CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA
TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION
AUGUST 27, 2007
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, Kramer, Wells, Wright, and Vice Chair Willens
ABSENT: Commissioners Bilezerian and Parfenov
ALSO PRESENT: Jack Rydell, Traffic Engineer, Wildan; Siamak, Motahari, Senior Engineer, Public Works; Ara Mihranian, Principal Planner, Planning Department; Sgt. Paul Creason and Deputy Chris Knox, Sheriff's Department; Frances M. Mooney, Recording Secretary
FLAG SALUTE: Commissioner Wright led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Chair Shepherd requested that Public Comments for items not on the agenda be placed before Old Business and there were no objections.
Chair Shepherd had no communications.
SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT REPORT:
Sgt. Creason reported figures for the quarter January through April 2007 and compared them with the same quarters for 2006 and 2005 as follows: 20 collisions in 2007; 18 in 2006; and 18 in 2005. Hazardous citations were 511 in 2007, 466 in 2006, and 167 in 2005. He explained that the higher number for 2007 is largely because Deputy Knox is patrolling the City. DUIs were 1 in 2007, 3 in 2006, and 2 in 2005, and there were no fatal DUI collisions in 2007. Sgt. Creason reported that the Sheriff’s Department performed a DUI/CVL checkpoint on August 25, 2007 from 7:00 pm until midnight at Hawthorne Boulevard and Shorewood Road; they did not have any DUIs, 1424 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, 288 vehicles were screened, 14 citations were written, and one car was impounded. He reported that on August 22, 2007 around noon an 89-year-old female driving east on Palos Verdes Drive North near Monticello had a heart attack, went across the center divider, missed all the trees and westbound traffic, and went into a ditch. She died because of the heart attack.
Deputy Knox commented that Craig Whited was concerned at the last meeting on July 23, 2007 about speeding at Ganado and Palos Verdes Drive East (PVDE) and on the switchbacks. Deputy Knox reported that the next night he caught a driver going 75 mph on the switchback and arrested him for reckless driving. He reported other accidents at PVDE near Hawthorne Boulevard going 95 mph who went to jail for reckless driving; another driver was caught on Hawthorne near the Salvation Army driving 89 mph. He explained that the driver on the switchback was a Rancho Palos Verdes resident and the other two drivers were not residents.PUBLIC COMMENTS:
This section of the agenda is for audience comments for items not on the agenda.
Stanley and Marilyn Kritzer, 3832 Pirate Drive, asked for a status report on the traffic signal at Palos Verdes Drive South and Forrestal, and explained that they had not received a phone call.
Senior Engineer Motahari reported a problem between the City and the developer regarding the conditions of development because the City has not been paid. The City sent a letter to the Trump organization with proof of nonpayment; Senior Engineer Motahari stated that the work could be scheduled when the funds are received, and stated that Staff would notify the Kritzers when the problem is resolved.
Chair Shepherd explained, in response to Mr. Kritzer’s questions, that Staff could not talk about the details at this meeting.
Tom Redfield, 31273 Ganado Drive, represented the R & R Coalition. He complimented the City leadership and Staff and expressed total support for the Commission from the coalition. He commented that in the past several months the residents are seeing more Sheriff’s Deputies and expressed appreciation on behalf of the residents. Mr. Redfield reported that he observed in Mira Vista that speed humps were removed from one of the main arteries, and asked Traffic Engineer Rydell if he was aware of construction in the area that may be the reason.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that General Street and Enrose are being slurry sealed and the speed humps would be put back in place.
Mickey Rodich, President of the Ladera Linda Homeowners’ Association (HOA), explained that the association requests that the Commission hold a public hearing before the issue of whether or not to install a traffic signal at Palos Verdes Drive South (PVDS) and Forrestal is decided upon because it is a very controversial issue. Secondly, Mr. Rodich explained that a work order has been submitted for striping at PVDS and Forrestal and the residents would like to know when the work would be done. He explained that the intersection would be improved by adding a right-turn lane with an arrow on Forrestal at PVDS. Regarding the traffic signal, Mr. Rodich commented that there were funds for a traffic signal at Forrestal and PVDS, and there was money from a bond for work at PVDS and La Rotonda. He explained that because of the traffic volume a traffic signal is not necessary at La Rotonda, so these funds were being set aside for PVDS, and he asked if putting those bonds together would be enough to install the other signal.
