CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA
TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION
MAY 22, 2006
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Shepherd called the meeting to order at 7:07 PM at Rancho Palos Verdes Community Room
ROLL CALL: PRESENT: Chair Shepherd, Commissioners Bilezerian, Klein, Mevers, Parfenov, Wright, and Vice Chair Willens
ALSO PRESENT: Jack Rydell, Traffic Engineer, Wildan; Ron Dragoo, Senior Engineer, Public Works; Sgt. Paul Creason, Sheriff's Department; Frances M. Mooney, Recording Secretary
FLAG SALUTE: Commissioner Willens led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Commissioner Willens moved approval of the Agenda as presented, seconded by Commissioner Wright.
Chair Shepherd chose to defer her comments to later in the meeting or to the next meeting in the interest of time.
SHERIFF’S STATUS REPORT:
Sgt. Creason distributed copies of his report and announced that, with the help of Deputy Knox who was present in the audience, an average of 466 citations were issued compared with 167 for last year and 253 the year before that. He reported 18 collisions for 2006, 18 for 2005, and 21 for 2004. He reported that the Enforcement Index is at 71 currently, and was 48 and 36 respectively for the last two years, commenting that the goal is 21. Sgt. Creason referred to an article he provided to Chair Shepherd that described photo enforcement in Beverly Hills and San Jose.
Chair Shepherd offered to send the article to the other Commissioners.
Commissioner Mevers asked if this article is similar to one that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and Sgt. Creason confirmed that it is.
Chair Shepherd asked Sgt. Creason to provide whatever additional information is available regarding the effect on enforcement because of the additional Deputy.
Sgt. Creason explained that Deputy Knox is definitely filling a gap currently, although they do not have coverage on one of the weekend days. He stated that Deputy Knox is working Noon to 8:00 pm; he is doing well, and is setting the standard for the other traffic Deputies. Sgt. Creason explained that two other cities on the Peninsula are quite jealous—that they are doing well, but not as well as Rancho Palos Verdes.
Chair Shepherd asked if the other cities have a Deputy on the weekend, referring to the cities that contract with the Sheriff.
Sgt. Creason said no, explaining that some of what Deputy Knox does is spilling over into the other cities as far as traffic calming is concerned because he must sometimes traverse through Rolling Hills Estates. He reported that the other cities are seeing some benefit, and he has been told that both cities are interested in sharing another Deputy.
Chair Shepherd suggested that the three cities could collaborate on a contract to increase enforcement. She asked if Deputy Knox spends more time on the east side of the hill or is it about equal.
Deputy Knox explained that sometimes he drives the whole City—Western Avenue, Palos Verdes Drive East, the switchbacks, Palos Verdes Drive South, Hawthorne, Crest Road, Blackhorse, and some small streets such as Via Rivera, General, and Bayend where they have had complaints.
Sgt. Creason explained that for the past several years the Commission has asked for increased enforcement and, meanwhile, he did what he could; but now, when he assigns Deputy Knox, he knows it will be done because he is assigned only to Rancho Palos Verdes and does not have to worry about the other cities.
Deputy Knox commented that Sgt. Creason assigned him to Fond du Lac and Eau Claire since the last Commission meeting.
Chair Shepherd commented that the report shows how significant the results are, and suggested that when the City Council sees these numbers they know that the Commission was correct in saying that this reorganization was needed. She stated that she has seen a significant change in the patterns of the drivers.
Commissioner Wright explained that it is interesting that, even with that improvement, he is sure that Deputy Knox is still writing many tickets. He commented that people watch drivers being pulled over on Palos Verdes Drive South.
Deputy Knox reported that Palos Verdes Drive South is like a racetrack during rush hour, and he cited a Porsche on Friday going 82 mph, which could cause a fatality in an accident.
Commissioner Parfenov asked Sgt. Creason if the statistics refer to mostly arterial roads or residential streets.
Sgt. Creason responded that it is mostly arterial roads; they do not write many citations on residential streets unless they are receiving many speeding complaints, adding that they have written quite a few citations on Via Rivera, and most were written by Deputy Knox.
Commissioner Parfenov asked Deputy Knox if it is mostly the major roads or smaller residential roads.
Deputy Knox explained that his thinking is that it is most efficient for him to sit on the major streets like Palos Verdes Drive South, Hawthorne, and Palos Verdes Drive East because that is where most of the speeding is, but when Sgt. Creason gets complaints about a certain street he sits on that street.
Sgt. Creason reported that the Sheriff’s Department is now in the midst of their Office of Traffic Safety grant and are writing seat belt citations during a three-week period. He stated that there is increased enforcement for that purpose.
Commissioner Wright commented on an accident on Palos Verdes Drive South near the Coast Guard trailer where someone took out a fence and asked if Sgt. Creason is aware of what happened.
Sgt. Creason responded that he does not recall seeing that but offered to look it up.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
Tom Redfield, 31273 Ganado Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, commented that the City Council has already approved a second shared enforcement Deputy for this year’s budget, and he is aware that the Sheriff’s Department is understaffed. He asked what, if anything, can the Commission or the Sheriff’s Department do to move ahead; and asked if there is anything going on to actually recruit and hire the second Deputy that is in the budget for this year.
Chair Shepherd responded that she could not answer that because it has not come before the Commission and she does not know what the Council is doing.
Sgt. Creason responded that the second Deputy would be taken from the Sheriff’s current staff, and would be fully deployed. He explained that the City would not be charged any overtime—that the Deputy would be taken from an existing location somewhere else, for instance, a County area; and if they have to fill overtime it would be done in the County area.
