CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA
TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION
JUNE 27, 2005
CALL TO ORDER: Vice Chair Willens called the meeting to order at 7:04 PM at Rancho Palos Verdes Community Room.
PRESENT: Vice Chair Willens, Commissioners Lewis, Mevers, Parfenov, and Wright
ABSENT: Chair Shepherd, Commissioner Klein
ALSO PRESENT: Dean Allison, Director, Public Works; Jack Rydell, Traffic Engineer, Wildan; Ron Dragoo, Senior Engineer, Public Works; Sgt. Paul Creason, Sheriff's Department; Frances M. Mooney, Recording Secretary
FLAG SALUTE: Vice Chair Willens led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Director Allison presented an addendum to tonight’s Agenda with two additions; one for late correspondence, and the other for discussion of Agenda items for a joint meeting of the Traffic Safety Commission and the City Council in September 2005.
Vice Chair Willens stated that it is his understanding that Chair Shepherd asked staff to move Item 2 of Old Business, "On-street parking of oversized vehicles", to the end of the Agenda so that she can participate if she is able to attend the meeting.
Commissioner Lewis moved to approve the Agenda as amended to move Item 2 to the end of the Agenda, seconded by Commissioner Parfenov.
Ayes 5; Nays 0
There were no speakers for items not on the Agenda.
SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT REPORT:
Sgt. Creason referred to the "Click it or Ticket" campaign that was held from May 16 to June 5, 2005 through the Office of Traffic Safety Grant. He reported that the Deputies worked for 230 hours and wrote 379 citations for seat belt violations.
Sgt. Creason reported on traffic enforcement on the Palos Verdes Drive East switchback area at Ganado Drive, saying that the checkpoint was on Saturday, June 18, 2005 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. He reported that the Sheriff's Department screened over 500 cars and wrote 27 citations. He explained that, of the 27, 10 were for motorcycles; four of the 10 were out of class licenses, three for speeding, and three for modified exhaust. He explained that, of the 17 cars, four were for speeding and the rest were for license and registration violations. Sgt. Creason explained that the Deputies were set up on Ganado, and as the cars came down the hill south toward them, they were speeding around the corner and were caught by the radar gun and cited. He stated that on Sunday, June 19, they had two Deputies at the location from approximately 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, resulting in 3 citations; 2 cars and 1 motorcycle, all cited for speeding. He reported that on Saturday, June 25, 2005 there were three Deputies from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm resulting in seven citations, four speeding cars and seven equipment and registration violations. He reported that on Sunday, June 26, 2005, there was one Deputy from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and he wrote four speeding tickets, all cars. Sgt. Creason presented detailed supplementary documentation for the Commission’s information.
Sgt. Creason distributed and reviewed the first quarterly Citation Report, pointing out that the Enforcement Index was 31, which is the ratio between Injury Citations (average of 6 for 2005) and Hazardous Citations (average of 157 for 2005). He explained that an Enforcement Index of 20 or better is their goal. Sgt. Creason stated that, over the years, there are more and more cars on the Peninsula and the Sheriff’s Department still has the same force as they had for the last three years.
Commissioner Wright asked Sgt. Creason about a car that went through a fence on Hawthorne Boulevard on Saturday, June 25, 2005.
Sgt. Creason explained that a young driver was speeding at approximately 65 mph; he swerved to miss a car and went through a wall.
Commissioner Mevers commented that the hours the Sheriff’s Department would check cars on Palos Verdes Drive East were published in the Daily Breeze.
Sgt. Creason stated that there are two sets of hours, and they did publish the hours for the checkpoint; however, the hours for deployment from this point forward will vary.
Commissioner Mevers commented that he could hear motorcycles about 6 am on June 19 near the Miraleste schoolyard, and he assumed they had read the article and were avoiding the Sheriff’s Department.
1. TOSCANINI DRIVE, ET. AL. TRAFFIC CALMING
Director Allison introduced the item and commented that this is a typical Public Works project. Mr. Allison reported that, when requests are received regarding a problem, they send the Traffic Engineer to take measurements. Director Allison referred to circle page 11 of the staff report. He explained that a year ago they did not have the ability to obtain this data because they did not have the equipment, and that this data was obtained with the StealthStat equipment that was purchased through a grant program. Director Allison explained that the Traffic Calming Program and any other program they recommend relies on the neighborhoods being engaged in the process. He explained that it is a multi-step process.