Senior Engineer Motahari responded that the cost is not known at this time and the issue is controversial. He explained that it is his understanding that the City Council has approved the project subject to the conditions of development and he was not involved in the discussions at that time.
Chair Shepherd explained that the Commission was told by the previous Senior Engineer that the money was on hold and would probably run out at the time the City Council gave complete approval to operate.
Senior Engineer Motahari explained that it is in the form of a bond and will be funded by the developer.
Commissioner Shepherd asked Senior Engineer Motahari to research the status and contact Mr. Rodich with an explanation. She stated that the City would never install a traffic signal at an intersection the item is presented to the Commission unless there was a Traffic Signal Priority List in effect, in which case the signal would be installed according to the list. Since there is no approved list she stated that, in this case, the Commission would consider it and have a public hearing before installation, but the Trump organization is causing the delay.
Senior Engineer Motahari explained to Mr. Rodich that the striping would be started after the current project near the schools is completed.OLD BUSINESS:
1. NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC CALMING PROGRAM
a. Receive and review the attached draft Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program.
Traffic Engineer’s Report
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the Commission’s direction to the Committee was to revise the second draft Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (NTCP) to reflect that the funding would be the responsibility of the requesting citizens, and the document has been rewritten in accordance with those instructions to clarify that the City is not funding the improvements. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the draft presented in July would also be submitted to the City Council and it includes partial City funding of traffic calming activities.
Chair Shepherd asked the Commissioners to verify that their previous issues or comments are reflected in the current NTCP.
Chair Shepherd referred to the second bullet on circle page 11, “The City will place door hangers at every residence within the limits of the study, as well as within 200 feet of any potential traffic calming device location.” She reported that the Planning Commission would require 500 feet. She explained that they have an early notification mailing according to a formula that states that, within that 500 feet, if 75% of the residents within 100 feet of the project site are in favor of it, it is the same as 50% of residents within 500 feet, and there is more weight given to those closer to the actual project site. She suggested that the Commission might want to consider using the same process.
Commissioner Wright questioned that, when discussing a 500-foot radius, are they talking about people on another street not involved in the traffic calming.
Chair Shepherd stated that it may not be radius for this program and the engineers might have to explain what is the best term, but the 500 feet might be used so that homes around the corner are included.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that if there is a weighting and if it is a radius, people on different streets would be notified, and he does not see any harm in that.
Chair Shepherd stated that she believes they should include a formula for weighting purposes to consider the residents around the corner, and that the number should be 500 feet and that is what the Committee intended.
Commissioner Wells commented that the document refers to cost and asked where in the document it is stated that a portion of the cost would be borne by the neighborhood involved.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that reference to the neighbors paying a portion is throughout the document; that the first reference to cost is on circle page 8, paragraph 4, under “Introduction”, and is referred to in many sections of the document.
Commissioner Wells asked if it was in the July document.
Chair Shepherd stated that it is in both documents, but she suggested that this particular provision should be very clear, with a “Funding” heading and some verbiage.
Commissioner Willens stated that the verbiage is in paragraph 4 on circle page 8 under the “Introduction”, but it might not be as prominent as desired.
Chair Shepherd suggested including an underlined heading regarding funding so that it will not be missed.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Item 3 on circle page 10, paragraph 3, first sentence, which reads “Residents submitting the petition will be required to fund Staff efforts to perform the Traffic Calming Engineering Study.”
Chair Shepherd suggested that the subtitle of this Program should be “Resident Funded”; it should be completely understandable and spelled out in bold letters so that it is not a question.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that there are too many changes for the Commission to approve the document at this meeting; that he could add those modifications but it is still not clear enough.
Chair Shepherd suggested that it is simple enough by just adding “(Residential Funding Plan)” under the title of the document.
