CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA
TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION
APRIL 23, 2007
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Shepherd called the meeting to order at 7:07 PM at the Hesse Park Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
ROLL CALL: PRESENT: Chair Shepherd, Vice Chair Willens, Commissioners Bilezerian, Kramer, Wells, and Wright
ABSENT: Commissioner Parfenov
ALSO PRESENT: Jack Rydell, Traffic Engineer, Wildan; Ron Dragoo, Senior Engineer, Public Works; Siamak Motahari, Senior Engineer, Public Works; Sgt. Paul Creason, Sheriff's Department; Frances M. Mooney, Recording Secretary
FLAG SALUTE: Commissioner Wright led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Commissioner Bilezerian moved to place Public Comments before the Sheriff’s Department Report, seconded by Commissioner Willens.
Chair Shepherd welcomed the two newly appointed Commissioners, David Kramer and Mark R. Wells. All Commissioners introduced themselves to the audience.
Subcommittee to program Traffic Safety Commission’s goals.
Chair Shepherd explained that the Traffic Safety Commission currently has a Traffic Calming Subcommittee that is wrapping up their findings. She reported that since traffic calming has much to do with this Commission’s goals, this Subcommittee would be turned over to the Traffic Safety Commission Goals Subcommittee.
Chair Shepherd reported that the Commission also has a Traffic Safety Commission Technology Subcommittee and expressed regret that Commissioner Parfenov, who is a member, is not present. She asked the Commissioners to think about a Technology Subcommittee that is needed at the City Council budget workshop. She reported that the City Council added additional tasks for the Traffic Safety Commission to their proposed milestones, and one of them was to create a subcommittee on technology to prepare proposals for adding technology to their traffic calming and prepare a draft to take to Sacramento. Chair Shepherd explained that she would like the Commissioners to consider working on that subcommittee for that purpose. She explained that she does not know the deadline for submitting a draft proposal to outline what can be done to change legislation, but it might be December 31, 2007.
Regarding other milestones, Chair Shepherd reported that by July 31, 2007 the Traffic Safety Commission is expected to report to City Council on plans to address speeding and parking issues. By November 31, 2007, Chair Shepherd reported that the City Manager would audit the Public Works traffic-engineering program, which does not have anything to do with Staff or the Commission, but is presented for information. She explained that this year, as part of the local safety goals, the Commission has been given deadlines and due dates that were not required in the past.
This section of the agenda is for audience comments for items not on the agenda.
Stanley and Marilyn Kritzer, 3832 Pirate Drive, appeared to request a status report on the proposed traffic signal at Palos Verdes Drive South (PVDS) and Forrestal Drive.
Chair Shepherd asked the Kritzers if they could communicate with Staff on a monthly basis instead of coming to the meetings to make it easier for them, and emphasized that it is entirely up to them.
Mr. Kritzer responded that they do not mind coming to the meetings every month as long as they can move the issue along.
Senior Engineer Dragoo reported that Public Works met with the Trump organization and discussed the traffic signal issue, and he was informed that the dollar amounts available for this project are being reviewed, so there is movement although it is creeping movement.
Mrs. Kritzer questioned if there is final approval yet.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that there is not, and explained that there is a group of issues being addressed by Public Works with the Trump organization and this is one of the issues; he believes they are down to seven issues at this time.
SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT REPORT:
Sgt. Creason reported on statistics for the last quarter of 2006, reporting 30 collisions compared to 28 for the same quarter of 2005 and 30 for 2004; citations were 499 for 2006, 354 in the same quarter of 2005, and 183 in 2004. He reported out that collisions are a few more than last year and the Deputies are writing approximately 100 more citations during the same period, and he believes they need to write even more citations to prevent accidents. Sgt. Creason reported that parking citations were slightly lower with 44 in 2004, 41 in 2005, and 28 in 2006. He stated that they were short of parking control officers and they now have two. He explained that the department is budgeted for three and is in the process of hiring the third officer.
Commissioner Wright asked if the Sheriff finds that accidents occurring now are moving around or if they are still in the same areas.
Sgt. Creason responded that most of the accidents are on the main arterials, and that is where they find the highest speeds.
Commissioner Wright asked if speed is the primary collision factor.
Sgt. Creason responded that that is correct.
Chair Shepherd asked Sgt. Creason to explain this information for the benefit of the audience and the new Commissioners.
Sgt. Creason explained that these numbers are presented to the City on a quarterly basis and it provides the City with a comparison of the current year with years past. He reported that part of the reason they have increased citations is that the Sheriff’s Department now has Deputy Chris Knox, and Deputy Greg Evans devotes more than one-third of his time to Rancho Palos Verdes (RPV).
Chair Shepherd asked if Deputy Evans is on a motorcycle.
Sgt. Creason responded that he is not; that Craig Yonke (phonetic) is a motorcycle Deputy. He added that over the past couple of months he and a CO.RE (Community Resource) Deputy investigated complaints of kids on motorcycles between the top of Crenshaw and down in the south. He explained that American Honda and the City, through some Cleet (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) funds, donated equipment. As a result, the Deputies are patrolling on motorcycles and expect to be out there more as the weather warms up.
Chair Shepherd asked how long the Sheriff’s Department has been doing that.
Sgt. Creason responded that it is a couple of years.
PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST TEMPORARY LANE MODIFICATION:
1. Consider public comments regarding the recent modification of travel lanes on Palos Verdes Drive East between San Ramon Drive and Ganado Drive.
Traffic Engineer’s Report
Traffic Engineer Rydell reviewed the history of this issue, explaining that the investigation of this situation was started in 2003 and was one of his first investigations when he became the City’s Traffic Engineer. He reported that as part of that original evaluation Staff made several improvements to try to address the concerns of residents. He explained that one improvement was to re-stripe Palos Verdes Drive East (PVDE) to give the southbound motorists turning into Ganado Drive a right-turn-only lane. Associated with that, Staff installed acceleration lanes for the motorists exiting Ganado onto both northbound and southbound PVDE. They took actions to eliminate parking on the southwest corner of PVDE and Ganado, and they took some actions to modify the striping on PVDE so that the two lanes merged into one lane before entering the right-turn-only lane at Ganado Drive. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the merge and the right-turn-only lane at Ganado were intended to address the following issues:
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that with those issues in mind Staff returned to the then Traffic Committee and these improvements were installed in the end of 2004. He identified the subject area on an aerial slide.
