is a problem in his view, saying if it was continuous, that would be great but two hours is not enough to have any meaningful impact. He stated the ultimate solution in terms of enforcement is technology, specifically radar cameras, and if the City had the statutory ability to place these into neighborhoods, the problem would be solved immediately. He expressed hope the law on this might change in the next few years, saying as a member of the League of California Cities he will strongly advocate for the ability of local governments to utilize this type of enforcement.
Councilman Wolowicz requested clarification of the petition process if Council decides to adopt Step 1 and initiate Step 2 of the program.
Director Allison indicated if Council decided to initiate the speed hump portion of the program, a process will begin working with residents to circulate petitions throughout the neighborhoods, saying this should take approximately 90 days coupled with the engineering plans being finalized and returned to Council for funding which could take an additional three months.
Councilman Stern, remarking the primary argument against the plan has been the issue of access, stated, while he appreciated the convenience aspect, he saw no impediment to lawful access because the speed humps were designed to allow the flow of traffic at the speed limit. In terms of spillover, he opined that the plan is well thought out to perform as reasonably as possible to prevent shifting traffic within this area from one street to another.
He agreed with Councilman Long, if the enforcement and speed hump programs are each designed to achieve the same result, it is illogical to presume one would encourage people to avoid an area and the other would not. He indicated he did not believe enforcement would obtain the desired result and agreed with the Mayor that two hours a day would not do much good, adding the fiscal aspects of enforcement become unacceptable given the fact speed humps will achieve the desired result for a comparatively small one-time cost.
Councilman Stern stated he was reasonably convinced that Step 2 should be included at this point because it provided a long-term solution, obtaining adherence to a reasonable speed limit throughout the community without eliminating anyone’s access.
Councilman Long endorsed the Mayor Pro Tem’s and Councilman Stern’s comments, agreeing enforcement would be more beneficial if the City had the flexibility to explore other options and indicated he does not believe the enforcement-oriented items in Step 1 are cost effective, saying he, too, would prefer to proceed immediately to Step 2. He indicated he was convinced safety concerns have been thoroughly considered and would continue to be considered, noting, while he understood it was optimal for emergency response times to be five minutes or less, sadly, many areas of the city do not provide that type of access and never will no matter what is ultimately done with the streets. He stated staff should work with the fire department to make certain undue delays do not result, adding he is not being cavalier with those concerns but believed they cannot dictate the future shape of the community when the infrastructure currently in place is not designed to allow the best possible access for emergency response.
Councilman Long informed, no matter what is ultimately adopted, he would still be cutting through the neighborhood at least once or twice a week, occasionally violating the speed limit, but he would be on two wheels not four and without a motor, adding speed humps would not be unsafe for bicycles because they are well marked and very visible.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt Step 1 as presented and initiate the circulation of necessary petitions for Step 2; the results of Step 1 be brought directly to Council rather than to the Traffic Committee; as a result of the additional facts and information, supplementary speed humps may be added or relocated within the purview of recommendations from the City’s staff and consultants; and, the speed humps be the type that will accommodate fire trucks.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark indicated he could not support the targeted enforcement and proposed a substitute motion, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt Step 1 without the targeted enforcement and initiate Step 2.
Councilman Wolowicz, remarking he did not share many of the negative observations made about enforcement, indicated when a consultant is hired and provides advice, it is usually wise to try it out, saying he believed the entire program outlined in Step 1 should be adopted. He stated, although previous enforcement programs have been inconclusive, this plan provided aspects that were not readily available which may be why they failed and this will succeed.