Traffic Engineer Rydell noted the change and clarified that this one change would satisfy Chair Shepherd.
Commissioner Wells stated that because this document is completely different from the previously approved NTCP in that the Commission wants the neighbors to pay for everything, that should be one of the boldest comments; that it is probably one of the most significant changes other than removing Steps 3 and 4. He commented that the residents of Mira Vista, Via Rivera, Basswood, and Toscanini did not have to pay for anything.
Traffic Engineer Rydell asked that the Commission tell him exactly what they want.
Chair Shepherd reiterated that it should be “Residential Funding Plan”, or option or program, on the front page.
Commissioner Wright asked that it be simple and plain so that no one misunderstands.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested “Resident Funded” be added on the first page in bold letters above “Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program”, and their were no objections.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
Barry Hildebrand explained that when the first NTCP was devised, the Committee sent to the Council a provision with a 500 foot radius in it because they had fallen into the same trap that the Commission is falling into now. He stated that the Commission wants to be very democratic about this, and he suggested that the people on the affected street should be the only ones who should be alerted and vote on the project. Mr. Hildebrand explained that when the first plan went to the City Council they sent it back and said that they would never have traffic calming in the City if everyone around the area was allowed to vote, and he cautioned the Commission so they are aware of that. He stated that he sent an e-mail to everyone early in the day regarding this. He commented that the cost is referred to throughout this document incessantly, and he believes the Commission should be looking at the technical attributes of traffic calming and not how much it costs to fix the street. He suggested that the Commission should consider if this is the right solution for the problem; that someone else decides about cost, and he thinks it is ludicrous to put cost into the equation when the Commission has enough technical problems to solve. He explained that the Traffic Engineer Rydell would provide solutions and alternatives, and that is all the Commissioners need, plus their own common sense. He referred to cost as it involves speed humps; that they work better than any other traffic calming method known to man so far, and are used throughout the United States and Europe. He suggested that in making a neighborhood pay for them, the Commission is giving them the kiss of death. He commented on the percentage requirement for approval increasing from 70% to 75%. He suggested that another thing that would impede the use of speed humps is the requirement that all speed humps in Rancho Palos Verdes must include a landscaped center island or landscaped chokers, which would drive the cost up tremendously, and suggested that the Commission remove the language. Mr. Hildebrand was not in favor of the Staff recommendation.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
Commissioner Wright clarified the sequence of the documents and actions, since he was not at the last meeting. He recalled that during his term, one of the Commission’s directives was to look at the overall picture of traffic including costs, technology, and related issues; that the Commission is guided by the City Council to consider costs. He explained that previously there were questions regarding the availability of funds and now that has changed, and asked if that has changed anyone’s opinion about the two proposals; one, regarding the City contributing in part to traffic calming measures, and secondly, speed hump issues.
Chair Shepherd stated that the budget situation has not changed; the only thing that changed is that the Traffic Engineer and Recording Secretary positions are in the budget. She explained that NTCP-A is what the Commission agreed to last month; NTCP-B is the document under discussion at this meeting. She explained that a Committee is working on a Work Plan and their intention is to bring it to the Commission and then to Council for amendment and it may include traffic calming. She explained that if the Commission approves it, traffic calming would be part of the funding request, which would assist the Commission with NTCP-B. Chair Shepherd stated that the Commission is charged with considering costs when they make a decision and to consider alternative funding such as grants or anything that would generate funding. Chair Shepherd clarified that until an amendment is approved by the City Council, the Public Works budget stands as it was at the beginning of the fiscal year, which means there is no money for traffic calming.
Senior Engineer Motahari reported that the amendment is subject to the Work Plan that the committee is working on and the Commission’s approval of the Work Plan.
Chair Shepherd explained that the NTCP is not saying that there is no money for traffic calming so let’s not develop a traffic calming program; they still need one and, in the event that there is a budget crisis, this is the only way the Commission can do it. If funds become available, there would be alternatives to consider.