Traffic Engineer Rydell presented aerial views of the area before the tests referred to in Attachments A of his Staff report and before the delineators were installed. He explained that in the aerial of PVDE north of Crest Road there was a right-turn-only lane at the signal, there was a left-turn-only lane, and there were two through lanes. He reported that on the south side of Crest there were two through lanes that exited the intersection, and northbound there were two through lanes and a left-turn pocket. He explained that at Casilina the two southbound through lanes continued to Casilina and ended beyond Casilina, and northbound traffic had a left-turn pocket at Casilina, a northbound acceleration lane, and two through lanes. At Ganado he pointed out a right-turn-pocket, one through lane, and two northbound lanes; to the right of the southbound right-turn-pocket, Staff merged the southbound traffic into one lane before the right-turn-pocket. He explained that it was intended to get people off of the tail of people turning right onto Ganado as well as eliminate the issue of people continuing down the outside lane and disregarding the right-turn-only regulation, continuing through the intersection, and merging back into the through lane and past the intersection. Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that after these actions were taken they still had issues for a couple of years, and Staff received phone calls and comments from people, which consisted of the following:
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the Traffic Safety Commission and Staff intend to work with the community to evaluate PVDE on a comprehensive basis in its entirety to decide how they can best improve traffic safety and traffic flow. Public hearings will be held to determine what should be done to address the situation. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that because of the concern of many citizens in the subject area, the Commission directed Staff to implement temporary solutions immediately because they do not know how long the comprehensive evaluation will take. He explained that, with that in mind, Staff developed a test for the subject area, and that is what is presented at this meeting; that the test was intended to determine how traffic would flow if PVDE was reduced to two lanes from four lanes between Crest Road and Ganado Drive, and to better understand the driving behavior of motorists. Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that it was done as a test to be cost effective; they know that it is not pretty, but the intent was that by doing it this way the tools can be re-used and it was not costly, whereas if they had re-striped the area it would be a permanent solution and would be more expensive. He stated that they wanted to extend the southbound right-turn-only pocket at Ganado Drive to give drivers more room while turning right and give them a bigger opening as they turn. They wanted to eliminate the extra northbound through lane south of Casilina in an attempt to slow down traffic, and also eliminate the extra southbound through lane south of Crest to improve visibility and slow down traffic.
Traffic Engineer Rydell presented a slide showing the existing configuration north of Crest Road where Staff deleted the number two through lane, retained the right-turn lane on San Ramon Drive, retained the number one through lane, and they retained the left-turn pocket. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that Staff had implemented modifications based on community input, giving them a small acceleration lane for motorists turning right out of Crest Road, and merged them back into the single lane north of Casilina where a right-turn-only pocket was provided. Staff also provided a right-turn-only pocket at Casilina to the right of the intersection; and, south of the intersection, a small acceleration lane was provided similar to the one south of Crest Road. At Ganado Drive, Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that a 150’ right-turn pocket was provided and a 90’ opening, which allowed for 140’ to move over and slow down at a comfortable pace. In the northbound direction, Staff provided a small acceleration lane and moved motorists over to the number two lane as they went up the roadway.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that in addition to the data obtained before the test Staff took three days of counts for speed and volume while the test was in place. He stated that the area from Palos Verdes Drive South (PVDS) up to Diamonte Lane, which is north of Calle Aventura, is 35 mph. He presented the following counts obtained by Staff before the test:
North of Calle Aventura 41 mph (2006) 2 lanes
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that, during the test, Staff placed tubes across the roadway between Casilina and Ganado for three days from April 12 through April 14, 2007, which revealed a prevailing speed of 46 mph on the two-lane portion. He stated that northbound traffic was going approximately 4 mph slower than southbound traffic, but it averaged 46 mph. Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that based on that information and Staff’s research he explained that the City did not have the additional targeted Sheriff’s enforcement in 2004 when those counts were taken. He stated that this is important to remember because, on the portion of PVDS between Ganado and PVDE the speeds were 45 mph in 2004 and 41 mph in 2006 on a stretch of roadway where nothing changed other than the fact that they had the Sheriff’s enforcement in effect. He suggested keeping in mind that north of Ganado where it is four lanes in each direction there are limited areas where the Sheriff can pull off the road for enforcement purposes. He stated that this adversely affects their ability to effectively enforce the speed limit because they cannot stop in through travel lanes, adding that there is a turnout south of Ganado. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the counts north and south of Calle Aventura told Staff that for essentially the same situation there are higher speeds in the four-lane portions than in two-lane portions, and that supports what is already known; that once drivers enter the four-lane portion they accelerate and perform undesirable driver behavior until they get to the switchbacks. Because of that information, it supported Staff’s belief along with other information, that reducing four lanes to two lanes may have a positive effect on reducing speeds.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the accident history for the portion of PVDE between PVDS and Calle Aventura revealed 16 reported accidents during the three-year period ending December 2006. Twelve accidents occurred from Ganado Drive south, while four accidents occurred north of Ganado Drive, which includes the intersection of Ganado to PVDS. Eleven injuries resulted from these accidents; six were specifically attributed to excessive speed, and in five, the violation was failure to maintain a direct line of travel or improper turns resulting in people losing control of their vehicles. Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that one thing they may infer from this is that, because of the substantial number of accidents south of Ganado, southbound motorists who are speeding are continuing those behaviors down into the switchbacks and may be contributing to the accidents in that location. He suggested that accidents that happen south of Ganado might be the result of activities north of Ganado.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the temporary lane modification had several intentions, one being to reduce speeds currently in the mid 40 mph range in a posted 35 mph zone. He commented on the reasons this is necessary such as the roadways going through switchbacks, a college area, and a residential area. He explained that they wanted to improve visibility for motorists, address the merge traffic at Casilina, extend the right-turn lane at Ganado, make the roadway more consistent with the rest of PVDE, and reduce the number of potential conflicts for people turning out of Crest Road and Casilina Drive. Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that after Staff took the measurements, observed, and listened to the comments of the citizens, they prepared their findings as follows:
Ganado Drive Staff believes that the extended southbound right-turn-only pocket and bay were beneficial; the citizens have almost uniformly expressed approval.
Casilina Drive Staff believes that maintaining the southbound merge into one lane south of Casilina has significant benefits; (1) it maintains the integrity of the right turn on the pocket and, (2) it provides the Sheriffs with somewhere to stage when performing enforcement activities, and enforcement seems to be the best tool.
Enforcement Staff believes from their community feedback and observations that, in conjunction with their additional enforcement, adding more education about speeds and using radar enforcement would reduce speeds and prevent accidents.
Traffic Engineer Rydell presented a sketch, (Attachment A - PVDE: north of Ganado Drive) showing how Staff proposes to deal with these problems at Ganado by maintaining the 150’ right-turn pocket, maintain the 90’ bay, and keep the merge lane maneuver to one lane and restore it to the original configuration further north. He explained that this would provide the Deputies with staging areas for enforcement activities.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to another slide (Attachment A - PVDE: north of Crest Road) and explained that, knowing that they need to emphasize enforcement, Staff would like to install a refuge area for the motorists on the west side of PVDE between Crest Road and Calle Aventura. He stated that this would benefit the residents on that side of the roadway the opportunity to slow down and enter and exit their driveways and enter PVDE without contending with through traffic in the outside through lane. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that because of the high speeds, the interesting driving maneuvers going on, and the curvature of the roadway, providing these motorists with a way to get in and out of their driveways without having to fight through 45-mph traffic would increase safety. He stated that Staff proposes doing that by turning the outside lane from Calle Aventura, where it starts as one lane, almost to Crest into just a shoulder, very similar to Miraleste Drive where there is room for two lanes but is only one lane to provide a refuge area for residents. Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that this would not change anything for southbound motorists than what they have north of Calle Aventura; they would stay with one lane, and the refuge area would provide a staging area on the left side of the roadway for the Sheriff’s Department’s enforcement activities. By doing that north of Crest Road, he explained it would assist motorists making a right turn on red off of Crest, it would improve their visibility because it would eliminate the outside through traffic, and they would only have to contend with the northbound through traffic. He stated that this would put the right-turn pocket at Crest Road back to the way it was before the test.