Mr. Redfield reiterated that the Council has approved another full-time Deputy, and asked if, to the best of Sgt. Creason’s knowledge, that Deputy going to be hired or is in the process of being hired.
Sgt. Creason responded that the Sheriff’s hiring goal right now is approximately 1,000 bodies per year. He reported that they are hiring people now to go to the Academy, and explained that they will be short for years to come. He explained that if the City approves and all the cities buy into another Deputy, the position will be filled, and the cities will not have to pay beyond the standard rate.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
1. MIRA VISTA TRAFFIC CALMING
1. Initiate discussions with the City of Los Angeles to consider actions to address speeding on Summerland Street.
2. Initiate discussions with the Mira Vista Homeowners Association Board to address speeding on the following street segments:
a. General Street between Bayend Drive and Crestwood Street;
3. Provide speed and volume count data to the Lomita Sheriff Station for their use during enforcement.
Traffic Engineer’s Report
Attachment A Mira Vista Neighborhood Traffic Count Summary Before and After Speed Hump Installation
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that this is a spreadsheet (circle page 6) that comprehensively describes the critical issues in all the locations in the before and after counts, showing the dates counts were taken, the 24-hour login, 85th percentile speed, and the percent of motorists exceeding the 25 mph speed limit. Included were columns showing “Before” count data, “After” count data, and Count Data Change, which identifies not only the numerical change in volume and speed, but also the percentage change.
Attachment B Traffic Count Locations Before Speed Hump Installation
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that this map (circle page 7) shows the 85th percentile speeds and the 24-hour volumes at the locations counted.
Attachment C Traffic Count Locations After Speed Hump Installation
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that this map (circle page 8) shows volumes and speeds obtained during the “after” counts.
Attachment D Traffic Count Locations Change in Speed and Volume
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that this map (circle page 9) shows the “change” information in 85th percentile speed and 24-hour volume.
Attachments E through M (circle pages 10 through 18)
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that these charts were prepared to consolidate and track historical data from the beginning of the project in 2003 through each phase of the project. He pointed out that each chart represents data for a specific location and that the same data was not available for all locations. He commented that Staff used this information in their analysis.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained what the data means and the key items considered. He stated that the first key item was the Western Avenue construction going on during this time. He explained that the “before” data was taken while there was still a detour during construction on Western Avenue. He described that any data in the “before” counts included diverted traffic; that the “after” data was obtained when construction was completed.
Chair Shepherd questioned that the Commission also had data from this community before the Western Avenue construction.
Traffic Engineer Rydell said that is correct, and that information was included in the charts because Staff needed to delve deeper into that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell continued his review explaining that, except for one location, volumes went down significantly, and Staff found that the exception was the result of the construction on Western Avenue. He reported that the volumes increased at only one location on MacArthur Boulevard between Bayend and Trotwood—an increase of 9% or 59 vehicles. He pointed out the high and low range of traffic in the “Count Data Change” column representing “Before and After Speed Hump” counts on the following streets:
Street (comparing various segments) Range of Reduced Volume
Bayend Drive - 36.2% to - 61.5%
Traffic Engineer Rydell commented that no one would think that anyone would use Jaybrook as a detour around the construction.
Street (comparing various segments) Range of Reduced Volume
MacArthur Street Went from an increase of 9% to –42.3
Traffic Engineer Rydell commented that the reductions are larger the farther west you go.
Street (comparing various segments) Range of Reduced Volume
Noble View - 26.5% (one segment only)
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that speeds were up and down, and Staff found that where humps were installed either the speeds dropped or they were not high to begin with so they did not have a problem. He reported that humps were installed on General, Trudie, Enrose, and one on MacArthur for a total of 12 humps.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment D with a map of traffic count locations showing the change in speed and volume. He pointed out that on Enrose speeds went from either no change to a 4 mph drop in the 85th percentile speed. On Trudie speeds went from a 2 mph drop to a 7 mph drop east of Bayend. On General west of Bayend they saw good reductions of 3- to 4 mph, and the community got what they wanted. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that there does not appear to be any volume spillover. He explained that the percentage drop took place on the “big three”—Enrose, General, and Trudie—where the humps were installed, and how it related to the reduction he saw on the side streets. He explained that when Staff talked about a multi-phase approach, the phases down the road were always there to protect the spillover onto the other neighborhood streets. He suggested that with the wide variety of volumes, he does not believe that volumes were increased much, and there is much less volume now than when they took the “before” counts in March through June of 2005, and the situation is significantly better than before.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachments E through M, using Crestwood Street east of MacArthur Street (Attachment E) as an example of prehistoric counts with 5,400 vehicles per day on this section of Crestwood. He pointed out the drop in volume during spring break (4,040), an increase in volume before installation and during construction on Western (5,501), and the drop in volume after installation (5,156).
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment F (Crestwood Street west of Bayend Drive), noting a pre-count while school was in session of 491 vehicles, dropping to 313 during spring break, rising to 708 before speed hump installation, and balanced out at 520.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment G (Enrose Avenue north of General Street) with a pre-count of 2,112, dropping to 1,444 during spring break, rising to 3,466 before speed hump installation, and dropping to 2,240 after installation, showing an increase in volume of 6% over the pre-count figure.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment H (Enrose Avenue north of Summerland Street), and commented that there was limited data for this location. Available data showed a pre-count of 4,218 and 3,857 after installation, indicating a drop in volume on Enrose.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment I (General Street east of Enrose) with a pre-count of 2,453, dropping to 1,880 during spring break, rising to 2,942 before speed hump installation, and dropping to 1,962 after installation, showing a decrease in volume of 20% from the beginning of the project until now.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment J (General Street east of Bayend Drive) with a pre-count of 3,243 with speeds of 37 mph, dropping to 2,374 during spring break, rising to 3,440 before speed hump installation, and dropping to 2,826 after installation with speeds of 34 mph, showing reductions in both speed and volume.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment K (Summerland Street east of Wycliff Avenue) and commented that Staff had no volume data for the pre-count, but the speed count was high at 38 mph. He pointed out that during spring break, volume was 551; before speed hump installation the volume was 1,230, and 1,053 after installation, and speeds dropped to 32 mph. He commented that he would discuss the spring break volume of 551 as part of the recommendations.