Commissioner Willens concurred with Chair Shepherd, and added that when the Council directed the Commission to consider cost he did not like the idea but they have an obligation to do that. He suggested that if the Commission presents the original draft Program to the Council as an alternative and they want the City to fund the projects that would be great. Commissioner Willens suggested that, in an ideal world, the City would not have to ask the community to pay for projects, but he does not believe it would be in the best interest of anyone for the Commission to present a traffic calming plan that requires City funding when they know there is no money for this purpose. He suggested that there probably would be no significant amount of money for the next couple of years and reported that he is receiving e-mails about storm drains costing $300,000 when they estimated $20,000. Commissioner Willens explained that the traffic signals are a safety issue and traffic calming may or may not be a safety issue in considering priorities, and this Program gives the communities the option of doing what they want without waiting for City funding.
Commissioner Wright commented on the priority list and explained that he liked the idea in the first plan that a project third or fourth on the list for traffic calming would be moved to the top if the community helped with funding.
Chair Shepherd stated that she would pass this on to the committee because they want to include alternatives.
Commissioner Wells stated that his neighborhood benefited greatly from City-sponsored traffic calming and he defends that, but he does recognize the need to discuss costs. He stated that he supports two alternatives; one with partial or full funding by the City, and another that is community funded and raises that community’s project to the top of the priority list.
Commissioner Kramer explained that he is concerned about the notification issue and the radius, and believes it is not adequately defined. He stated that he would like to avoid having the City Council overwhelmed at a hearing with neighbors and residents farther away who do not want traffic calming, when residents on a street who need traffic calming are willing to pay for it. Commissioner Kramer stated that he likes the weighting idea, but does not know how it should be defined.
Chair Shepherd commented that the 500 feet is a preliminary notification.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to circle page 12 and noted that 200 feet is incorrectly shown in paragraph 1.
Chair Shepherd commented that 500 feet is only five homes from the neighborhood.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the intent was not to include parallel streets, but specifically intersections, and the 200 feet would include approximately two houses on either side.
Chair Shepherd commented that would be just five homes in each direction on both sides of the street, so 500 feet would add three homes to each area.
Traffic Engineer Rydell used Via Rivera as an example, which would include ten houses on both side streets.
Commissioner Kramer explained that in this case the word “radius” is incorrect, because if a traffic device is installed in the middle of Via Rivera and a circle is drawn around it, every street around it would be affected, and he does not believe that is the intent. The Commission wants to go 500 feet on the frontage, and that is what defines the 75% of signatures on the petition. He clarified that the provision for 500 feet was for notification and he is less concerned with that.
Chair Shepherd agreed that the Commission must place weight if they do this to weigh those at the 500-foot mark as opposed to those that are at or within 100 feet. She suggested talking with the Planning Director and possibly including a table for use in prioritizing or weighing the importance of a signature or an objection. She explained that there has always been a contention with the Commission and City Council that when surrounding residents think they will be affected by emergency response or speed humps, they sometimes come to a meeting in larger numbers than those who are on the affected street. She explained that the Committee is trying to include something in the document that would allow the City to show that they have already considered mitigation for people not on the block.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that he wants to keep it simple, and his intent with respect to the radius was to include people who were directly affected by a traffic-calming device, which typically is the noise; the sound of drivers braking and accelerating, which is the most common complaint that he hears in other areas. Staff knows that these devices will have an effect 200 feet upstream and downstream from the noise, and that is why he thought 200 feet made sense from an engineering perspective.
Chair Shepherd clarified that 200 feet is for noise and 500 feet is for notification, and she still thinks it should be 500 feet.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that traffic calming is always done as a segment with end-points; anything between the end-points is effective because that is how they are designed. Using Via Rivera as an example, he explained that a traffic circle would have an effect on the side streets for approximately 200 feet.
Commissioner Kramer explained that the current language says 75%, which means that many of the residents on the neighboring street would have to agree to it; they would have to get the house on the next street over.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested they would have to get the two houses on the side streets as well. Using Mira Vista as an example he explained that they did the whole street with three speed humps and everyone on Trudie was involved as well as Bayend, which allows them to input but does not dwarf the people on Trudie.