Regarding areas that would be restored to pre-test conditions before the delineators, Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the northbound lanes of PVDE between Ganado and Crest would be restored to the original configuration. He explained that the southbound lanes immediately north of Crest would be essentially the same as before the right-turn pocket was provided, there would be no number two through lane, but the rest would be the same as originally. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the southbound lanes between Crest and Casilina would be restored to their original configuration because the citizens were not comfortable with a right-turn only pocket at Casilina.
Commission Questions of Staff
Commissioner Wells commented that it appears from the aerial views that there are two lanes northbound of PVDE starting at Ganado and continuing to Calle Aventura, and asked if two lanes to the south would remain.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that there would be a merge near Casilina into one lane, and Staff would revert the northbound lanes back to exactly what was there before the test, which were two lanes until they merged into one near Casilina.
Commissioner Wells asked if there would be one or two lanes between Casilina and Calle Aventura.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that there would be two lanes.
Commissioner Wells clarified that there is an acceleration lane coming out of Casilina for drivers making a left turn, and then there are two lanes; but he expressed confusion with the drawing showing two through lanes on northbound PVDE from Ganado, then slimming down at Casilina and opening back up from Casilina to Calle Aventura. He explained that he is wondering why that portion of northbound PVDE remains two lanes when the rest of PVDE, PVDS, and PVDN (Palos Verdes Drive North) are only one lane of traffic.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff’s recommendation now is to only make the changes that they believe have a strong benefit and are supported by the community; that the portions that they did not like, unless there was an overriding reason, will revert to the pre-test configuration.
Commissioner Wells commented that, as mentioned at the beginning of the presentation, Staff is studying the whole of PVDE, which is one lane in each direction but not northbound between Ganado and Calle Aventura.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that it is a separate project from the comprehensive study of PVDE, and is focused on a specific situation; the Commission and Staff originally thought that nothing would be done until they had the entire comprehensive study solutions, but there was strong sentiment that action was needed, at least on a temporary basis, sooner than that.
Commissioner Wells clarified that the area northbound between Ganado and Calle Aventura would be addressed later.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded affirmatively and explained that the comprehensive study will be considered very soon.
Commissioner Kramer thanked Traffic Engineer Rydell for his presentation and asked if bicycle traffic was considered, especially on the uphill lanes on both sides of Crest Road.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that bicycles would be considered during the comprehensive study, adding that the study will include equestrians, motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians; that this is why the Commission decided to wait for a full analysis to include all categories affected by any proposed actions. He explained that the comprehensive evaluation would provide an opportunity for tremendous community input to help the Commission understand how the community wants to use PVDE.
Commissioner Kramer asked if the striping presented at this meeting would be implemented now.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that this is only a Staff recommendation for the Commission to consider at this point, and some of the changes may not be supported now but may be supported when the study is complete.
Commissioner Wells expressed confusion regarding the pictured two northbound lanes with a left turn heading up Casilina Drive and a through lane on the outside. He asked if signage could be considered to warn drivers going up the number one lane northbound on PVDE that they are approaching a left-turn lane that they might want to avoid.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that what is pictured is what was in place as part of the test; that before the test there were markings and signs, and those will be restored.
Chair Shepherd referred to the safety zone or shoulder on the west side of PVDE, and commented that it looks very similar to the right-turn pocket that existed at Ganado when the residents complained several years ago and stated that the vehicles going southbound were very close to them before they has an opportunity to turn into the right-turn pocket. She stated that the residents requested that the City modify the right-turn pocket, which the Commission did and is now doing again. Chair Shepherd stated that what is presented looks like the previous right-turn pocket. She asked Traffic Engineer Rydell’s opinion about whether this might end up with the same problem because it is the same turn with the same movement.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that this recommendation would provide residents with exactly the same length of turn pocket. He suggested that if the Commission approves this concept, that when it is designed it be promulgated for comment very substantially from the communities as well as the Commission before it is implemented. He suggested keeping in mind that the house with the worst visibility is the one closest to the intersection, and he is trying to give them some relief.
Chair Shepherd pointed out the location of the house under discussion and the short driveway.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that drivers are approaching a signal and some people are slowing for a turn, and drivers going downhill are picking up speed and going around a curve at Ganado where it is straighter and flatter. He suggested that when it is time to consider approving it is the time when these issues must be considered.
Chair Shepherd commented that many residents further north have a similar situation exiting their driveways and they will ask what the City will do for them. She suggested that is something that will occur and stated that all residents off PVDE need assistance. She asked about the width, if the width is a car width.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that a parking lane is typically 8’, a traveling length is 12’, and it depends on how wide you want to make it; that Staff wants to keep the travel lane at 12’ for the through lane, and the rest depends on how much space is left and what is appropriate. He explained that what is presented is a conceptual design for the Commission to consider if Staff is heading in the right direction.
Chair Shepherd asked if this is a “no parking” zone in the Staff recommendation.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded yes; that vehicles should not park there because it would defeat the purpose of trying to provide an area for enforcement by the Sheriff’s Department and increased visibility from the driveways.
Chair Shepherd stated that it could occur, and suggested that it could be considered a safety zone.
Commissioner Wright asked if something could be posted at the beginning of the right-turn pocket to specify that it is a safety zone so that drivers do not use that as a through lane to make the right turn.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that all he would recommend at this point is raised pavement markers, although he is not inclined to go that route because they still have bicycles. He explained that Staff learned from this test that they could not engineer good behavior.
Chair Shepherd explained the rules for speakers to the audience regarding the three-minute time limit, and asked speakers to state their name and address.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
Betty Riedman, 3668 Cliffsite Drive, explained that she is extremely glad that the Commission is leaving the northbound lanes the same because it is extremely difficult to make a left turn coming out of Ganado onto PVDE. She reported that bicyclists get into the right lane and go through the signal, and she almost hit a bicyclist recently because the person just shot right through the light. She commented that she does not know how the City will deal with that, but she said that it seems that when there were traffic bumps the bicyclists did the same thing. As for the rest of PVDE, she explained that they would have to learn to live with it; she does not have a problem with four lanes, but she is used to it. Ms. Riedman referred to the portion of Traffic Engineer Rydell’s presentation regarding the number of cars traveling that area, and asked if Staff can find information about the volume of traffic traveling the rest of PVDE or has a traffic study been done on that yet.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff has taken counts all along PVDE, and they know that south of Ganado there are 3,000 vehicles a day; between Ganado and Crest it is slightly under 5,000 vehicles a day, and the volume goes up as they approach Miraleste.
Ms. Riedman asked if this information could be obtained from Staff.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it is available.
Ms. Riedman thanked Staff for restoring northbound PVDE to its previous design because she believes it is a safer area for people trying to turn left from Ganado.
Lloyd Kenworthy, 3071 Deluna Drive, explained that he lives on the first street off Crest Road going uphill and he drives both directions. Mr. Kenworthy stated that he is very happy to see that Staff worked so well with this program and his concern was coming from Miraleste on PVDE and the turn to go up Crest Road. He described the signage as follows:
Mr. Kenworthy stated that this is a lot to read and is very confusing. He explained that the turn going into the right-turn pocket is very narrow looking at it from the angle where you cannot even see the right pocket; it is very narrow and very sharp. He measured it today and there is over 100’ of tire marks on the curb where vehicles have hit that curb all the way up to the red mark just before the turn onto Crest Road, and there would be no place to go if a bicycle went in there. He emphasized that the lane is very narrow and it could be made wider since Staff has removed the through lane. He commented that the first driveway (on the slide) that Staff is trying to protect is at least 300’ back, and the corner house driveway is on Crest Road, not on PVDE. He suggested that the lane could be made wider for that right turn, creating a much longer turning process. He suggested that by making it wider it would be safer for bicycles. Mr. Kenworthy explained that the fog season is starting and they have had several days of fog. He explained that if you live up here you are in zero clouds in the cloud cap during May and June, and the delineators are extremely confusing. He suggested that the residents would greatly appreciate it if the process could be speeded up, the road markings done, and the delineators removed before many confused drivers start crashing through them, and anything else in the area that they cannot see in the fog. Mr. Kenworthy asked Staff if they have a time schedule for this program.