Traffic Engineer’s Report:
Traffic Engineer Rydell commented that this item was considered at the meeting in May 2005, and stated that at tonight’s meeting he will explain in more detail how they arrived at the recommendations. He explained that the area in question is east of Western Avenue and is identified on circle page 8 of the staff report; that it involves Toscanini Drive, Mt. Rainier Road, Caddington Drive, West Bloomwood Road, and Mt. Shasta. Using a slide presentation, Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the neighborhood is part of Rancho Palos Verdes, but it appears to be providing a short cut for the City of Los Angeles to get to Western Avenue from the east. Mr. Rydell explained that his first step is to identify the existing conditions in the field, such as stop signs and speed limit signs. He reported that they also identified speed humps east of Bloomwood Road in the City of Los Angeles.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that volume and speed data were taken at various key locations within the subject neighborhood during the past six months using the City’s StealthStat radar devices, which are capable of recording both the speed and volume of vehicles. Traffic Engineer Rydell called the attendees’ attention to the StealthStat equipment displayed in the meeting room, and explained that they are mounted on utility poles, street lights, and posts in the ground about ten feet off the ground if necessary. He explained that they identify traffic direction to make sure that they get free flow speed, unconstrained by stop signs, curves, or any other issues that may alter a person’s behavior. He explained that the equipment is left in place and runs continuously for periods of approximately 40 hours, which is the life of the battery without recharging; following that, the equipment is retrieved and the data is analyzed. Mr. Rydell referred to the slides and pointed out the following data regarding speed and volume as follows, commenting that the speed limit on these streets is 25 mph:
24-hour Prevailing % Exceeding
Location Volume Speed Speed Limit
Bloomwood Rd e/o Mt. Hood Ct 1,888 vpd 36mph 79%
Caddington Dr e/o Mt. Palomar Pl 934 vpd 28 mph 24%
Mt. Ranier Rd w/o Mt. Rose Rd 563 vpd 30 mph 39%
Mt. Shasta Dr s/o Toscanini Dr 3,319 vpd 28 mph 24%
Toscanini Dr e/o Mt. Palomar Pl 2,103 vpd 37 mph 79%
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the speed on Toscanini and Bloomwood indicates that drivers are traveling significantly faster than the speed limit on a residential street. He commented on the volume on these two streets, saying that the speeds and volumes satisfy the minimum thresholds in the City’s Traffic Calming Handbook, and further investigation is indicated. Mr. Rydell reviewed the remaining streets and commented that if they look at streets that do not have a high volume of traffic or the speeds are not excessive, even if people perceive it as a problem, the Department needs to allocate their resources appropriately, where the need is greatest.
Traffic Engineer Rydell presented a slide showing the initial proposed recommendations for the Toscanini traffic calming as described above and on circle page 3 of the staff report. He described the key components as 25 mph pavement markings to supplement the speed limit signs; an additional 25 mph pavement marking on Bloomwood Road e/o Mt. Shasta; and one 25 mph speed limit sign coming into the neighborhood from the north on Mt. Shasta Drive. He explained that there are enough signs on Bloomwood and Toscanini, but that additional pavement markings have the benefit of being visible when looking up or down.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to the graph on circle page 11 produced by StealthStat to measure cars versus speed at 1214 Bloomwood Drive. He explained that the information refers to the location of the equipment, which was placed to monitor traffic in both directions and described the interpretation of both axes to determine the speed and volume numbers. Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to the graph on circle page 12 that described the same location in terms of speed versus time. He explained that this refers to the average speed at any time of the day, and stated that the value of that is the ability to identify specific problems and work with the Sheriff’s Department to provide enforcement where there are significant problems. Mr. Rydell referred to the same location on the Cars Versus Time graph on circle page 13 of the staff report. He explained that there are three graphs for each location; that cars versus time tells him what time of day there is a problem, allowing them to coordinate with the Sheriff’s Department to make enforcement as effective as possible. Mr. Rydell explained that there are 15 pages of graphs in the packet—three pages for each of the five locations illustrating Cars Versus Speed, Speed Versus Time, and Cars Versus Time. He explained that the advantage of the equipment is that it can be installed immediately and, staff can respond to questions within a short period.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reviewed the recommendations on circle page 3 of the staff report and made the following comments:
Traffic Engineer Rydell concluded his report, saying that their recommendations for Toscanini Drive are a measured approach with enhanced education and enforcement, adding that this will be a template for other neighborhoods that he will be bring to the Commission in the near future.
Vice Chair Willens asked Traffic Engineer Rydell to briefly explain to the audience how these recommendations fit into the overall scheme of the traffic calming procedure so they know why staff is doing signs instead of speed humps and how that progression works.
Traffic Engineer Rydell agreed that this would be helpful, and stated that the Traffic Calming Plan approved by the City requires them to go through a very orderly approach to traffic calming. He explained that enforcement and education are always at the forefront and it requires using these tools first by using the least restrictive tools possible; that it is obvious in this City that they have gone to the next step.
Commissioner Lewis had no questions, but thanked Traffic Engineer Rydell for repeating the presentation since there was no audience present at the meeting in May.
Commissioner Wright had no questions.
Vice Chair Willens had no questions.
Commissioner Mevers had no questions.
Commissioner Parfenov referred to Recommendation 3 regarding enforcement, commenting that most of the traffic is in the morning and around 5:00 pm, and asked if there is a police officer there for enforcement in the morning.
Sgt. Creason responded that he has two dedicated traffic Deputies on the hill and the City of Rolling Hills Estates and Rolling Hills share them as well. He explained that these are the times they have the most traffic issues, including around the schools. He stated that the two Deputies are spread thin; however, if this is where the City would like their time spent, they will be there--perhaps not every day, but 60% of their time will be spent in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that when motorists realize that the Deputies are present they learn to slow down at the location.
Sgt. Creason stated that there is some residual effect as Commissioner Parfenov described, and the City is trying to work on this issue.
Vice Chair Willens opened the public hearing.
Harold Hunter, 28732 Mount Rose Road pointed out his residence on the slide map, and explained that he has a good vantage point of Mt. Rose Road and Bloomwood Road and expressed agreement with the Traffic Engineer’s findings regarding traffic on Bloomwood Road. Mr. Hunter commented that, if traffic is diverted off Bloomwood Road, traffic would be forced through Mt. Rose Road or Mt. Ranier Road, and suggested that this needs to be addressed as part of the plan. Mr. Hunter stated that he often sees traffic coming off Bloomwood Road onto Mt. Rose Road. He also questioned the StealthStat results regarding the number of cars.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that is the type of issue they consider as they go through the process, and one of their biggest concerns is that when they make one change, how will it affect the neighboring streets. Mr. Rydell stated that, in the recommendations presented, they would not expect to divert traffic; if that becomes necessary in the future, they will go to the community to address those issues because they are responsible for all the streets. Mr. Rydell explained that these issues would be studied when they do the new count data after implementation of Recommendations 1 through 7.