Commissioner Wells commented that considering Trudie, the noise, and the 200 feet, they have neighbors on Mac Arthur and Jaybrook, and asked if they are part of the 500 feet.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it was not the intent.
Commissioner Wells agreed that it was not the intent but explained that if the word “radius” is used, the residents on Trudie Drive will go up against the residents on the steeper part of Mac Arthur that will not have traffic calming and Jaybrook that never had traffic calming and speed humps. He explained that when the word “radius” is used he envisions Mac Arthur and Jaybrook residents also having a say in traffic calming along Trudie. Commissioner Wells proposed rewording the last sentence in paragraph 1 on circle page 12 as follows: “…as well as any property within 500 feet on the same or intersecting streets to the street being engineered for traffic calming.” He explained that residents on Trudie, Trotwood, or Bayend could vote, but not those on Mac Arthur or Jaybrook because they do not intersect Trudie. He explained that even at 500 feet, he gets all of Trudie, part of Bayend and Trotwood, a small section of the top of Jaybrook and Homewood; but when he puts it in a line as Traffic Engineer Rydell described, he does not have to worry about Mac Arthur.
Commissioner Willens proposed rewording the same sentence as follows: “…as well as any property within 200 feet of an intersecting street of any device.” He agreed with Commissioner Wells, adding that he believes they are on the right track with “intersecting” and asked how that word could be placed in a way that makes sense.
Traffic Engineer Rydell agreed that the key is intersecting because they are not talking about parallel streets.
Chair Shepherd clarified that it would then be 500 feet for notification and 200 feet for voting.
Commissioner Willens corrected his rewording for the same sentence to read “…as well as any property within 200 feet on the same or intersecting street.”
Traffic Engineer Rydell read the sentence as revised: “The limits generally consist of all properties between the first and last device in a series, as well as any property on an intersecting street within 200 feet of a device.”
Commissioner Wells asked if they want to go 200 feet beyond the last traffic-calming device on the same street, because intersecting does not say that and suggested adding “…or the street within 200 feet of a device”.
Commissioner Willens explained that if the limit consists of all properties between the first and last device as well as any property within 200 feet on an intersecting street, then by definition the limits of the intersecting streets would have to be between the first and last device, which is what they want. He read the sentence as “…The limits generally consist of all properties between the first and last device in a series, as well as any property within 200 feet on an intersecting street.”
Chair Shepherd explained that if there is no intersecting street it could be in the middle of Via Rivera, and there are no intersecting streets for approximately 50 houses.
Commissioner Willens suggested “…as well as any intersecting street within that 200 feet”, and deferred to Traffic Engineer Rydell to word it properly.
Traffic Engineer Rydell confirmed his understanding of the rewording in the last sentence of paragraph 1 on circle page 12 of the NTCP as follows: “The limits generally consist of all properties between the first and last device in a series, within 200 feet of a device on the calmed street, as well as any property on an intersecting street within 200 feet of any device.” He clarified that it would be 200 feet on circle page 12 and 500 feet on circle page 11 (page 6 of the NTCP) in the bulleted paragraph under the sample door hanger. The Commissioners concurred.
Commissioner Willens referred to the title at the top of circle page 6, which is the NTCP cover page and reads ***FULL RESIDENT FUNDING OPTION***.
Chair Shepherd clarified that this notation was included to remind the Commission of the version under discussion, but it is not officially a title.
Commissioner Willens asked if this document should come back to the Commission for further review.
Chair Shepherd responded that, since there are minimal changes, further review is not necessary
Commissioner Willens moved that the Commission approve the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program-B (NTCP-B) set forth in the agenda packet as circle pages 6 through 38 with the three revisions agreed upon and forward this document, along with the original draft NTCP-A as an alternative, to the City Council for their consideration, seconded by Commissioner Kramer.
Chair Shepherd asked that the Commission allow her to review the revisions before the document is forwarded to the City Council.