Chair Shepherd stated that the questions would be noted and answered when the public hearing is completed.
Terri Glidden, Tarapaca Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, explained that she has lived here for 23 years. She questioned that when the Commission states that people are asking for these changes she is wondering who these people are. She stated that she was told that Staff was working with the homeowners’ association, which would notify people, and she was never contacted, and today is the first time she has seen the data. She explained that she received the first notification on April 3. She asked who the residents are that requested the changes, and commented that she did not have sufficient time to review the data. She explained that she asked the City to give her background information and the information sent to her did not have the attachments with the drawings. Ms. Glidden stated that she has a number of concerns, specifically regarding the cost, and wonders how much is budgeted for these projects, and how it relates to residents’ other priorities such as sewers. With regard to the issues being discussed, she explained that since she did not get the attachments she is hesitant to talk about the specifics. Regarding how confusing the signage is, she is concerned about adding more signs that may not be effective, that may create an eyesore, and from a property value standpoint would not enhance their rural atmosphere that everyone loves so much. She stated that she has more questions than comments at this point.
James Fitzgerald, 3520 Bendigo Drive, stated that he has traveled this section of the road for the last 41 years daily and he is confused now about what PVDE north of Ganado would look like. Mr. Fitzgerald explained that he thought it would be merged into one lane, and heard tonight that it would be two lanes as it was before, and asked which is it.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that northbound PVDE would go back to exactly the way it was before; southbound would be essentially the way it was before except there would be a longer right-turn pocket into Ganado, and the previous merge just before Ganado would be moved farther north so it is not as confusing.
Mr. Fitzgerald stated that it was too short to go around the corner on Ganado where the road slants the wrong way and drivers cannot go more than five or ten mph maximum. He suggested that a two-fold merge is not a good driving situation, explaining that there are about three merges on southbound and more on northbound and he thinks that leads to accidents. Mr. Fitzgerald stated that one of the things pointed out tonight was the difficulty getting out of Ganado onto PVDE, but what Staff installed now is terrible, and two delineators have been knocked down. He explained that as soon as they have a foggy day in that area drivers cannot see anybody for approximately 300’ at the curve on the right, and turns must be made very slowly. He explained that drivers are also watching the downhill traffic, and stated that you look in the rearview mirror and someone is on your bumper. Mr. Fitzgerald suggested putting it back the way it was and put a stop sign at Ganado, and asked if that has been considered.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that Staff evaluated Ganado and PVDE for both an all-way-stop and a traffic signal some time ago, and none of the state or local warrants were satisfied, meaning that if Staff recommended installing a stop sign there is no justification based on the volumes. He stated that it would cause more problems than it solves. He clarified that the delineators, or sticks as residents call them, are coming out; that they were the temporary test because they are the most cost effective and easiest way to install it, and anything they do permanently is going to be striping.
Chair Shepherd clarified that what is before the Commission this evening is a Staff report with recommendations based on their findings; Staff provides the Commission with recommendations, and the Commission does not know if they will make a decision tonight. She pointed out that Staff has also provided alternatives or other options that may be considered and that is why they have a public hearing, and what the speakers have to say is important to the decision the Commission makes. She explained that what the Commission decides tonight is not necessarily what Staff is recommending, but it could be. Chair Shepherd asked the speakers to provide the information the Commission needs to help them make a determination, and tell the Commission whether they agree or disagree with the recommendations and why.
Grace Malolepcszy, Casilina, commented that she understands that some of the things south on Crest would be restored to their previous configuration and stated that she hopes the Commission will consider that as Staff recommended. She explained that, currently, it takes away some of the parking that students use off campus. She explained that every time she drives there she thinks of the cyclists who go through and there is no consideration for that at this time up and down PVDE. Ms. Malolepcszy stated that she does like the idea of giving access between Crest going downhill so the gardeners can exit.
Jon Nicholas, 30819 Casilina Drive, stated that he is against the changes, the samples he is driving with now. He explained that it is an inconvenience, people get into accidents with all the merging; bicyclists would sometimes use the area next to the slow lane when they did have four lanes so that they were out of traffic, and now they are being forced right into traffic so everyone has to share one lane. He explained that he pulls a trailer up and down PVDE and people are appreciative of the fact that once they get to Ganado they can go around him and continue at a normal pace, because they are trailing a large vehicle going up the hill. He explained that he did pull over at a turnout at the lower section, but once drivers pass the turnout they are stuck in a one-lane road all the way up to Ganado. He suggested that having one lane is hard on traffic, having two lanes for a short section is very good. Mr. Nicholas suggested to Traffic Engineer Rydell that they have more law enforcement in your (Rydell’s) neighborhood at the end of your (Rydell’s) street. Mr. Nicholas stated that he lives on Casilina at PVDE, right in the middle of a speed dampening situation with an aggressive Sheriff’s Department, and he would wish that onto Traffic Engineer Rydell if he thinks it is so effective.
Chair Shepherd suggested answering a couple of questions before continuing referring to Lloyd Kenworthy’s questions regarding signage and if there is a time schedule for construction of this project.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that the signage currently in place is appropriate for what was installed, referring to the delineators, and for the purpose that Staff was trying to accomplish. He stated that Staff would remove what is in place based on what Staff is now recommending. He suggested keeping in mind that what Staff is recommending at this meeting is not what is in place at this time; that what Staff is recommending is in the Staff report being presented at this meeting, which is very different than what the residents see at the locations under discussion. He asked that the residents focus on the Staff recommendations presented tonight. Regarding the time schedule, Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that it depends on what the Commission approves and the direction given to Staff; secondly, Staff will have to answer the question regarding timing.
Lloyd Kenworthy asked if the area would be restored before the fog season.
Chair Shepherd questioned if, once the Commission makes a decision, the issue of striping has to go to the City Council.
Senior Engineer Motahari responded that it does.
Chair Shepherd explained that Staff must prepare a report to present to City Council and the City Manager must find time on the Council agenda, so that question cannot be answered at this time.
Chair Shepherd referred to questions asked by Terri Glidden as to who the residents are that asked for these changes, the cost of the project, and priorities. She asked Ms. Glidden if those were her questions.
Terri Glidden responded that is correct more or less. She stated that this set of roads works and asked why they have to change it.
Chair Shepherd explained that this item has come before the Commission on a monthly basis and on a daily basis for Staff, and the residents that were exiting at Ganado recognized some safety issues several years ago that they wanted the Commission to consider. She reported that when Staff investigated the residents’ complaints, they found other issues that needed improvement and that also started several years ago; following that was consideration for some type of a global PVDE issue by the City and Public Works Department. She explained that it may take two years to come to a final solution, or it may take one meeting. She stated that it is not up to the Commission; the Council will decide on timing depending on the budget, and they have no idea of the cost until the Commission approves the project, and that information will then go to the City Council. She explained that Staff recommended a temporary solution because of the cost.