Commissioner Mevers noted a significant change in the volume after passing Wycliff, and asked where the traffic is going.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that traffic would be coming east on Summerland and going up Wycliff.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment L (Trudie Drive east of Bayend Drive) and reported that Staff got exactly what they were looking for as far as speed reduction; that speed went from 34 mph at the pre-count down to 24 mph after speed hump installation. He explained that volume was 3,079 at pre-count, 2,831 during spring break, 4,423 before speed hump installation, and 2,807 after installation. He commented that Staff received many phone calls asking what was going on when traffic volume was at 4,423. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that there was not only a significant reduction in volumes before and after speed hump installation, but also a large reduction from the prehistoric counts until now.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment M (Trudie Drive west of Bayend Drive) and commented that Staff saw a good reduction in speeds from 35 mph to 30 mph between spring break and after installation of speed humps. He pointed out that pre-count volume was 1,621, spring break volume was 1,240, before speed hump installation the volume was 2,448 and after installation the volume was 1,325. He commented that there is less volume now than when the project started, so people have adjusted their driving habits.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked, regarding the before and after speed counts, if speed was measured on the approach to or departure from the speed humps; he asked where Staff is measuring the speed.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that they typically measure between speed humps, although at the humps east and west of Bayend, Staff tried to measure at least 200’ from the humps. He stated that he also went out with the radar gun and did some speed profiles approaching, going over, and departing the humps to obtain the maximum speeds in those areas; he discovered that some drivers went over the humps at 18- to 20 mph, some drivers slowed down more than necessary, and some drivers went over them very fast. He commented that the 18- to 20 mph range is the best for a residential street.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that after analysis of the data, Staff is recommending that they continue this project, which is why Staff is bringing it before the Commission; that they want to know if the Commission considers this work complete, or if the Staff recommendations merit continuing work on selected issues.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reviewed the recommendations as follows:
Recommendation 1: “Initiate discussions with the City of Los Angeles to consider actions to address speeding on Summerland Street”. He explained that Summerland is a joint jurisdiction, and Rancho Palos Verdes cannot act independently; he has had preliminary discussions with LADOT (Los Angeles Department of Transportation) before the project was implemented, so they are on the same page. He stated that, because the speeds are relatively high on Summerland—up from 4 mph west of Wycliff to 37 mph for prevailing speed, and up from 2 mph to 32 mph east of Wycliff—saying that this street might require humps. He stated that Staff thinks some discussion with LADOT is worthwhile.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if Staff knows when the speeding occurs—if it is during drop off at schools or in the evening.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that there is a lot of speeding between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm, and it could be students going to Marymount College or parents picking up children from school, but it is not people commuting during peak hours.
Recommendation 2 to “Initiate discussions with the Mira Vista Homeowners Association Board to address speeding on the following street segments:
a. General Street between Bayend Drive and Crestwood Street;
Traffic Engineer Rydell pointed out that the General Street location is in front of a school, and is where the speeding is occurring between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm. He reported that the City installed 15 mph speed limits when school children are present per the vehicle code. He explained that there is not much speeding during that period, but speeds at other times of day went up from 32 mph to 34 mph.
Commissioner Wright referred to General Street in front of the school. He commented that it is a steep downhill grade and asked why the humps and stops further up the hill were not continued down to Crestwood.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded because there were humps and stop signs, and Staff thought that going with the speed limit through that area would be effective; they are trying to keep the speed humps off the school bus route because it is a circular route. He explained that they generally do not want to put humps where there is a lot of bus traffic, and Staff thinks that that side of General could use some attention to address that particular issue.
Commissioner Mevers commented that it is surprising that when school is in session both sides of that street have many cars parked, causing poor visibility, and asked if there are still speeders.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that the issue is what time they are speeding; that during those periods when the school is having arrival and dismissal, speeding is not as bad for the reason Commissioner Mevers described. He explained that with vehicles parked, congestion, and a narrow roadway, drivers could not speed through the area.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that although this section of General is quite wide, you could not have cars parked on both sides and still have two cars feel comfortable traveling in opposite directions.
Commissioner Wright stated that from his observations during the period in question it seems to him that cars coming down the hill accelerate as soon as they pass the humps and speed to Crestwood without consideration for the school or anything else.
Traffic Engineer Rydell agreed, and suggested that drivers are trying to make up time, and this is why Staff would like to discuss that segment with the homeowners’ association (HOA). He continued with Recommendation 2 (b):
b. MacArthur Street between Trotwood Avenue and Bayend Drive.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that there is not much volume on this segment, but there are high speeds of up to 36 mph, and Staff would like to discuss it with the HOA and find out if the neighborhood on that street is unhappy with it. He stated that there are other neighborhoods with higher speeds such as Jaybrook. He explained that if the Commission approves the recommendations and authorizes Staff to continue researching these issues, they could get opinions from the neighborhood. He stated that speed humps are very contentious, and Staff receives phone calls equally for and against them; he suggested that there might also be other concerns. Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that the volumes are what they are; that on General, Enrose, and Trudie, the speed humps and devices in place are all those neighborhoods will ever get, other than the section around the school. He stated that Staff is not in a position to try to reduce volumes because these streets are neighborhood collectors and there are not many routes to get off the hill. He explained that if the Commission approves the recommendations, it is his intent to limit the discussion to specific issues.