Commissioner Willens amended his Motion to read, “…with the three revisions agreed upon. The Chair will review the changes to verify that they agree with what the Commission approved before forwarding this NTCP-B (resident funding) document, along with draft NTCP-A (mixed funding) as an alternative, to the City Council for their consideration, seconded by Commissioner Kramer.
Commissioner Wells clarified that this Motion will allow the Commission to send both draft NTCPs forward in anticipation that the City Council may just jell them together and send them back with instructions to do it again.
Chair Shepherd asked if the Commission authorized the NTCP-A to go to the City Council at the last meeting.
Commissioner Willens pointed out that authorization to send NTCP-A is included in his Motion.
Commissioner Kramer asked if NTCP-A (mixed funding) draft also has the issues with the radii.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded yes, but that there are different issues such as the prioritization process, and he will incorporate the revisions made at this meeting into that document.
Chair Shepherd suggested amending the Motion to include “…these changes on pages 11 and 12 also be integrated”.
Commissioner Willens amended his Motion and moved to approve the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (NTCP-B Resident Funded) set forth in pages 6 through 38 with the three revisions discussed at this meeting; that those revisions also be incorporated into the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (NTCP-A Mixed Funded) draft, and both versions be presented to the Chair to ensure that the revisions were made in accordance with the Commission’s direction.
Commissioner Willens further moved that, after the Chair’s review, the draft NTCP-B Resident Funded document be forwarded to the City Council along with the draft NTCP-A Mixed Funded document, seconded by Commissioner Kramer.
Senior Engineer Motahari asked what is the recommendation to the City Council when the NTCP is presented to them.
Chair Shepherd stated she believes, based on the Commission’s discussions, that their preference is to do their best based on available funding; that if there is funding the Commission prefers NTCP-A Mixed Funding, and the NTCP-B Resident Funded draft is presented because there is no funding.
Commissioner Willens recommended NTCP-B Resident Funded because there are no City funds, and NTCP-A Mixed Funding is the alternative as stated in his Motion.
The Motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Ayes 5 Commissioners Kramer, Wells, Wright, Vice Chair Willens, Chair Shepherd
1. CORNERSTONE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PARKING RESTRICTIONS
Replace the existing 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm School Days Only parking restrictions on the north (school) side of Groveoak Place between Hyte Road and the school driveway 230 feet west of Hyte Road with 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm School Days Only parking restrictions.
Traffic Engineer’s Report
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that Cornerstone Elementary School is on Groveoak Place just off Grayslake Road and there is now a loading zone in front of the school and for a short distance up to Grayslake from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm school days only. He explained that the intent of the parking restriction is to keep vehicles moving so children can be loaded or unloaded in an orderly manner. He explained that Staff has been working with the Principal, who is in attendance at this meeting, during the past year due to problems facilitating smooth loading and unloading operations in the afternoon. He reported that there are several arrival and dismissal periods, and this problem is exacerbated by the parking needs of parents, since this is a parent participation school requiring parents to assist with daily school activities. Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that to provide a better loading and unloading zone Staff proposed extending 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm to Noon to 4 pm, and it fits in with the class start and end times as listed in his report.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the changes that would take place if the Commission approves the recommendation would only be in front of the school because the opposite side of the street is residential and there are no parking restrictions there. Furthermore, he explained that on the east side of Groveoak between the school and Grayslake the restriction is 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, and he is not recommending changing that or anything in front of the homes.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that Staff had questions about whether they should bring this to the Commission but, after talking with Chair Shepherd, they decided it was appropriate. He reviewed the recommendation.
Chair Shepherd commented that Staff could have handled this, but this provides an opportunity for the Principal and the residents to speak before the Commission makes a decision.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that residents across the street were notified of this meeting in advance.Commission Questions of Staff
Commissioner Wells pointed out a typo on circle page 40 under Class End Times and suggested changing 11:50 pm to 11:50 am.