Terri Glidden asked how much the delineators cost.
Senior Engineer Motahari responded that the cost was $9,000; that the City now owns the equipment so it can be used in other areas.
Chair Shepherd added that it was $9,000 versus the cost of re-striping and possibly coming back today and having to re-stripe. She suggested contacting Staff to get specific information if needed.
Sachiye Nakano, 3756 Coolheights Drive, stated that she has lived at this address for 31 years and is glad that PVDE will go back to the way it was between Crest and Casilina. She stated that, if safety is the City’s goal at Ganado and PVDE, she is in favor of a stop sign. She referred to comments that the majority of accidents happen between Ganado and PVDS, so if people have to stop there, they will start at a slower pace, commenting that there have been several accidents at Ganado.
Ralph Ortolano, Coolheights Drive, stated that he has lived at this location for the past 36 years, and he cannot get away from his house without going past the intersection. He congratulated the people who have done all this work because he appreciates what a non-problem it is, and he appreciates the Commission’s willingness to share it with the residents before it is set in concrete. Mr. Ortolano referred to an expression by Engineers that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and he is inclined to say that if you look at the period of 35 years, you may find that the statistics do not look so bad. He commented that when they had a problem they worked it and that was the Park Service. He referred to the difficulty in trying to make a turn at Ganado off PVDE, and explained that bushes were an impediment to the view, and cutting them down and maintaining those bushes so drivers can see over the top of them is a great benefit in making that turn without any problems. Mr. Ortolano stated that he appreciates what Staff has struggled with and would like to go back to the way it was before the test.
Ralph Ortolano, Jr., Coolheights Drive, explained that he is a criminal defense attorney. He described the Traffic Engineer’s approach as “having the cart before the horse” because, as Traffic Engineer Rydell clearly testified to before the Commission, all the traffic surveys that were done showed that the 85th percentile speeds are significantly higher than the 35 mph posted speed limit. He stated that, as an Engineer, Traffic Engineer Rydell should be familiar with the California State Traffic Manual and the California Standards for setting speeds. Mr. Ortolano stated that you do not set the speed and then try to set an arbitrary speed, and then try to squeeze everybody into meeting your criteria. He suggested that is why the State has one of the strongest pronouncements against lowball, bureaucratic, capricious speed enforcement that they have made in the entire California Code. He explained that it says that if a Police Officer tries to enforce the speed limit in an illegal speed trap, which this section of road is, the Officer is not competent to testify. Mr. Ortolano stated further that it says that the court is without jurisdiction to render a verdict of guilty against that person. He suggested that any person who wanted to challenge their ticket could have a very easy time challenging these radar stops because it is clear that the traffic surveys do not support the speed limit. Mr. Ortolano stated that it goes to another matter, saying that they are told that the people from the community in the Ganado Drive area, clamored for this, and stated that he hopes it is not the “gang of eight” that currently runs the Mediterranea Homeowners’ Association (HOA). He stated that they tend to be very close to the vest with information and do not share it with the neighborhood; and they like to make a big point of coming out and saying that they represent a bunch of people that they, in reality, do not represent. Mr. Ortolano stated that he likes the four-lane road because he likes to drive slowly on PVDE, and when he drives from Calle Aventura to Ganado, by the time he gets to Crest Road he is going 15 mph, and he is going to stop doing that because he coasts the whole way down to Ganado. He explained that with a four-lane road he has the ability to merge to the right and allow people to pass without impairing traffic. He suggested that if the City insists on narrowing this to a two-lane road, it would force him to impair traffic. Mr. Ortolano stated that he is opposed to the changes and he believes, when talking about what the community supports, the City has a scientific traffic survey process for determining that, and they have done that. He suggested that what the community supports is apparently driving 46 mph.
Ephraim Starr, 30707 Palos Verdes Drive East, Rancho Palos Verdes, 90275, stated that he does not know who instigated this issue and he has not provided any comments to the Commission or anyone else, but stated that he appreciates that this type of study has been done so carefully and in a manner that has allowed the citizens to make public comments. He stated that he is a staunch supporter of the project, explaining that by Mr. Ortolano’s logic, if everyone is trying to drive safely that means it is ok. He stated that he vehemently disagrees with that. Mr. Starr explained that he has resided on PVDE for approximately eight months and, since October 1, 2006, he has witnessed two driving accidents; one of which he is confident was a fatal accident because someone was driving way over the speed limit. Mr. Starr stated that 46 mph in a 35 mph zone is not safe, so he is a staunch supporter of this project, and asked the Commission to consider making it a 30 mph on PVDE along this strip because that is consistent with the posted speed limit on other parts of PVDE. He clarified that he is not saying it is necessary, but suggested that it be considered. Mr. Starr pointed out a section on the aerial photo that leads to a trail and a sidewalk. He suggested that the trail not be lengthened so much that it eliminates the sidewalk. He explained that this would give people who walk to their house on PVDE a choice of crossing at Crest Road and then walking along the road where the sidewalk ends; then literally walking on the road, or as an alternative, jaywalking if their house is across the street. Mr. Starr referred to striping to provide a buffer zone, and asked if Staff has considered raised dots. He referred to comments regarding parking and stated that today there is limited parking on PVDE on the west side where they are off of the street, and he is hoping that people can continue parking off of the street. He asked to be notified where signage for radar enforcement would be posted before the signs are posted. Mr. Starr expressed appreciation for the Commission’s thoughtful consideration.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
The Commission recessed at 8:30 pm and reconvened at 8:37 pm.
The Public Hearing continued:
Joseph Peterson, 3650 Hightide Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he has lived at this location for 38 years and he was born in Torrance in 1925. Mr. Peterson stated that his father was a contractor and worked for Landers Vanderliff (phonetic) up on the hill, and his dad let him shoo rabbits in the summer and go down to the beach while he was working in the summer. Mr. Peterson said that he thought this was heaven on earth. He explained that he told his dad that he would buy a place and build in Palos Verdes when he grew up and he is very pleased that it happened. He stated that he is very pleased with what the City is trying to do here, and has never been exposed to so much interest and concern. Mr. Peterson explained that his experience living on the hill and turning at Ganado and PVDE for the last 30 plus years was of no concern to him because he was a hard-working businessman away from home most of the time and naïve about a lot of problems until the nice young folks moved into the college on the hill. Then he started getting worried coming down PVDE to the point where he finally followed them into the parking lot, pulled them aside, and tried to educate them to drive according to the signs. He stated that on First Street coming up Miraleste, one fellow moved around him and drove through the “merge to the left” sign to make a turn onto that street. Mr. Peterson explained that he followed the fellow onto the campus and asked him if he knew he passed him illegally and warned him of a possible accident; the fellow insisted that it was legal, and Mr. Peterson suggested going back to look at it because it was not legal. In short, Mr. Peterson explained that he became aware and talked to six or seven other college students who have not had enough bad experiences yet to be aware of the dangers and they just drive up, and he had to learn to live with it. He explained that last year, his good friend, Janet Levering, who lives on Ganado, completed the turn, started up the hill on PVDE, and a young college student with two or three students in the back of the car coming down, lost control and crossed the centerline. He stated that in the process, her car was broadsided and she is lucky to be alive today after six months in the hospital. Mr. Peterson stated that he understands, although he was not there, that the driver told the Police Officer at the time that the speedometer was at 70 mph when he lost control, went across the centerline, and hit her. Mr. Peterson asked if the Commission has considered a permanent curb or some kind of a boundary to prevent that or, if not, have they considered what is causing people to merge and create young people to drive too fast.