Mayor Gardiner spoke against the substitute motion, indicating advice and information had been provided by a traffic engineer, a fire chief, a fireman, and a Traffic Committee that has discussed and considered probably the most thoroughly deliberated traffic item ever, saying Council was prepared to overrule all that professional advice. He indicated this may be the last opportunity the City has to test enforcement to see if it could be implemented effectively, saying it did not impact one piece of the city or one neighborhood differently than another; everyone is affected the same. He opined that if the City chooses speed humps and eliminates enforcement from the program, people would be traversing speed humps all over RPV in the future because enforcement would not have been given an adequate chance to succeed. He remarked he did not believe traffic humps alone would solve the problem, noting the door is being opened for speed humps and then more speed humps to compensate for the first ones and indicated that it sets a terrible precedence for public policy.
Councilman Stern requested an explanation of why previous enforcement efforts have failed in Mira Vista.
Director Allison indicated the previous attempt was not a directed probe and did not involve the traffic engineer working in conjunction with the sheriff to develop an effective program.
Councilman Long advised that spot enforcement had been tried on Via Rivera, Basswood and in Mira Vista and had failed each time. He stated it occurred to him the recommendations in the staff report did not seem to match what appeared to him the most logical solution which would be proceed immediately to Step 2 and eliminate enforcement from Step 1, saying Council was not overturning independent advice because neither the Traffic Committee nor staff felt free to provide their best independent advice because they believed Council had directed a plan with enforcement preferred over engineering. He indicated the City Manager reported to him the Traffic Committee and staff believe TEAM RPV was a result of direction given by Council, which was to find a neighborhood speed control solution, focused on enforcement rather than engineering and opined this was the reason Council was provided with these recommendations.
Ava Shepherd refuted these statements, saying the Traffic Committee felt absolutely no pressure and the other TC members in the audience could verify that. She indicated they received a great deal of input but there was a distinct difference between input and concerns and being pressured. She advised their independent advice and recommendations came from listening to testimony from the sheriff and the public along with their focused attempts to be subject matter experts.
City Manager Evans indicated the conversation Councilman Long recounted addressed a separate issue, saying the approach was developed before TEAM RPV was even conceived. He stated there must have been a misunderstanding and advised the remarks he made to Councilman Long were that staff believed Council wanted an alternative to enforcement, which is why TEAM RPV was developed very recently.
Ms. Shepherd indicated the Traffic Committee made decisions before the sheriff’s full presentation on TEAM RPV, saying if timing had been different, TEAM RPV might have been part of Step 1.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark observed there was clearly some division of opinion on the matter but everyone was intent on doing something constructive to provide Mira Vista with safe streets. He opined that Steps 1 and 2 need to be implemented in tandem.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated he would support the Mayor Pro Tem’s motion if it included targeted enforcement, saying he viewed the incremental cost as nominal during the initial period and added much could be learned and it may be a precursor of TEAM RPV.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark explained he was not a carte blanche proponent of speed humps, noting he was on the majority of Council that voted to try enforcement on Via Rivera and when it did not work, he was prompted to rethink the matter. He reiterated Step 1 without targeted enforcement concurrent with Step 2 should be adopted for this particular neighborhood.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Long to (1) Adopt Step 1, with the exception of Number 5; (2) RPV Public Works Department to contact L.A. County Public Works Department re literature for speed humps and to contact County re construction of humps.
The motion carried 3-2 on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Long, Clark, Stern
NOES: Wolowicz, Gardiner
Councilman Wolowicz stated he approves the plan but would like it to include the traffic enforcement element.
Install Speed Humps on Enrose Avenue, General Street, Crestwood Street, MacArthur Street, Trudie Drive and Fairhill Drive.
Trudie Drive and Highmore—Traffic Safety, Multi-way Stop Controls.
No action taken. Matter to be placed on the next agenda.
Citywide traffic enforcement: Team RPV.
No action taken.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch advised Council added a Closed Session to respond to a change in the Terms and Conditions for sale of the City property at Palos Verdes Drive East and the proposed change of an approximately $5,000 price reduction was approved by all Council members present. She indicated Councilman Stern was not present.
Mayor Gardiner formally adjourned the meeting at 12:47 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on October 5 to conduct interviews of candidates for the Planning Commission.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell
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