There were no further questions.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
William Hyller, 6058 Groveoak Place, stated that he lives across from the school and that no one goes into the parking lot if they can find a place in front of his house. He explained that he has lived there for 40 years and has endured many nasty people who block his driveway and his mailbox. He recently received a notice from the Post Office that said if he could not keep his mailbox clear he will have to pick up his mail at the Post Office. He suggested that sometimes it is because the Principal has not informed the parents who are parking in front of people’s houses to be considerate. Mr. Hyller stated that the drivers do not obey traffic laws and do not care about anyone because they have children in school. He explained that there is ample space around the corner, in the parking lot, and in front of the school, but they want to park as close as possible to the school, and unless the traffic can be controlled, it will not change. Mr. Hyller stated that there is a baseball diamond on the school property, and in the evening there are soccer players and baseball practice; on Saturdays people come from San Pedro and everywhere else, which would be fine if they would stay on that side of the street instead of using people’s parking spots. Mr. Hyller explained that there is no way for emergency vehicles to get through because there is barely room for two cars. Mr. Hyller explained that the school was built approximately 40 years ago as an elementary school, and the area has not grown up with what is happening in today’s world. He explained that it was a neighborhood school; the children and parents walked to school and there were no cars, and today the school is inundated because it is a charter school, and there is parking all day long in front of his and his neighbors’ houses. He explained that they park in front of his house and run across the street and he is worried that someone will be run over because it is downhill and some people drive fast. Mr. Hyller would like to see a one-way street using Grayslake Place, Spring Creek, and Groveoak Place and that would be a perfect solution for everyone concerned. As an alternative, Mr. Hyller suggested something similar to Basswood. Mr. Hyller asked to see the EIR and Chair Shepherd asked him to contact Staff later about that. Mr. Hyller is not in favor of the recommendation.
Denise Leonard, Principal of Cornerstone Elementary School, explained that she joined the school system last year at the beginning of the school year and inherited the traffic problem. She explained that drop-off times are not a problem, but dismissal pickup times are a problem even though they have several different dismissal times a day. She explained that when the parents are not able to drive along the curb because of the parked cars there are cars in the driveway. Then if neighbors are coming through, they want to go around and not wait in line. She explained that it made her nervous because she saw several near misses when a car may be coming around and there is a parked car on the other side. She explained that the road is just not wide enough to handle that; that she and Staff were looking for a way to make it as safe as possible for a quick pickup so drivers spend as little time as possible because it is disruptive to the neighborhood. She stated that the parked cars do slow things down, and they considered opening out the no-parking zone all the way to the front of the school as well. She suggested that area would eliminate up to ten cars, but the teaching parents who work there every day would need a place to park they would use the residential area, and she was against that. Ms. Leonard stated that the recommendation to extend the time from Noon to 4 pm would be a big help to ease the congestion. Ms. Leonard is in favor of the recommendation.
Commissioner Wells asked where the parents usually park, is there space in the parking lot, and what kind of radius throughout the neighborhood does she guess that they are using.
Ms. Leonard responded that the parking lot serves the staff and faculty, and other drivers park along Spring Creek Road, Hyte Road, and the opposite side of Groveoak.
Commissioner Wells asked why a parking restriction from Noon to 4 pm is better than 11:30 am to 3:30 pm when there is no parking in front so the kindergarten children would not have to cross the street.
Ms. Leonard responded that after this report was done the school changed the kindergarten schedule and dismissal will be at 1:50 pm most days. She stated that on minimum days, which do not happen often, dismissal would be 12:46 pm for first through fifth grade. She explained that when this happens, all of the children are out at the same time and it is especially troublesome with traffic.
Commissioner Wells questioned whether there are still people picking up children during the last half hour between 3:30 pm and 4 pm.
Ms. Leonard responded that every day after school there are enrichment programs held at the school and they are from 3 pm to 4 pm.
Commissioner Wells asked if a Noon to 4:30 pm restriction would be helpful.