Ann O’Connor, 3729 Coolheights Drive, thanked the Commission for increasing the turning lane at PVDE and Ganado, and stated that she likes the recommendation to make the left turn from Ganado to PVDE and restoring that to two lanes because it gives drivers time to accelerate without worrying about the cars coming down the switchback running into them. Ms. O’Connor stated that her main concern right now is the “sticks” at Crest coming into Miraleste; it merges there very quickly to the left, and then requires a sharp right turn. She reported that last Sunday, April 15 about 9:00, her family witnessed a person in a red Camry, who was obviously not familiar with the area, going straight through the intersection the wrong way, right into a motorcycle. Ms. O’Connor commented that in the picture it shows one lane for a longer distance, and expressed approval, saying that would probably prevent the person making that sharp left to the sharp right from going through the intersection. Ms. O’Connor stated that those changes must be made quickly or there will be people in the fog going in the wrong lane and hitting someone head on.
Nina Smith, 3652 Coolheights Drive, stated that she appreciates the Commission making the turn at Ganado much longer. She requested that the turn lane from Crest onto PVDE, where they merge, be longer, because it is hard to see people coming from PVDE southbound and it is important that drivers have a longer time to merge. Ms. Smith explained that she is having problems with the delineators that are now in place because this has become a recreation area for motorcycles. She recommended that she does not support eliminating the number 2 lane beyond Calle Aventura because, even though she is going the speed limit, people are constantly passing her. She stated that the ones that scare her are the motorcyclists that pass her on one lane either way, and she almost had four or five accidents; motorcyclists are passing her going down the switchbacks and a car was coming up the other direction. She reported that on Saturday and Sunday mornings they gather at the top and have someone check for Police Officers; they come back and start racing down there, and if a driver is going slow they will pass and almost hit oncoming traffic. She explained that her problem is the delineators.
Gordon Whitney, 30865 Casilina, stated that he disagrees with the proposed changes between Crest and Casilina; he enjoys the beach from the acceleration lane from Crest, and was nearly caught the other day when a car was trying to pass him in that area, and it nearly caused an accident. He believes he was one of the statistics near Ganado when he was coming up in the fog one night at approximately 15 mph, he passed Ganado and went straight ahead and ended up on the berm, which hung him up and required that he be pulled off because it was obscured by the fog. Mr. Whitney explained that the cloud situation is bad, especially in the daylight hours because at night, a driver can see the headlights of the cars coming, but during the daylight, there is no way just to cut off. He suggested that the lanes not be changed from two to one lane between Crest and Casilina, and that it allow the merging traffic to come out and allow the traffic to go into Casilina, rather than have an obscure marking.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that a couple of people mentioned that they do not like one lane there, and emphasized that the recommendation is to go back to two lanes between Crest and Casilina, reiterating that what is there now will not be there if the recommendation is approved.
Chris Brown, 30823 Ganado Drive, commented that he is encouraged by the recommendation to return the northbound lanes from four lanes to two lanes. He stated that there is a serious safety hazard with the short-turn length at Ganado because there is no time to maneuver it with cars coming up the northbound lane, so he is encouraged by that recommendation. He commented that from the Staff rationale on the southbound back to one lane, he referred to insufficient visibility at Crest involving the right turn off Ganado onto PVDE, and asked if Staff considered “no turn on red”, suggesting that it is difficult to turn right on red on PVDE because cars will be approaching quickly. Mr. Brown stated that he does not fully understand what is meant by a staging area for law enforcement unless Staff is intending to leave space on the southbound lane. He stated that 250 yards down the road there is a turnout lane on PVDE, so they have a staging area already, either for pulling someone over or for sitting there with radar. Mr. Brown referred to the comment that the City wants to make PVDE consistent with the remainder of PVDE. He stated that he recalls that PVDS is two lanes for about two and one half miles all the way to Hawthorne, and asked why PVDE is any different from PVDS. He referred to comments that it will take the City Council several weeks or months to approve eliminating the trial plan, and stated that there is a safety issue there and that it is much more dangerous today than it was two or three months ago, so he encouraged the Commission to expedite that if possible.
Ken Ard, 3503 Bendigo Drive, stated that he supports some but not most of the recommendations, and asked the Commission to reject the recommendations and accept either alternative 2, 3, or 4, or some combination thereof. He expressed appreciation for the turn lane extension into Ganado and thinks it is necessary, and he supports the suggestion to install a stop sign at Ganado, acknowledging Traffic Engineer Rydell’s statement that there is not enough volume, but he stated that there is a stop sign on Ganado at Floweridge Drive. Mr. Ard stated that he would like to see more public input on this. He reiterated that he would ask the Commission to reject the recommendations and consider the alternatives.
Robert M. Glidden, 30621 Tarapaca Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he is speaking in opposition to Recommendations 2, 3, and 4 this evening, and will limit his comments to Recommendations 2 and 4. He believes that the proposed re-striping adds confusion, and his main concern is the area between Calle Aventura and Crest Road as shown on Attachment A “PVDE: North of Crest Rd”. He explained that the traffic lane moves from left to right and back again and provides a dedicated pocket reference point at some of the intersections and it creates some awkward merging motions. Secondly, Mr. Glidden believes that the Commission should not be trying to reduce the limited number of passing opportunities on the PV Drive road system; that this frustrates the motion of many drivers and tends to encourage more of the unsafe practices such as ignoring some of the re-striping, especially in places that obviously demand an opportunity to pass. He believes that this will make traffic less predictable, not more predictable and will lead to a greater number of hazardous situations. Third, Mr. Glidden believes that this is not solving the problems on the PV Drive system, and he is very sensitive to that with three young drivers and insurance rates that are astronomical. He believes that the issues have been loss of vehicular control and speed in areas south of Crest Road, and he takes issue with the assertion that restricting lanes on the flat section of PVDE leads to speeds that are more consistent. Rather, he believes that it brings a greater disparity of speeds and a pent-up demand to pass, which will cause hazardous situations. Mr. Glidden believes that the Staff’s proposed changes are not necessary and asked that the road conditions be restored to the values before the study.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
Commissioner Wright suggested that, if the Commission leaves everything as it is with the exception of the right turn on Ganado, when they consider the overall plan for PVDE this area will be taken into consideration again, and he asked if that is correct.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he thinks it would be considered again.
Commissioner Wright deduced that the Commission would revisit this issue.
Chair Shepherd explained that the comprehensive study would consider PVDE from City boundary to City boundary.
Commissioner Bilezerian referred to the traffic accidents at PVDE and Ganado discussed in October 2006, and questioned, if the only modification that the Commission is proposing is to increase the length of the right-turn pocket southbound approaching Ganado, if Staff feels that making that change would to reduce the potential for accidents.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he believes the modification will improve conditions at that location. He believes that, based on motorists’ behavior, it would enhance their comfort level, it would enhance their ability to make that turn at speeds they feel comfortable with, and from what Staff has heard since the test started, the comments from the college and the citizens are overwhelmingly favorable regarding lengthening the right turn pocket.