Kathleen Howden, 1207 Mt. Rainier Road, stated that she lives on the curve from Mt. Rose Road. She reported that drivers cut through this area, and it is a very dangerous curve; drivers pick up speed as they come up Mt. Rose to curve around Mt. Ranier. Ms. Howden asked if there is any possibility that stop signs could be placed there. Ms. Howden explained that drivers go east on Westmont, cut through Stonewood, down Mt. Shasta in Los Angeles, and into Rancho Palos Verdes via Mt. Ranier and Mt. Rose. She explained that most of this has increased because of the traffic on Western where drivers are trying to bypass the section that is closed off with only one lane in each direction. Ms. Howden asked how they get additional stop signs, so people have to slow down and stop.
Charles E. Conn, 1247 Bloomwood Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that while he was gardening there were cars going up or down every 30 seconds, and his neighbor noticed that drivers were going right through the stop sign. Mr. Conn stated that a stop sign does not make people stop; it makes legal people think. Mr. Conn suggested that speed humps could be installed in the future.
John Yoshida stated that two additional stop signs were recently added, one on Westmont and one on Capitol Drive; that the stop signs have diverted traffic onto Toscanini Drive. Mr. Yoshida stated that he thinks the answer is speed humps to slow traffic down, and that a lot of traffic is being diverted onto Bloomwood.
Frank D’Ambrosi, 1123 Bloomwood Road, stated that he lives on the corner of Mt. Rose and Bloomwood and he understands the measures being taken first to try and control the traffic, and suggested investigating the interest in the neighborhood to install speed humps. Mr. D’Ambrosi explained that he and Lee walked the neighborhood this evening and obtained signatures of residents who could not attend the meeting regarding whether or not they would be interested in having speed humps. Mr. D’Ambrosi stated that he met someone at every house who agreed 100% that it needed to be taken to that level. Mr. D’Ambrosi asked if there are any results of the effectiveness of speed humps in San Pedro, and asked if they took other measures first.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that every agency that he deals with takes the same measured approach and he is not aware of any of them that install speed humps immediately.
Mr. D’Ambrosi asked where, down the line, would speed humps be considered.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that, if the recommendations are approved, they will study it for 90 days, report the findings to the Commission, and if the measures were not successful they will determine where they go from there. Mr. Rydell acknowledged that they know the community has issues that need to be addressed, and now they have to find the appropriate solutions.
Hanson Lee Kwock, 1120 W. Bloomwood Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that all hours of the night and during the day there are usually big trucks that fly up the street and the stop signs are really no help at all because they go right through them. Mr. Kwock, in connection with Neighborhood Watch, talked with two of the area coordinators who said they have been working on this issue for quite a few years trying to get speed humps implemented. Mr. Kwock stated that they really wanted to be here tonight. He explained that, regarding lack of interest, he does not think that any of them knew that there was a meeting on this issue or they would have been at the meeting. He explained that, at the doors he knocked on, there was 100% participation from everyone home in support of speed humps.
Vice Chair Willens commented that this exact same item was on last month’s Agenda, and it was held over to this month because there was not a single person in the audience on this issue. Mr. Willens explained that the Agenda is now on the Internet on the Rancho Palos Verdes website and he encouraged the audience to take a look at it once a month and see what is on the next Agenda so they know when issues affecting their communities are scheduled. He stated that staff was asked at the last meeting to contact the people who had brought this issue to the City’s attention to make sure that they knew this was scheduled tonight. Mr. Willens emphasized that the community must take some responsibility for knowing what is going on.
Director Allison stated that they made an effort to contact people, and the fact that so many people are here is evidence of that. He explained that the best way to stay in touch on any traffic issue is from List Server which is available through the City’s website on the Traffic Safety Commission page. Director Allison explained that there are about 20 different categories and they will receive an e-mail of the posted Agenda regarding the item you select. Mr. Allison asked Tom Redfield if he stays connected to Traffic Safety Commission issues.
Tom Redfield responded that until two or three days ago there was nothing on the website. He stated that they spent the last two or three months making sure the Department got up to speed because, even if they were on the list, the resources were not there; that it was a major problem since the Agenda is not published until three or four days before the meeting. Mr. Redfield expressed appreciation for this resource.
Vice Chair Willens stated that they will keep working on this so it keeps getting better. He explained that it is a work in progress and the City is open to suggestions and comments.
Commissioner Lewis moved to approve the recommendations on circle page 3, Items 1 through 8, seconded by Commissioner Wright.
Commissioner Wright asked if the data was taken before the sinkholes.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Bloomwood and Mt. Ranier data was obtained on November 22, 2004; Caddington data was obtained on March 3, 2005.
Commissioner Wright commented that speed humps are very important to many residents in the audience. Commissioner Wright explained that he spent 26 years as a Police Officer, with a certain period of time in law enforcement; that, although he was not heavily involved in ticket writing, there is a huge benefit to the enforcement end of anything that happens in the neighborhood whether they have speed humps or not. Commissioner Wright encouraged the audience to let the enforcement end of this plan try to solve this problem even though it is a constant work in progress.