Recommendation 3: “Provide speed and volume count data to the Lomita Sheriff Station for their use during enforcement”:
Traffic Engineer Rydell commented that this recommendation is self-explanatory.
Chair Shepherd emphasized that when Staff meets with the HOA, if the Commission approves the recommendation, the discussion should remain narrow and focused so that the HOA does not take them back to the beginning. She explained that the requests made by the neighborhood to the Commission in the petitions were fulfilled. Chair Shepherd acknowledged Traffic Engineer Rydell’s intention to stay focused, and stated that her comments are intended to support his statement.
Traffic Engineer Rydell expressed appreciation for Chair Shepherd’s support.
Chair Shepherd explained that, in the past, discussions got out of control, and if she thought that would happen, she would not want to approve the recommendations; she would say let the HOA come here. She explained that she would prefer that these issues not come back to the Commission until Staff has had a preliminary meeting with the HOA leadership. She commented that the leadership does not represent the entire neighborhood; that the Commission needs to hear what the leadership thinks, but again, what does the neighborhood want, because three or four people telling the Commission what they think is different from hearing what that demographic area wants. She explained that this has happened in the past.
Commissioner Willens asked if there is any consensus regarding how these solutions are working out for these neighborhoods.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he does not get many phone calls.
Senior Engineer Dragoo explained that the phone calls he gets are split between satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Chair Shepherd stated that she would not use audience participation as grounds for making a decision because she does not believe that is a good gauge; that she used to think so, but does not anymore.
Sgt. Creason stated that he used to get calls all the time, but recently he has had only two calls regarding Summerland.
Chair Shepherd stated that this neighborhood has residents who will not be satisfied no matter what the City does; that anyone living in that neighborhood will eventually be impacted by the vehicles that go through there. She explained that there are 600 homes in that neighborhood, and ten trips a day is 6,000 trips going through their own neighborhood before considering any other vehicles. She commented that if they can get to 51% they are doing a good job. She explained that she has noticed an improvement just from her observations.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that the calls are equal and are dropping off in number; that in 2005 there were still people who were very passionate about the concept, and he thinks that they are seeing what the City is doing and are becoming comfortable that something has been done, and it is working. He reported that this information is on the website including the attachments to the Staff report, and this provides Staff with another tool when people call.
Commissioner Bilezerian suggested that the attachments be posted in PDF format rather than PowerPoint so they can be viewed with the Adobe Reader.
Senior Engineer Dragoo stated that he could do this in the next 30 days as requested by Chair Shepherd.
Commissioner Parfenov asked what the speed limit is around the Crestwood Elementary School.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it is 25 mph except when children are present, and then it is 15 mph.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that speeds are 33 mph on Crestwood and 34 mph on General Street around the school; he asked what Staff would do to address this issue around the school between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm when children are present.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that he wants to talk with the HOA if the Commission approves the recommendations, and his first thought is that Deputy Knox is doing a very good job of enforcement.
Commissioner Wright commented that the ticket for speeding is very expensive. He asked for clarification regarding when children are present; does that not mean when children are actually out of school, on the street, not when school is in session.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that it means when children are outside of the fence.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that this section of the street around the school is quite wide, which makes it possible for speeding; he asked if Staff has considered assessing this section visually or using a center divider.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff is not at that point yet so he cannot answer that. He explained Staff has many tools they can use, but they want to focus on enforcement first; that Staff has fiscal obligations in this type of work as well, in addition to working with Senior Engineer Dragoo and getting his approval.
Commissioner Wright commented that, based on his observations, it seems that speed humps continuing on Crestwood plus enforcement would do a lot toward solving the problem.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that one of his thoughts is, hypothetically, that if Staff uses this approach again with construction he would want to make certain that they have significant support for it to avoid past problems with this issue. He used Via Rivera as an example of the controversies encountered.
Commissioner Wright commented that the fact that the school is there adds another dimension to the problem.
Chair Shepherd asked if the leadership of the HOA has seen the report and if they responded.
Senior Engineer Dragoo replied that they have seen the report but have not yet responded.
Chair Shepherd wondered if Staff could get a response from the HOA before asking them if they have a speeding problem on General, as opposed to planting a seed to start something that may not be an issue for them. She stated that the Commission knows what the issue is from a safety standpoint, and they must investigate it regardless; but she suggested letting them volunteer the information to Staff first before telling them what they should be seeing. She suggested finding out if they are receiving complaints from their membership.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that this is what he is trying to do, and is trying to get authorization from the Commission to have that discussion with the HOA. He explained that he is focusing on two locations for that purpose, and he is not opening it up for a broad debate. He explained that he can just look at the numbers at these locations to see the problem, and if there is an issue there the HOA will let him know—if they do not, Staff can just work with the Sheriff and enforce the speed limits.
Chair Shepherd asked Traffic Engineer Rydell if he intends to contact the school bus contractor to find out if speed humps are an issue for maneuverability of a school bus; are they small vans, are they large vehicles.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that they are large school buses.
Chair Shepherd asked how the Fire Department feels about speed humps.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that when Staff discussed this with the Palos Verdes PTA they were initially strongly opposed to the humps; they thought humps would damage the buses and cause discomfort for the riders.
Chair Shepherd clarified that it is a tricky situation because it is the City’s road, but not their school.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that he is not offering speed humps; he just wants to talk with the HOA to get their perception of the problem, and Staff brought this to the Commission to find out if they approve or disapprove.