Commissioner Bilezerian commented that, if the only change the Commission will make from pre-existing conditions were to change the length of the right-turn pocket, would they have accomplished making it safer in one area.
Traffic Engineer Rydell asked if he is also including Recommendation 3 regarding radar feedback signs.
Commissioner Bilezerian responded that he is just talking about lengthening the right-turn pocket going into Ganado. He asked when the last radar feedback study was performed on PVDE.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that the last study was performed in July 2004.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked what is the legal requirement for the City.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that the study must be re-evaluated in five years from that date.
Commissioner Bilezerian confirmed for the record that the City is compliant from the last study until now.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded affirmatively.
Chair Shepherd asked if Traffic Engineer Rydell has any indication of the approximate location of the radar feedback signs.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that two radar feedback signs will be used, one for each direction; he would initially propose one in the northbound direction north of Ganado, and south of Crest or south of Casilina in the southbound direction. He explained that Staff has flexibility on placement, and they can always move it to another location; that he would like to educate the motorists about their speeds before they cause problems. He stated that south of Casilina would probably be the best location.
Chair Shepherd confirmed that Staff is considering the feedback reflections to show “slow down” and would turn red before displaying the amber speed number. She cautioned that Staff must be careful where the signs are placed in relation to the impact it will have on residents.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that they are talking about the radar feedback signs they already have, but Staff will pursue more signs through grants. He explained that the signs are usually turned off at approximately 11:00 pm, when there is less traffic.
Chair Shepherd clarified that Staff can control it and change the time, and she asked if the Commission should ask Staff to do that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff does that because they want to know that it is done.
Chair Shepherd stated that she still has concerns with the right-turn pocket at Crest Road and the shoulder because the photo does not show the specific design or the dimensions and where it may end up.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that if the Commission approves the conceptual design, he would design it and bring it back with the specifics because he would like to make the process as transparent as possible for both the public and the Commission.
Chair Shepherd stated that after the test Staff found that traffic patterns needed to change, so that lets the Commission know what Staff thought might be the case. She explained that the Traffic Safety Commission wanted to see the evaluation because of their concern, and the major concern at the time was the accidents that were happening north and south of Ganado. She stated that now they heard from speaker Ephraim Starr that there was an accident on PVDE and asked Sgt. Creason if he knew anything about that accident.
Sgt. Creason had no information regarding the accident.
Deputy Knox responded but it was not audible.
Commissioner Wright moved to adopt Staff Recommendation 2:
2. Approve the permanent installation of the extended right-turn only lane for southbound Palos Verdes Drive East at Ganado Drive, which provides a 150-foot long turn pocket and a 90-foot long taper (opening). Maintain the merge from two lanes to one lane south of Casilina Drive consistent with pre-test conditions (see attachment A).
Commissioner Wright further moved to add a 6th recommendation that the temporary controls, including delineators, be removed as soon as possible, seconded by Commissioner Willens.
Commissioner Willens stated that his recollection is that he had some concerns about not having this modification incorporated into the overall plan, and thought it was a better idea to wait, but there were certain community members who were very concerned about something being done as soon as possible because of the accident. Commissioner Willens stated that he does not regret having done what the Commission did, but obviously, it is not working. Commissioner Willens stated that other than approving the changes that the Commission knows seem to be working positively, which is what Commissioner Wright has suggested in his Motion, and then taking out all the temporary controls and delineators, he supports incorporating this into the overall plan. He believes anything the Commission does beyond what Commissioner Wright has suggested in the Motion would take the Commission back to where they were. Commissioner Willens stated that he supports the Motion.
Commissioner Wright reiterated that it seems that based on what happened, commending Staff on what they did, what the Commission is trying to do is a good thing and is trying to make things safer by modification of the right turn, which he believes is safer based on his observation in the area. Commissioner Wright expressed agreement with Commissioner Willens about considering this in the overall plan. Commissioner Wright commented on speaker remarks about the Sheriff’s Department enforcement and explained that he was a Police Officer for 26 years, spending about two years in traffic enforcement as a sergeant, and he has the distinct advantage of having had that experience. He stated that of all the things that Police Officers look at: enforcement, education, and engineering; the one that probably has the most effect on drivers is enforcement, and that is because none of us want someone taking money out of our pocket, and he complimented the Sheriff’s Staff in attendance, and thanked them for what they do.
Chair Shepherd expressed agreement with Commissioner Willens’ comments and suggested the Commission can extend the right-turn pocket and look at the re-striping that is necessary for what they think is a good thing for the shoulder area, but she thinks they have to look at it in the big picture. She pointed out that other projects in progress at Marymount might have an effect on this roadway. She believes that rather than spend a large amount of additional money, the Commission should look at Recommendation 2 and removing the delineators. Chair Shepherd stated that she does not know about funding for the radar, but likes the idea of radar enforcement signs.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that the City does not have to purchase radar signs because they already have them and Staff will pursue grants to obtain more.
Chair Shepherd explained that the radar enforcement signs do not have to be permanent; they could also be used for a period to assist the Commission regarding speeds. She stated that she does not know how effective enforcement is possible without a special area for the Deputies. She asked Deputy Knox if there is a an area where they can increase enforcement, a safe place to locate himself, or is Staff correct that there is just is no place.
Deputy Knox stated that he does not have any trouble now enforcing the law based on the existing signage, lines, and turnouts, and the Sheriff’s Department has no position on anything before the Commission; they are just there to enforce the law.
Sgt. Creason stated that Deputy Knox writes more citations than any other traffic Deputies.
Chair Shepherd stated that Deputy Knox is very visible, she very rarely sees him without a car pulled over, and she noticed a reduction in speeds on the roadways after his presence had been around for several months. She stated that his presence has helped everyone.
Commissioner Wright amended his Motion to add Staff Recommendation 3:
3. Place radar feedback signs and “RADAR ENFORCED” signs for northbound and southbound traffic on Palos Verdes Drive East between Crest Road and Ganado Drive, seconded by Commissioner Willens.
Commissioner Bilezerian clarified that the Motion is to approve Recommendations 1, 2, and 3; not spprove Recommendations 4 and 5, and asked if that is correct.
Commissioner Wright explained that his Motion was to approve Recommendation 2, amended to approve Recommendation 3, and add Recommendation 6 to remove the delineators and temporary controls as soon as possible. He stated that Recommendation 1, to “Consider public comments . . .” is already done. He explained that Recommendation 5 affects Recommendation 4 as well.
Chair Shepherd questioned if Commissioner Wright said, “remove the temporary controls, including delineators”, saying that the signage involved is part of that.
Commissioner Wright confirmed that is correct.
Chair Shepherd asked what is the objection to Recommendation 4.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that a majority of speakers stated that they were happy with the number of lanes that were available to them before this test, and the only thing Staff was able to prove from the test thus far is that traffic stayed the same. He explained that it is not that he would object to Recommendation 4 in the future, but now it just makes more sense to include it in the comprehensive evaluation.