Vice Chair Willens thanked Traffic Engineer Rydell for the comprehensive study; that in his experience with the Traffic Calming Plan, this complies with the spirit of what the Commission is trying to do in starting small and working their way up. Vice Chair Willens asked if there is a way to get the Traffic Calming Plan on the website.
Director Allison stated that he will check to see if it is there and, if not, he will have it put on the website.
Vice Chair Willens explained to the audience that for some of them this is not far enough or fast enough, but reassured them that there has been a lot of thought and debate in creating the Traffic Calming Plan for the City that will give some organization to all this so that every community is handled in the same way. Mr. Willens commented on the Mira Vista fiasco and stated that it did not go through the process that the Traffic Calming Plan recommends from the beginning, and now they do have that opportunity and the equipment. He added that if it does not work, they now have the StealthStat, which was not available last summer, and it was difficult to get feedback to find out if what was being done was working. Mr. Willens referred to Mt. Ranier and the potential problem of diversionary traffic and, if there is a problem, something can be done.
Commissioner Mevers referred to a speaker’s statement about a many of large trucks, and asked how they could inhibit that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that this could be addressed with weight limits for trucks on residential streets, and gave examples of areas where these limits exist.
Commissioner Parfenov had no comments.
Director Allison asked to talk about trucks; that this is new information. Director Allison asked that the recommendation be adjusted so that they can go directly to the Council with this issue.
Commissioner Mevers asked for help from the homeowners on this issue.
A resident responded that these are one-ton trucks, not commercial—they are pickup trucks.
Director Allison referred to a speaker’s comments regarding stop signs, and asked Traffic Engineer Rydell to respond to that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that stop signs are a very valuable tool when trying to assign the right-of-way, and a very inappropriate tool for speed control. Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that it is very specifically recommended in traffic manuals that they do not use stop signs for speed control. Mr. Rydell pointed out that one of the speakers stated that motorists were going through the stop signs. He stated that stop signs are not appropriate at the location of Mt. Ranier and Mt. Rose; that there are other appropriate tools and they will take that step if they come to it.
Oscar Esteban, Bloomwood, asked when will they know the results of the process and asked if there is a time limit for every step.
Director Allison suggested that the community have representatives meet with Traffic Engineer Rydell.
Mr. Esteban asked if there is a date when the results will be posted on the website.
Director Allison explained that he cannot provide a date at this time; that the measures must be implemented and each step completed.
Vice Chair Willens explained that the Commission wants the community to be more involved in this process; that if they are involved they will already know, because people in the neighborhood will come to your door and tell you what is happening and when it is scheduled on the Traffic Safety Commission Agenda. Vice Chair Willens explained that this will result from meetings between the City staff and representatives of the community.
Director Allison suggested that a representative of the Public Works Department be invited to their homeowners’ association meeting.
Mr. Esteban responded that they do not have a homeowners’ association.
Vice Chair Willens stated that they need a couple of leaders to work with the Public Works Department and the Department will present it to the Commission.
Commissioner Wright asked if Mr. Esteban’s community has a Neighborhood Watch.
Mr. Esteban responded that they do.
Commissioner Wright suggested that they discuss this at the Neighborhood Watch meeting and get representatives to coordinate with the Department on the Traffic Calming issues.
Commissioner Lewis moved to approve the Recommendations on circle page 3, Items 1 through 8, seconded by Commissioner Wright.
Ayes 5; Nays 0
RECESS AND RECONVENE
The Traffic Safety Commission recessed at 8:14 pm and reconvened at 8:23 pm.
3. TRAFFIC SIGNAL PRIORITY LIST
Director Allison stated that he was not present at the last meeting and was not clear on the information discussed.
Commissioner Lewis explained that the Commission was considering two issues; one was the procedure, and the second was to establish the Traffic Signal Priority List. He explained that the problem was the disagreement as to the result. Commissioner Lewis stated that the Commission decided to approve the procedure, but not the list. Commissioner Lewis explained that staff was directed to resolve the disagreement and bring the issue back to the Commission for further consideration.
Director Allison stated that the City Council really wants the list.
Vice Chair Willens stated that the Commission is not supposed to be discussing "Establish the Traffic Signal Installation Procedure as outlined in Attachment A" at this meeting. He asked if the procedure outlined in Attachment A is the same as what the Commission approved at the last meeting.
Commissioner Lewis responded that, other than formatting, it looks the same.
Vice Chair Willens suggested that the Commission approve it again in the event that it is not. Mr. Willens clarified that staff is not asking the Commission to approve the list, just the process, to the extent that there might be some confusion over whether or not the Commission has actually done that as a pro forma matter.
Director Allison stated that he would appreciate that.
Vice Chair Willens asked the speaker, Marilyn B. Kritzer, if her comment would be on the procedure or the list.
Marilyn B. Kritzer, 3832 Pirate Drive, Ladera Linda, stated that she does not know because she does not know what is on the list.
Vice Chair Willens explained that last month the Commission discussed establishing a process to decide how the Traffic Signal Priority would be implemented, that is, how the locations would be prioritized. He explained that the Commission debated and discussed the process that staff recommended by which those signals would be itemized. Vice Chair Willens stated that they did not agree on the actual list. Vice Chair Willens stated that tonight they will not agree on the actual list, but will approve the process.
Ms. Kritzer asked if the signal they want is up for consideration. She stated that the only way out of their community is Forrestal Drive. She explained that when she leaves her home to go on Forrestal, making a right turn is not a problem, but making a left turn is a very big problem. She explained that traffic is terrible coming from San Pedro towards Forrestal and the visibility is not good to make a left turn. She stated that she was going to suggest that if there cannot be a traffic signal, maybe a stop sign would be appropriate; but hearing the other discussion on stop signs, she does not think that is what she would want.