Commissioner Klein commented on what he has seen in other cities near schools such as a flashing amber light and a 15 mph sign with wording “when light is flashing” so there is no confusion, and the light is timed for certain hours. He suggested that adding the visual of the flashing light plus the sign might slow the vehicles down even more.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it can have that effect, but is not sure that there is a speeding problem when the 15 mph limit is enforced. He explained that they are having this problem during other periods of the day and they would be re-enforcing something where they do not need to cause an expense.
Commissioner Wright commented that, psychologically, it goes back to the stop sign and the fact that the humps are gone, and now drivers have a big wide road and it is time to get on the gas again—here is Crestwood and it is time to get out of here.
Chair Shepherd cautioned that the Commission should stay focused because there is no Motion on the floor. She asked for a Motion.
Commissioner Bilezerian clarified that Staff is asking the Commission to vote on whether Staff should approach the HOA regarding the issue on General Street and MacArthur Street.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that in addition, Staff is asking for approval to initiate discussions with the City of Los Angeles regarding speeding on Summerland Street.
Commissioner Bilezerian referred to the segment of General Street between Bayend Drive and Bernice Drive (W) which showed an ADT change of –614 and a positive 2 mph 85th percentile speed change in the “Count Data Change” column of the spreadsheet (Attachment A). He explained that he was unable to visit the location, and asked if there are any stop signs for northbound traffic on General near Bernice.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that there is a stop sign at Bayend, but nothing at Bernice.
Commissioner Bilezerian clarified that there are no stop signs from Bayend to Crestwood.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that this is correct.
Commissioner Bilezerian acknowledged that stop signs are used for right-of-way and not for speeding; however, he asked if Staff has accident data for the intersections of Bernice that would indicate that stop signs would be warranted.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff has that information by location but not by accident—that there is an accident log.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked about pedestrians.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff would be looking at that, but that is beyond this point and he does not have an answer yet.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if Staff feels that, if the Commission does nothing, the residents would contact the City to ask that something be done.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he has not received any calls yet and does not know if they would call.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked, in view of the existing conditions today, if Staff feels strongly that they want to approach the HOA.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he wants to find out how they feel about it, and he thinks the City owes it to them because they were so involved in this process. He explained that he is trying to focus on locations where he has interest as opposed to the entire neighborhood. He stated that there is a crosswalk on General at Bernice West, but does not know the history; that there may be pedestrian issues, and he really wants to investigate this to find what may be important.
Commissioner Bilezerian questioned that when Staff refers to the HOA, do they invite everyone who lives within the area or just notify the HOA and let them contact their members.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that, especially based on Chair Shepherd’s comments, his approach would be to contact the Board and reiterate what Chair Shepherd said. He stated that, in the past, Staff worked with the HOA directly. However, in view of Chair Shepherd’s comments, he would inform the Board that the Commission must see strong evidence that the HOA has the support of the membership; that it is not five people making the decision—it is five people representing the will of their entire neighborhood.
Commissioner Bilezerian referred to a comment about 600 people, and asked if it would be fair to say that if there is not a turnout of a certain percentage, regardless of what they say, there is not enough support to approve or deny an action.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff has recently had that situation.
Chair Shepherd had a question regarding the petition process on installation and engineering; that there is a requirement for a certain percentage of the homeowners before anything is installed, and if the HOA was to recommend some type of engineering device installation, the City would have to go through that process all over again. She explained that is her concern for suggesting that Staff wait and see what the HOA says about this before posing the question to them—not that the Commission should not be proactive, but let’s see what they say.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he thinks it is appropriate to be proactive from that standpoint—not proactive telling the HOA what needs to be done. He explained that this was a huge project for the City, probably one of the larger ones.
Chair Shepherd asked what was said to the HOA when the data was provided; was there a cover letter that said here is your data, please review it and give us your analysis, or give us your feedback within the next 30 days—did we approach them in that way.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that it was similar to that; it was sent through e-mail approximately two weeks ago, and he has been in contact with Steve Laponge but nothing specific. In response to Chair Shepherd’s question about who initiated contact, he said “both”, that they have been playing phone tag, and the information was only sent to Steve. He stated that Christine Denton was called.
Chair Shepherd asked if she got a copy.
Response inaudible (possibly from audience)
Chair Shepherd suggested that if that was the approach, referring to the cover letter, it would initiate a response from the HOA, and she is not hearing that Staff received a response.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that that is fine as long as Staff made a proactive attempt to contact them and discuss the project; that, in the absence of a response, Staff, will proceed with their plan.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
Mark Wells, 1858 Trudie Drive, explained that he lives five houses above Western, and has lived there since May 4, 1955. He reported that he is a Board member of the homeowners’ association, and he thanked the Staff, Commission, and everyone who helped them with the traffic calming, and commented that for him personally it has been a real blessing. He said he has seen the numbers and speed drop near his house. Speaking as a Board member, Mr. Wells stated that he could not supply an analysis at this time because the Board has not seen the whole project. He explained that he would be subjectively and objectively making his points to the Board, and he agrees that the Board will need to be proactive on the limited scope of this—the speed on MacArthur, Summerland, and General. Mr. Wells stated that they fought a big battle, that they had a war to get the speed humps and the positions for all four steps. He reported that their Board, their homeowners’ association, and the entire east side of Rancho Palos Verdes have a bigger fish to fry than just this traffic calming. He stated that all homeowners automatically become members of the association, and suggested that maybe it should be up to him to get the word out to the homeowners to see if they have enough interest to work with the Traffic Safety Commission. He stated that if they do not help the Commission, why should the Commission help them. On a personal note, in traffic calming on MacArthur, General, and Summerland he suggested that it would behoove the Commission to work with City of Los Angeles. He suggested that there may come a time when they decide to make Summerland and MacArthur one-way streets going from east to west only to try and slow people down on General and other streets. Mr. Wells added that, because Summerland is part of Los Angeles, it is necessary to work with them. He reiterated that their Board must be proactive to help the Commission if they are willing to help the homeowners; he will report to his Board and Steve Laponge on the findings at this meeting.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
Commissioner Willens moved that the Commission adopt Recommendations 1 through 3 as set forth by the Traffic Engineer in the Staff Report on circle page 3, seconded by Commissioner Klein.