Commissioner Kramer stated that he is in favor of Recommendations 2 and 3, and is in favor of Recommendation 4 in concept. He stated that if the Commission approves this, it would go back to Staff for design, and they could not start striping immediately. He asked Traffic Engineer Rydell, because the Commission is thinking of the comprehensive plan for PVDE, if that work would be wasted if it were done at this point. Commissioner Kramer questioned if it makes sense to do it now because there would be more design work to consider the areas mentioned by one speaker regarding a sidewalk at the corner and the possible limitations on how to design the pocket. He stated that he understands that what Staff presented is a concept rather than a design. He stated that his question is, does it make sense to table this, or is it valuable to study it further and come back with a more concrete recommendation at this time.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that his opinion, regardless of what the recommendation is, is that the Motion makes sense, and it is just a matter of timing it.
Commissioner Wright suggested that when the Commission begins looking at PVDE as a whole it could completely change how they look at this area. He stated that the Commission has eliminated at least one issue for the residents of Ganado by modifying the right-turn lane, and that was a real concern that the Commission needed to deal with as a safety issue.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that he does not disagree with the Motion, and he thinks his role when he creates recommendations is to develop ideas for discussion; it does not necessarily mean that doing this now is preferable to doing it in the future. He suggested that he owes it to this Commission to bring up the ideas so they can discuss it and determine what they believe is the appropriate course of action.
Chair Shepherd stated that the Commission appreciates that and Traffic Engineer Rydell does a good job of that.
RECEIVE AND FILE:
Action Items Matrix
There was no discussion and the Matrix was received and filed.
There was no new business.
a. Via Rivera Traffic Calming Update.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the City Council would consider this item at their meeting on May 1, 2007.
Chair Shepherd asked if the Staff report has been prepared for the City Council, and if the Commission’s recommendations would be presented.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded affirmatively to both questions.
Traffic Engineer Rydell asked if the Subcommittee for the PVDE comprehensive study has been established yet.
Chair Shepherd explained at the beginning of this meeting that the Commission would take the members of the Traffic Calming Program Subcommittee and their findings to meet with her to work on this and review the safety issues.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that he thought there was another goal as far as determining the role of the Traffic Safety Commission in forming a Subcommittee.
c. Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program update.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the Traffic Calming Program Subcommittee has been working feverishly on that and the intent is to take all the information, put it into a draft, and he will e-mail it to Senior Engineer Motahari later this week for distribution to the Subcommittee so they can begin review of the draft. He explained that the next time they meet would be Wednesday, May 2, 2007, when he hopes they can make definitive recommendations on how to proceed.
Chair Shepherd stated that Staff is hoping to have something before the Commission for discussion at next month’s meeting, depending on the Subcommittee’s progress.
d. HSIP Grant Application.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the HSPI (Highway Safety Index Program) is a State grant for funds, and is one that Staff wrote this month. He explained that they are pursuing funds for two separate projects: (1) a replacement of all the “STOP” signs within the City of Rancho Palos Verdes with diamond-grade, high-visibility signs, which Staff believes would help improve compliance and safety throughout the City, and (2) funding for protected left-turn phasing for the signal at Crenshaw and Crestridge.
Commissioner Kramer asked for clarification of the term “left-turn phasing”.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that it refers to left-turn arrows; that currently there are no left-turn arrows for turning onto Crestridge in either direction. He explained that Staff must pursue grants because modifying a signal to install that is over $200,000.
Chair Shepherd referred to a packet of information that was prepared for new Commissioners in the past that provided terms and definitions so that the new Commissioners would understand the terminology used by the Commission. She asked that Staff provide a copy if it has not been done. She stated that she believes it also included a copy of the Brown Act.
Commissioner Wells commented that he just received a Commissioners’ Handbook.
Chair Shepherd explained that that is a standard handbook, and what she is referring to is specific to traffic safety terminology. She suggested that if it is not available, perhaps it could be prepared before the next meeting.
Commissioner Wells asked what the procedure is for transmitting Commission recommendations to the City Council.
Chair Shepherd explained that Staff prepares a report including the recommendations and makes a presentation to the City Council.
Commissioner Wells explained that he is very involved in the Ponte Vista development of 2,300 homes on Western Avenue, across the street from Rancho Palos Verdes (RPV). He reported that recently Robert Bisnos, the developer, has proposed that he will provide a traffic signal at Peninsula Verde Drive and Western Avenue, although he has not seen it in writing. Secondly, Commissioner Wells reported that the developer has changed the proposal that the Los Angeles Unified School District has made for their high school at Ponte Vista. He explained that they were proposing a 2,025 seat high school, and have changed it to an 810 seat senior high school to be on Ponte Vista land, and that high school is intended to relieve overcrowding at Narbonne. He questioned whether the Commission has any influence on the fact that Walgreen’s has sent a letter to the City of RPV talking about their intent to look at the section of Western Avenue between Trudie and Park Western Drive, the old Hillside Liquor area, as a place to build a Walgreen’s. He commented that it might affect traffic in the far future. Lastly, Commissioner Wells commented that Trudie Drive is in RPV and, as it goes across Western Avenue, it becomes Capitol Drive in the City of Los Angeles. He reported that traveling east on Capitol Drive to the bottom is shopping, where the De Carlo Bakery has been abandoned and the Eastview Little League has 70 days left in existence, and a new Target store is being planned. Commissioner Wells suggested that would have a major impact on local traffic on the east side of RPV and the north side of San Pedro. He suggested that these are long-term issues, but on the eastern side of RPV, they are major issues and many people are upset in that area.
Chair Shepherd suggested that since Commissioner Wells is involved, he could keep the Commission informed, and if they do a traffic study that he wants to share, he can bring it to Staff to put on the Agenda for discussion.
Commissioner Wells commented that he hopes the Commission takes a position regarding how it affects RPV because it is a City of Los Angeles project that will affect RPV, not only on the eastern side, but on anyone who wants to use PVDN anywhere near the 110 Freeway
This section of the agenda is for audience comments for items not on the agenda.
Barry Hildebrand, 3560 Vigilance, explained that sometime last Fall or in January 2007 he spoke to the Commission regarding PVDS eastbound at PVDE while in the left-turn pocket looking toward San Pedro, and reported that the vegetation is growing so big again that drivers cannot see oncoming traffic in order to make a left turn. He explained that it is a continuing problem and, unless someone talks with whoever is responsible for maintaining the vegetation, there could be an accident at that location. Mr. Hildebrand stated that he drives a van, so he can see much higher than most cars. He suggested that the City take some action with the Trump organization to replace the plants with low-growing shrubs for at least a couple hundred yards to improve visibility. Mr. Hildebrand referred to a second view obstruction just west of Seaview and he brought it to Senior Engineer Motahari’s attention that the vegetation was growing in the right-of-way, and drivers could not see to make a right turn. He reported that in two or three days it was cut down, and he thanked Senior Engineer Motahari very much.
Senior Engineer Motahari reported that the City intends to trim the shrubs, and per the Traffic Engineer’s recommendation, Staff will have the first 100’ of vegetation removed in accordance with the new design and pave it with stones.
Chair Shepherd commented that this vegetation might be viewed as native habitat at first glance, but it is not. She explained that the Trump organization is not maintaining this location, and if the City wants to plant there, Staff must prepare a regular maintenance schedule. She thanked Mr. Hildebrand for calling Staff and bringing this to their attention.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Chair Shepherd pointed out that the next regular meeting date is on a holiday, and Monday, May 21, 2007 was suggested as an alternative. There were no objections.
The Meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m. to the next regular meeting on Monday, May 21, 2007 at 7:00 pm, City of Rancho Palos Verdes Community Room.