Ms. Kritzer explained that they have this problem today, and when the Trump golf course opens in September it will be much worse; that in the future, if Longpoint is developed, it will increase the problem. She stated that there are no traffic controls on Palos Verdes Drive South anywhere near Forrestal, and she thinks there should be; that it is an accident waiting to happen. She stated that her concern is traffic control in some form. She stated that she was informed that there is existing wiring at the corner of Forrestal Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South for a future traffic signal. She asked if that is correct and staff responded that this is correct. Ms. Kritzer suggested that, if the wiring has been installed, it should minimize the problems of cost and installation of a signal; that eventually they need to have one there, no later than September if the golf course shapes up, and she is in favor of the golf course. Ms. Kritzer concluded, saying that she is asking for some help at the corner of Forrestal Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South.
Director Allison reported that one of the conditions of approval of the golf course was that, if the City determined that a signal was required at that intersection during the first three years of operation of the golf course, the Trump organization would pay for the total cost of installation. Director Allison stated that he and Traffic Engineer Rydell would look at the warrants and report to the Commission on a separate item.
Ms. Kritzer was very pleased with the response, and reiterated the problems of the left turn and visibility.
Director Allison emphasized that the location must meet the warrants.
Commissioner Lewis moved approval of the following recommendations as outlined on circle page 45 of the staff report of June 27, 2005:
Seconded by Commissioner Wright.
Ayes 5; Nays 0
Commissioner Mevers referred to the request for a traffic signal at Forrestal and Palos Verdes Drive South in connection with the Traffic Signal Priority List, and asked if staff has information on the traffic flow.
Vice Chair Willens responded that Director Allison proposed that the intersection in question could be considered separately because it is involved in the operation of the golf course and the Trump organization.
Director Allison also responded that it still has to meet the warrants to qualify for a signal, but in his mind, if it is fifth on the list, the staff could say that they want to install it now because someone else is paying for it.
Ms. Kritzer asked if that corner is on the list.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it is on the list.
Commissioner Lewis, please review (not clear on tape or notes) Commissioner Lewis asked what is the timeframe involved in reviewing this intersection. Ravenspur ????????
Mr. Rydell, please review (not clear on tape or notes) Traffic Engineer Rydell responded 60 days.
Ms. Kritzer thanked the Commission for any help they can provide.
Vice Chair Willens asked Ms. Kritzer to come back and let the Commission know what is going on down there.
This item was moved to the end of the Old Business Agenda so that Chair Shepherd could participate if she was able to be at the meeting; however, she was unable to attend.
Commissioner Lewis moved that in the absence of Chair Shepherd this item be tabled until the next meeting in July, seconded by Commissioner Wright.
Ayes 5; Nays 0
Director Allison announced that he received an e-mail from Chair Shepherd who asked to participate by proxy in this process to select a Vice Chair, and she submitted Commissioner Willens’ name for this position. Director Allison read a statement submitted by Chair Shepherd stating that she indicated that Commissioner Willens was a strong and dedicated member of the prior Traffic Safety Commissionfor almost two years and has successfully served as Vice Chair in that capacity on several occasions. Chair Shepherd added that she believes Commissioner Willens is the strongest candidate for the Traffic Safety Commission during this critical period of development.
Director Allison stated that he believes that what they are looking for is a Vice Chair who can fill in for the Chair at functions here, meetings with the Mayor, and meetings with the Council when the Chair may not be able to attend. Director Allison explained that it is a bigger commitment than just being a member of the Commission.
There being no other nominations, the nominations were closed. Vice Chair Willens recused himself from voting on this issue.
Commissioner Wright moved to approve the selection of Damon Willens as Vice Chair of the Traffic Safety Commission, seconded by Commissioner Lewis.
Ayes 4; Nays 0; Vice Chair Willens abstained.
Senior Engineer Dragoo reported that the goal of the task force was to put together a list of probable, possible, and impossible improvements that could be considered regardless of cost and regardless of how obscene or obscure the improvements could be for the Western Avenue corridor to improve traffic flow to the area. He reported that this was initiated by Councilwoman Hahn’s office in February. He explained that the City of Rancho Palos Verdes’ target was included to try to participate in this effort. Mr. Dragoo reported on the possibilities for configurations of traffic on Western; the most significant being consideration of an interconnect project, where Caltrans is considering connecting signals to each other so that they can be viewed remotely and adjusted as needed for traffic conditions. He explained that the cost would probably make it impossible.
Senior Engineer Dragoo reported that Caltrans has adjusted signal timing to be consistent with the City of Los Angeles 90-second cycle and stated that Rancho Palos Verdes had a 70-second cycle, the Caltrans standard. Mr. Dragoo reported that the traffic on Western is now moving notably smoother, with a better flow of traffic until it reaches the Smart & Final bottleneck. Mr. Dragoo reported that Caltrans is much more interested in the needs of Rancho Palos Verdes at this point, and stated that staff has not had any complaints to date. Mr. Dragoo reported that the task force adjourned until September 2005.
Vice Chair Willens stated that it is his understanding that the City Council wants the Traffic Safety Commission to create a subcommittee or select some members to be part of the task force. Mr. Willens stated that he is not certain of the nature of the request; he now understands that it is not necessary, and did not want to suggest considering it now unless staff believes that they need something from the Commission at this time.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that he has not received direction at this time, although he is considering affirmation about Council directions.