Commissioner Parfenov referred to discussions of volumes on circle pages 4 and 5, and pointed out Item 5 (on circle page 5) stating, “The data does not appear to indicate that the installation of the speed humps diverted traffic onto other neighborhood streets”. He explained that he drove to the area today around 3:00 pm which was the time referred to earlier. He explained that he focused on Jaybrook because Traffic Engineer Rydell mentioned that no one would take it as a detour toward Trudie because it is so narrow. He reported that as he was driving this route he looked at the speeding data on circle page 6 (Attachment A) of 27 mph coming out of Trotwood and 31 mph near Western Avenue (Attachment C on circle page 8) and he was running into the curves. He observed that two cars could not possibly go through because there are cars parked on both sides of the street. Commissioner Parfenov said that he was praying that no one would go 31 mph into the curve. He referred to the two sites under Recommendation 2 (a and b) and suggested amending the Motion to add a subheading (c) to talk about Jaybrook because obviously people are not taking a detour there, and used the data as a basis for the request. He suggested that possibly local residents speed there.
Commissioner Willens commented that he believes the maker of the Motion must make the amendment.
Commissioner Klein commented that anyone can propose an amendment but it cannot be accepted without a vote.
Chair Shepherd directed her comments to Staff and stated that Jaybrook does not seem to be an issue and she does not want to add something unnecessary. She asked Traffic Engineer Rydell to explain and convince her that it should not be added.
Traffic Engineer Rydell agreed with Chair Shepherd and explained that the volumes are very low, speeds went up, and that may be where enforcement works well; that Staff is very limited in what they can do from an engineering perspective. He reported that the volumes on Jaybrook are miniscule.
Chair Shepherd asked if Staff is receiving complaints from anyone on Jaybrook.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that there are no complaints.
Commissioner Parfenov referred to Attachment A in the Percent over Speed Limit Change column and noted percentage changes of 34% and 21%, and commented that it is the largest increase of all streets that were measured.
Commissioner Wright explained that the percentages are based on the volume and, if the volume were low, even a small number of vehicles speeding would make it appear much larger as a percentage.
Chair Shepherd commented that it might be two vehicles.
Commissioner Parfenov responded that it is likely the residents on this street, not the other people, who are taking detours who contribute to speeding.
Chair Shepherd stated that when saying that it is a significant number it might be two vehicles, and she does not believe it is significant enough to bring it up as a major point of discussion in the calming program at this point. Chair Shepherd referred to the history that brought the Commission to this point, including a meeting with 80 speakers; if it were two or three cars, she would not want to put anyone through that again.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that Jaybrook would not qualify for traffic calming because the volumes are so low; that General and MacArthur do qualify because the volumes went up and speeds were high, and that is why those two streets are included.
Commissioner Willens agreed with Chair Shepherd because they both went through this process from the beginning and would not want to go through anything close to that again. He stated that he agrees with her to the extent that he does not want to plant the seeds in anyone’s mind and agrees that it should be limited to the specific elements, and that seems to be acceptable to Mr. Wells. He stated that, although he might have said that he likes the idea of letting the HOA digest this and come to the Commission if they have a problem, the reality is that Mr. Wells is here and it is not going to be a secret. Commissioner Willens explained that as soon as the HOA has a meeting, they would know what the Commission discussed and they will talk about it, and whether the Commission brings it to them or they bring it to the Commission, it does not really matter at this point. He stated that he is in support of this Motion as it is.
Chair Shepherd explained that had Mr. Wells not spoken or been here, she might have amended the recommendations—not to initiate a discussion—but the discussion has already taken place. She stated that she is in favor of the Motion.
This section of the agenda is for audience comments for items not on the agenda.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
Mark Wells, 1858 Trudie Drive, stated that General Street and the speeds are a problem, but these are little fish. He explained that in northwest San Pedro on the east side of Western Avenue a gentleman named Bob Bisno purchased a property with 62 acres of land, and intends to build 2,300 units of housing (Ponte Vista) including family housing and a senior section. Mr. Wells explained that in his proposal he has 2,300 units bringing approximately 5,500 vehicles onto Western Avenue, explaining that there will be only one entrance to the area and that would be Western Avenue. He reported that Mary Star of the Sea high school is building a new high school at the bottom of that former Navy land, and Mr. Bisno will provide an access road to that high school from Western Avenue for faculty members and students. He reported that Mr. Bisno is proposing to move Eastview Little League to the top of his area just off of Western Avenue, so everyone who plays baseball, all the parents, grandparents, and fans will have to go on Western Avenue. He explained that the west side of the Ponte Vista project is in Rancho Palos Verdes, and the closest front door to a single-family home, or anything that Mr. Bisno builds, will be in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. He suggested that traffic will be more than just a nightmare, and the battles that the HOA and the Commission fought were with the small 600-home Mira Vista community. He added that there is also the Mira Costa section, AKA Caddington; Rolling Hills Riviera, which has a lot more houses than Mira Vista; and there is a condominium town home project on the east side of Western, almost in Rancho Palos Verdes. He stated that he expects that in the coming months and years the Commission will see a lot of residents coming to them about traffic calming, and he does not know what the Commission can do about it because it is being built in the City of Los Angeles. Mr. Wells predicted that it is going to get bad, and he encouraged the Commission and Staff to learn about this monstrous project and the LAUSD high school that may be built which is 2,025 seats that may take up 15.03 acres of land. Mr. Wells thanked the Commission for letting him give them a heads up, and explained that Ponte Vista has a website with a map right across from Green Hills.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
Chair Shepherd stated that she is aware of it, and explained that there will probably be a task force or some group formed that will probably include a representative from the Traffic Safety Commission. She explained that, because Western Avenue does not belong to Rancho Palos Verdes, there is not much the City can do there except be aware of the project. She thanked Mr. Wells for presenting this information to the Commission.
Commissioner Mevers asked if the City of Los Angeles would require a traffic safety study.
Chair Shepherd responded that a traffic study has been completed, and that this has been in progress for a long time. She explained that if everything that is proposed is built, including the high schools, they are talking about eminent domain, and Mr. Bisno does not want that. She explained that it is obvious what the traffic will be like.
Commissioner Mevers asked if there are any restrictions regarding traffic volume on an arterial road.
Chair Shepherd responded that Western Avenue is already categorized as an “F”, which is the worst it can be.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Western Avenue is a State highway under the California Department of Transportation’s (CALTRANS) jurisdiction.
Senior Engineer Dragoo explained that CALTRANS has a complete set of criteria that they would require of the developer, or that they are bound by State law to require, for the development or when a developer adds traffic to a roadway
Commissioner Mevers questioned that if the projected traffic exceeds these limits, would that limit the development Mr. Bisno can build.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded yes—the City of Los Angeles policies require a traffic impact study that will be reviewed by all agencies having a vested interest in the situation. He explained that in any situation where an intersection is above a certain level of service, it is degraded; that there are levels of significance that if it is degraded beyond a certain level, the developer is required to provide mitigation.
RECEIVE AND FILE:
1. Public Works Department Report
Traffic Engineer Rydell advised that all the items below are traffic-calming issues that are in a holding pattern. He encouraged the Commission to proceed with the update of the Traffic Calming Plan because three neighborhoods are waiting and it is not appropriate to come before the Commission until Staff knows what tools are at their disposal.
a. Golden Meadow Drive Update
He suggested that the Commission may want to recommend an annual budget for traffic calming to fine tune the funds the City wants to spend for this project, and commented that most agencies do that; and, in conjunction with that, develop a prioritization list because the three projects cannot be handled simultaneously.
Chair Shepherd stated that the update is in progress and the Committee would notify Staff when it is ready. She confirmed that Traffic Engineer Rydell is only available on Tuesday afternoons before 3:00 pm.
Traffic Engineer Rydell distributed a vehicle comparison chart, explaining that the RV issue would be scheduled for the meeting next month and that this chart will be useful for that meeting. He suggested that there should be more discussion on this issue before final approval to send it to the City Council. Traffic Engineer Rydell pointed out that the chart shows the dimensions for different classifications of vehicles, and commented that there are trucks that would qualify as an oversized vehicle and there may be RVs that would not qualify.
Chair Shepherd asked if Traffic Engineer Rydell saw what she provided from the City of La Palma.
Traffic Engineer Rydell said yes, and explained that his source was a website that listed 440 vehicles, and each vehicle can be reviewed individually for specific information.
2. Other Traffic Safety Commission Business
Commissioner Klein represented the Subcommittee on Technology in presenting the report: “Application Technology to Traffic Management”, “Preliminary Technology Sub-Committee Report to RPV Traffic Safety Commission, May 22, 2006”. He explained that most of the information was assembled by Commissioner Mevers with recommendations from himself and Commissioner Parfenov. Commissioner Klein explained as background information that the City Council asked the Commission to explore technology applicable to traffic management, resulting in the formation of the Technology Sub-Committee, which was appointed by the Traffic Safety Commission in February 2006 to respond to this request.
Commissioner Klein reported that the Subcommittee (LK) first needed to know if a remedy is a good one and presented the Measures of Effectiveness that were considered as follows, explaining that everything presented is a first cut and is open to suggestions:
Measures of Effectiveness to assist in evaluating potential technologies to control traffic volume and speed
Traffic volume and speed reduction in %
Commissioner Klein continued reviewing the remaining Subcommittee (LK) analysis as follows:
Behavioral conditions that give rise to traffic volume and speed issues
Drivers will tend to drive at a speed at which they are comfortable
Commissioner Klein commented that these drivers would probably ignore the speed limits.
Drivers will select routes that are perceived to afford best efficiency (max speed – min distance)
Physical conditions that feed undesirable driver behavior
Residential street characteristics that promote comfort levels for speeds in excess of legislated 25 mph
o Long wide straight sections
Streets that provide convenient and efficient connection between arterial routes
Commissioner Klein commented that, in addition, this item would include any streets where there is no traffic enforcement by Deputy Knox.
Application Time- Line for improving traffic management in RPV
Commissioner Klein explained that the near, intermediate, and long term time definitions presented are just guidelines because the Subcommittee did not have knowledge of all the factors that influence these times, such as budget, technology, maturity, and City priorities (LK).
Near Term (0 to 2 – 3 years)
o Enhance or increase application of present methods used for traffic management
Commissioner Klein explained that the Subcommittee’s contribution to the second item would deal with issues involving traffic safety, modifications to the roadway, evacuation routes that might need signage, the possibility of a need for one-way streets to increase throughput and decrease evacuation time, contra flow lanes to accommodate ingress of emergency vehicles, and related issues.