Director Allison stated that the Department needs to get a true reading on that from the Council, and asked Traffic Engineer Rydell to elaborate on the issues.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the Mira Vista Traffic Calming Plan had a carrot and stick approach, the stick being to make traffic through the neighborhood less attractive. He explained that the carrot was they were working with the County of Los Angeles who was working with Caltrans to improve flow on Western Avenue so that it would be more attractive. Mr. Rydell explained that Rancho Palos Verdes was willing to give up some of its green time on Trudie Drive; that it then takes longer to get out of Trudie, but more cars get through on Western, and it worked out nicely. Mr. Rydell explained that by working with other agencies they are actually helping Rancho Palos Verdes.
Director Allison commented on previous work with different agencies on the green arrow traveling south on Western at Toscanini, saying that it made it easier for the City and for everyone else.
Traffic Engineer Rydell commented that it is important to listen to residents’ problems, but the staff and the Traffic Safety Commission must look at other issues as well.
Commissioner Mevers stated that he does not understand how changing the timing makes that much difference in efficiency, and asked what goes on.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that having a synchronized progression system along an arterial requires an optimized cycle involving very elaborate calculations; that they need to be on the same cycle length. Mr. Rydell explained that, by adjusting the cycle length, they provide a better progression from start to finish of the route.
Commissioner Parfenov asked if any citizens complained about the longer wait at the signal.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that when the community realized it was one of the City’s ideas, they were willing to accept a small inconvenience to resolve the problem and were happy with the solution.
Director Allison stated that the City Council is excited about the new Commission. He explained that the Council has scheduled a joint meeting of the Council and the Traffic Safety Commission on Saturday, September 10, 2005. Mr. Allison explained that the Mayor especially wants minority reports; he wants the Commission to go out and look for issues that they think need to be addressed by the Council or the Commission. Mr. Allison explained that, for all that to happen, they need a joint meeting; they will have public testimony; there will be an opportunity for the Commission to say what they need to be doing and get direction; that one issue mentioned previously was traffic calming. Mr. Allison stated that it would be an opportunity to give the Council their opinions.
Vice Chair Willens asked if there would be an Agenda ahead of time.
Director Allison stated that they will try to build an Agenda.
Vice Chair Willens asked if the Council would provide some input on items that they would like the Commission to discuss, and develop an Agenda based on suggestions from both the Commission and the City Council.
Director Allison stated that, from his experience, the Commission should limit their issues to one or two of the most important; that it will be more process than speed. Director Allison suggested that the Commissioners think about possible items for the joint meeting and schedule it for discussion on the next Commission Agenda.
Commissioner Mevers referred to a comment by Traffic Engineer Rydell at a previous meeting regarding the traffic-calming problem on Toscanini when he stated that there are more waiting in the wings.
Director Allison responded that there are three or four neighborhoods pending.
Traffic Engineer Rydell added that three or four neighborhoods are voicing many more concerns.
Commissioner Mevers asked if it would be advisable to get these people in to let them know that they are under consideration and do the public relations earlier so that the Commission gets better cooperation.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that they do public relations on a one-to-one basis when residents call the Department to make their request.
Director Allison stated that he believes the Traffic Engineer and Senior Engineer do a very good job of bringing issues to the Commission at the right time; that, before items come before this body, they spend a lot of time at City Hall and homeowners’ association meetings. Director Allison stated that he does not believe that the first step should be to bring it to the Traffic Safety Commission; that staff would be happy to share the list of neighborhoods they are working with, and this would be good for the Commission to know.
Vice Chair Willens stated that he is willing to rely on the staff’s experience and knowledge as to when the issues should be presented to the Commission. Mr. Willens stated that the traffic calming issues that he has seen presented to date are never minor, and it would be impractical to expect that the Commission could handle more than one of them at a time. Vice Chair Willens stated that once the community knows that even a topic as part of a list is being brought before the Commission will cause 30 people to appear at the meeting, all wanting to talk about it. Mr. Willens gave an example of a list with five neighborhoods on it and suggested that five times 30 people will show up who do not realize that the Commission is not here to talk about it; just to see that it is on the list, and the community does not differentiate that.
Commissioner Wright commented that it could build resentment because different solutions may be proposed for a similar problem in each neighborhood.
Vice Chair Willens summarized, saying that staff is responsible to liaison with the community during the process until it is brought to the Commission, and no matter the length of time involved, staff has to explain and do the public relations with the community regarding why it has not been brought to the Commission. Vice Chair Willens stated that he thinks they are doing that, he is fine with that, and he encouraged staff to continue to do that.
Commissioner Wright referred to comments from the audience regarding ongoing issues that appeared to be stagnant, and asked if they have a basis for their concern.
Director Allison stated that residents came to the City with a request to install multiple stop signs, and one was put on Mt. Hood at Bloomwood and another was placed where the first gentleman spoke, and within an hour the resident who lived there chopped down the sign.
Commissioner Parfenov asked what would be the staff’s approach to a community that does not have a homeowners’ association, only several individuals. He asked who is their contact.
Director Allison responded that they would try to use the Block Captain.
Traffic Engineer Rydell agreed that one of the contacts was the Block Captain, and he speaks personally with another person. Mr. Rydell stated that this is why the community must designate some representatives.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that there were several people at this meeting wanting the same thing, and they could have had less people if they were more organized.
Vice Chair Willens asked if what they are discussing at this time is too specific to bring up at the joint meeting with the Council. Mr. Willens suggested that they want to talk about general concepts and he would suggest that the Commissioners deliberate in the comfort of their homes and think about things that should be scheduled for the joint meeting and it will be discussed at the next Commission meeting.
Commissioner Parfenov asked if the Council wants the items to come from individual persons or from the Traffic Safety Commission.
Director Allison suggested that the Commissioners bring their ideas to the Commission and they will be prioritized.
Commissioner Parfenov asked if the Commissioners should get together and discuss ideas.
Vice Chair Willens responded that the Commissioners are prohibited from discussing Commission business with each other except at a scheduled meeting of the Commission.
Director Allison suggested sending an e-mail to Traffic Engineer Rydell, Senior Engineer Dragoo, or the Director regarding proposed Agenda items; and, since they cannot talk among themselves, they can talk to staff.
RECEIVE AND FILE
Director Allison introduced this item, saying that staff would like to spend some time explaining to the Commission what Public Works is doing in regard to traffic and the tools available.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the Department has two radar trailers that the City owns and one available from the Sheriff’s Department. He stated that they have two radar feedback signs that will be deployed, probably within the next week; they have developed a tentative schedule of how they will be deployed, probably for a two-month period at different locations, to check 12 different locations annually for the City. Mr. Rydell explained that they have identified locations that have traffic calming issues such as Toscanini and Bloomwood, and various other streets that would benefit. Mr. Rydell explained that the radar trailers are much more flexible and are moved every day.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to the lists on circle pages 55 through 69 and explained that this is where the radar trailer was and is deployed, and staff is enhancing that now that they have another trailer. He reported that they are also re-evaluating the locations that they have identified. Mr. Rydell stated that this equipment allows staff to respond very quickly to requests from Council, the Traffic Safety Commission, the Sheriff’s Department, or from the community.
Director Allison commented that the equipment can be used on arterial or residential streets.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that the equipment also gives them flexibility--that some residential streets are too narrow for the radar trailer, and now they have the feedback signs to use.
Director Allison commented that the Commissioners may find themselves at a meeting where a resident reports a problem on their street, and the trailers are easy to use and can provide an immediate response, and people like that.
Commissioner Mevers asked if the equipment collects data at the same time.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that some equipment can, but it costs a lot more.
Director Allison explained that it is not the primary reason the equipment is used; that the purpose is to collect feedback.
Commissioner Mevers commented that while the equipment is in place they could provide a database that could be used later.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that staff had to stop that because they have the StealthStat and a variety of other tools.
Commissioner Parfenov asked for clarification that the one on the left has more advantages than the one on the right (referring to the slide showing the equipment).
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that it does not have more advantages, but one is just more flexible than the other, saying that they can move the radar trailer every day, whereas the signs are more permanent. Mr. Rydell explained that they perform different functions; staff chooses the feedback signs as something to be left in place to perform a long-term evaluation; that the trailers are at a location for one day and then moved.
Director Allison explained that one additional tool is the decoy car; that the City of Palos Verdes Estates puts it on Palos Verdes Drive West near some of the stop signs, and with the black windows you cannot tell if someone is in the car or not. Mr. Allison commented that the decoy car, used in conjunction with the radar signs, provides good enforcement at a low cost.
Commissioner Wright asked if the Sheriff’s Department is sharing the decoy car with all three cities.
Sgt. Creason responded that they are sharing the decoy car. He explained that, before the work started to increase enforcement on the switchbacks, they put the decoy car out there and it was supposed to be picked up one night and was left over the weekend by mistake. Sgt. Creason explained that it was broken into and the dummy was stolen.
Traffic Engineer Rydell used slides in conjunction with a graph and chart on circle pages 70 and 71 to identify the locations where they will install 12 speed humps. He pointed out the "before" data that was collected, including volume and speed. Mr. Rydell explained that staff would know the effects on all the streets after the speed humps are installed. Mr. Rydell referred to circle page 71 and pointed out that on certain streets, especially Trudie, previous ADT (average daily traffic) counts are included from 2003/2004 when staff was given the original Traffic Calming Plan. Mr. Rydell compared those numbers to the current numbers and pointed out the tremendous increase since then from 3100 up to 4400 or an increase of 60% over the speed limit, which explains the complaints from residents on Trudie. Mr. Rydell commented that it is obvious in looking at other locations that the counts have increased; adding that the counts were all taken before school was out and they were not taken on holidays
Director Allison informed the Commission that this item would be on the Agenda within approximately six- to eight months.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to circle page 70 and pointed out the ADT (average daily traffic) on Via Colinita on 5/25/05 of 7300 cars, with 5% over the speed limit.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained staff recently took action to modify the signal operation at this intersection, which was previously a protected permissive left turn from Hawthorne. Mr. Rydell explained that this allowed the traffic on Hawthorne to turn left in both directions on the green arrow, followed by a green ball or permissive phase, after the arrow disappeared. He explained that a left turn was still permitted while watching for other traffic. Mr. Rydell reported that they noticed a serious accident problem involving 17 left turn accidents over a six-year period, all occurring on the permissive phase. Mr. Rydell reported that staff took a study and found that visibility was fine and there was no reason this was happening other than lack of caution on the part of drivers. Mr. Rydell stated that staff decided to remove the permissive phase about a month ago, commenting that this is the only signal of that type in the City, and staff has since done a follow-up study. Mr. Rydell said this would address the accident situation, that their concern was to determine what caused the problems, and the Department was most concerned with the southbound turn. Mr. Rydell reported that the study found that 94% of the vehicles cleared on the left-turn cycles and only seven of the 550 southbound left-turn vehicles did not clear during the green arrow. Mr. Rydell explained that this is a good example of where Public Works proactively found solutions.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that it was a wonderful measure to change the green arrow because he lives nearby and he discussed it with his homeowners’ association. Commissioner Parfenov reported that even though they have to wait longer, the community is very satisfied with the change.