Chair Shepherd commented on a point that the Technology Subcommittee (LK) could come back to later; that she spoke with the Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Committee and he was very interested in having a representative from this Commission and one from their Commission discuss these issues. She explained that they want near-term to be 0 to six months.
Commissioner Klein explained that the intermediate term timeframe would also be an issue for discussion by that committee.
Intermediate Term (2 – 3 years to 6 years)
Commissioner Klein suggested keeping in mind that it might take time to get money to implement everything that must be done.
o Facilitate and implement a change from reactive to proactive traffic management approaches
Long Term (>6 years)
o Sensor suites to provide City-wide near real-time traffic movement data for computer control (UTCS or adaptive) of traffic signals (?)
Commissioner Klein suggested that the above could assist the Sheriff and other agencies; that perhaps the City can install adaptive traffic signal systems with synchronized signals adjusted to the real-time volume of the vehicles on the street, and deferred to Traffic Engineer Rydell regarding this possibility.
o Speed measuring display devices (e.g., radar controlled signs or trailers) to improve vehicle speed management, and trailblazer signs
Commissioner Klein suggested that, if the Sheriff or the Traffic Engineer has data that show this to be effective, he thinks the City should consider installing more radar signs; that they are solar powered, and can be set to alert drivers going more than ten mph above the speed limit. He also recommended trailblazer directional signs to guide drivers to recommended routes.
o Application of interactive visualization software to identify roads where it is dangerous to park oversize or other vehicles, other applications of software TBD.
Commissioner Klein reported that the Subcommittee collected literature on tools available in the market that are used for this purpose, and they will pass this information to the City to determine suitability.
Near-Term technology applications
Single Point Measurement
Commissioner Klein acknowledged that the following might be somewhat controversial.
o Photo identification of speeding vehicles
Use data for City-transmitted post card requesting registered owner to assist City in its effort to control speeding
Reinforced reminder of excess speed
o Technology enhancements to the use of multiple residential yard signs
- Low-power speed measuring equipment placed (on long sections of roads) about every 50 to 60 meters
LED shows or flashes yellow for below threshold speed and red for above threshold speed (or can flash warning that speed is excessive)
Intermediate-Term technology applications
Develop three-dimensional geographic map of City streets
o Identify sections of traffic conduits with problematical physical conditions conducive to undesired speed/flow conditions.
Commissioner Klein commented that the visualization software could identify roads where the City does not want oversized vehicles to park in the hills, where the road is narrow or has curves, and other applications. He suggested that it could also be used to provide simulations for assessing routes that might be used in an emergency for evacuation of large areas.
Long-Term technology applications
Data on all vehicle movement within City collected continuously
Commissioner Klein reported that the US Department of Transportation project entitled Vehicle Infrastructure Information (VII) is a program that focuses on signalized intersections where vehicles will cause accidents. He explained that this is long term because, for this to work, vehicles must talk to each other and to the roadside—talk to the controller that controls the traffic signals. He explained that, with this communication, if a vehicle speed is measured to be in excess of a certain amount or is accelerating or decelerating beyond limits where it can stop at a red signal or a signal in transition, the green could be extended to allow the vehicle to get through the intersection safely.
o DOT launched the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) in 1997 (useful at signalized intersections where red-light running is an issue)
IVI is a complex undertaking with many hurdles to overcome
o However, with just vehicle speed and location data and using wide-area Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) with IEEE 802.11b Format, City-wide traffic flow can be monitored on a continuous basis and adaptive traffic management techniques applied.
- Some portions of Urban Traffic Control System (UTCS) software may be useful on these routes.
Proactive traffic management will require more and novel communication by the City with its citizenry.
A less expensive way to evaluate suggested traffic management and control techniques is needed (software vs. hardware).
Try to tailor traffic management techniques to human behavior characteristics in a manner that promotes adherence to regulations and avoids backlash.
Commissioner Klein invited comments at this time or later via e-mail.
Chair Shepherd thanked the Subcommittee for their work and asked that the presentation be e-mailed to the Commissioners so they can review it and note their questions. Senior Engineer Dragoo will e-mail the report.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that the Subcommittee looked at the cost of software that is commercially available, and found that it is user friendly and easy to upgrade. He explained that it could be used with the Ponte Vista project by inputting the 2,300 units to determine the traffic flow and what roads will be impacted and other issues.
Chair Shepherd stated that if the Commission has more specifics, they might want the Subcommittee to come back with more detail and demonstrate how that type of equipment will work and how much it will cost.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Approval of minutes of April 24, 2006
Chair Shepherd corrected the first paragraph on circle page 23 to read: “. . . education programand enforcement phase.
Commissioner Wright corrected paragraph 4 on circle page 23 to read “ . . . Staff would use the street survey the street had been surveyed to enable Staff to shoot radar for enforcement. He added that Traffic Engineer Rydell’s response was:
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it is scheduled for May 21 a residential street, so it did not have to be surveyed.
Chair Shepherd corrected paragraph 6 on circle page 30 to read: “. . . Rancho Palos Verdes to park it in a relative or friend’s driveway and street for weeks at a time, and she receives calls from her neighbors reporting that a strange car is parked in their driveway.
Chair Shepherd corrected paragraph 9 on circle page 31 to read “ . . . alternatives,.”the Council would prefer only one option.
Commissioner Klein moved to approve the Minutes of April 24, 2006 as amended, seconded by Commissioner Wright.
MEETING ADJOURNED AT 9:01 PM TO THE NEXT REGULAR MEETING OF THE TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION ON JUNE 26, 2006.