Staff provided the Commission with an excerpt from the City Council Follow-Up Agenda of May 17, 2005, Item 17 on page 4, entitled "Proposal for Increased Traffic Enforcement on the Palos Verdes Drive East Switchback Area". Sgt. Creason reported that this will go through a trial period of three months on every weekend. Sgt. Creason explained that one day is on overtime, the other day will be covered by adjustment to the Deputies’ schedules to provide enforcement until one of the Reserves arrive. Sgt. Creason explained there was only one Deputy on duty this past weekend because they had one Reserve cancel and one vacancy.
Commissioner Mevers commented on a letter to the editor in the Daily Breeze from a distraught citizen who claimed that the City is throwing away money.
Sgt. Creason stated that it was spelled out when this was proposed to the City that, if the City wants a weekly enforcement team, and if the Sheriff’s Department sees that they are not writing citations or the activity level is low at any time, the Sheriff’s Department could re-assign the Team elsewhere in the City, or change it to weekdays instead of weekends.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that staff is installing posts within the switchbacks so that they can post not only radar feedback signs, but also the StealthStat.
Senior Engineer Dragoo informed the Commission that the report compiled on Western Avenue is posted on the website.
Vice Chair Willens suggested that once everyone realizes that there is so much on the website it will help all concerned, especially those who are active in the community such as those in the audience.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the Department is constantly looking for grants to provide funding for traffic issues. Mr. Rydell explained that there are three types of grants that they consider; first, from the Office of Traffic Safety CS Grant, explaining that is how the Department funded the feedback signs and one radar trailer. Mr. Rydell explained that this current year the Department submitted two grant applications. Mr. Rydell described one for cost-based software, which is a tool that allows accident analysis; the second for traffic control device inventory, which will pay the Department to examine and analyze signage, striping, parking, and allow staff to determine if they are upgrading or installing appropriate traffic controls where they do not currently exist.
Mr. Rydell described another type of CS grant for "Hazard Elimination Safety", and stated that the Department submitted three applications; two for left-turn phasing at (1) Hawthorne Boulevard and Eddinghill Drive and (2) Crenshaw Boulevard and Crestridge Road. Mr. Rydell explained that the third one is to evaluate on Palos Verdes Drive East the feasibility of installing left-turn pockets at intersections. Mr. Rydell stated that they know it is a narrow roadway and they know there is not enough room to make those modifications now, but this work would take significant funding. He reported that staff has identified the intersections that do not have left-turn pockets, determined where they were feasible, and submitted the grant application.
Mr. Rydell stated that the "Safety After School" grant is one they will be submitting before the end of June; that it encourages pedestrians to walk to school, and get them out of their cars. Mr. Rydell stated that the City must take the appropriate action to accomplish that, such as installing sidewalks, reviewing traffic signals, flashers, beepers, traffic calming, and whatever they determine will encourage children to walk and get them out of the cars.
Regarding the current "SR2S Grant", Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the Department is trying to keep the cost at approximately $200,000 to provide the best chance for winning one of the grants. Mr. Rydell described the proposed improvements on Palos Verdes Drive East near Miraleste Intermediate School. He explained that staff is recommending three major components; two in-pavement flashers on Miraleste at the south entrance near Via Canada, and pedestrian-activated flashing beacons on the north, because the crosswalk is in the middle of a curve.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the Department is also asking for funding for another radar feedback sign; that in addition to enhancing pedestrian safety at the crosswalks, they would like to slow down traffic. Mr. Rydell reported that the last thing they are requesting on this grant is funding to help with traffic education materials in conjunction with the Citywide Traffic Calming Program. He stated that if the "SR2S Grant" is approved the Department can expedite that process as well.
Commissioner Mevers requested clarification of the grant request for inventory software.
Traffic Safety Engineer Rydell explained that the software is for traffic collision analysis.
Commissioner Mevers referred to Traffic Engineer Rydell’s comment that it is a very labor-intensive process, and suggested that Homeowners’ Associations could be approached to help gather this data, adding, asking if it would it be reliable.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that residents would not know what to look for; they would not be able to identify what the controls are, what the conditions are, and whether they are appropriate or not. Mr. Rydell stated that the Department wants funding to pay someone to do the work who knows the criteria for collecting the data.
Commissioner Wright asked Traffic Engineer Rydell to briefly explain how the accident analysis program works.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the information from the traffic collision report could be processed to allow staff to analyze the data based on any criteria in the database, commenting that the Sheriff’s Department uses this software.
Commissioner Mevers asked if the software could be run on a desktop computer rather than a mainframe.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it could be run on a desktop computer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Approval of minutes of May 23, 2005
Commissioner Lewis moved to approve the Minutes with the changes reflected as presented in the Agenda packet, seconded by Commissioner Mevers.
Ayes 5; Nays 0
Vice Chair Willens asked if any Commissioners know that they will be absent at the July 25, 2005 meeting. There were no negative responses. Vice Chair Willens asked that if anyone will be absent they should call Pam Mitchell in the Public Works Department.
Commissioner Lewis moved to adjourn at 9:30 pm to the Regular Meeting of the Traffic Safety Commission of July 25, 2005, seconded by Commissioner Parfenov and approved without objection.