Ms. Leonard stated that it could help. She explained that they are encouraging everyone to be good neighbors and she tries to be outside at dismissal time more often.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
Chair Shepherd suggested that it is unfair for the Commission to work on this when school is not in session and the Commissioners cannot visit the site to see the conditions, how it is affecting the residents, and the safety of traffic. Secondly, Chair Shepherd suggested that if they restrict parking any time on the school side of the street it is obvious that parking will switch to the resident’s side, and in her opinion parking should be restricted on the resident’s side if at all, but that may not be the safest based on pickup times, ingress, and egress of students. She explained that the Commissioners need to observe the situation during heavy traffic times and then they might decide to restrict parking on that street completely from Noon to 4 pm, including the residential side, and allow the residents to have permit parking if necessary.
Commissioner Willens agreed and suggested seeing if there are other things that need attention after the school year begins on September 4.
Commissioner Willens moved to defer this item until the September 24, 2007 Commission meeting to allow the Commissioners to observe the situation when school is in session, seconded by Commissioner Wright.
Commissioner Wright referred to Commission school assignments and asked if that would be explored again.
Chair Shepherd said Staff would send the matrix to the Commissioners for selection of schools they want to represent.
Commissioner Kramer asked Sgt. Creason if he is aware of any enforcement-related issues specific to Cornerstone Elementary.
Sgt. Creason stated that he is not aware of any.
The Motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Ayes 5 Commissioners Kramer, Wells, Wright, Vice Chair Willens, Chair Shepherd
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
The Commission recessed at 8:45 pm and reconvened at 8:54 pm.
2. SPEED SURVEYS
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that for this meeting ten segments were presented as described in the recommendations, and explained that Staff is evaluating all 23 speed limits in the City, and ten or eleven more will be presented at the next meeting. He briefly reviewed his report, stating that the California Vehicle Code (CVC) and the California Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) are very specific about how speed limits are set. If radar enforcement will be used, the speed limits must be set consistent with State law and the criteria in MUTCD. He stated that he mainly reviews the 85th percentile of speed, accident history, roadway characteristics that are not readily apparent to motorists, residential density, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety, which are all clearly spelled out in the CVC.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that on nine of the ten locations he is recommending that the existing speed limits be retained as described in the recommendations; that the only change recommended is to increase the speed limit from 35 mph to 40 mph on Crenshaw Boulevard on the southern portion between Crest Road and Seacrest Drive. He explained that in accordance with the regulations regarding the 85th percentile speed, he must select the nearest 5 mph increment, explaining that if it is 38 mph it goes to 40 mph (not the next lower), and if there is proper justification a 5 mph decrease can be applied to that 5 mph increment. Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to circle pages 52 through 71, which contain the actual survey forms that are submitted to the Sheriff and the Courts, and they support what is done.
Traffic Engineer Rydell read the comments section of the survey for Crenshaw Boulevard between Crest Road and Seacrest Drive on circle page 63 as follows:
“The 85th percentile speed suggests a speed zone of 45 mph would be appropriate. However this roadway is used by bicyclists and pedestrians accessing Del Cerro Park and nearby hiking trails, creating the potential for significant conflict with vehicles. Considering this factor and CVC Section 627, which specifies that pedestrian and bicyclist safety be considered in an Engineering and Traffic Survey, it is appropriate to apply a 5 mph reduction from the 85th percentile speed in order to establish a reasonable and safe speed limit.”
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that he has already applied the 5 mph reduction as the CVC allows, and in most of the remaining speed zones, he did find justification to apply a 5 mph reduction that is appropriate and defensible and would not be thrown out of court.Commission Questions of Staff
Commissioner Kramer referred to Crest Road and Palos Verdes Drive East where it widens into two lanes with a 35 mph limit, and then, when turning onto Crest Road, it is 45 mph, and commented that it is the same neighborhood and seems incongruous to have speeds 10 mph apart.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that they are different streets and that is what it is based upon.
Commissioner Willens moved to approve the Speed Survey Recommendations 1 through 10 as set forth by Staff, seconded by Commissioner Wells.
The Motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Ayes 5 Commissioners Kramer, Wells, Wright, Vice Chair Willens, Chair Shepherd
Chair Shepherd pointed out that a matrix was not presented, but it should be part of each Staff report to provide a history of action items requiring Staff investigation that was requested by the Commission. She explained that items might include, for example, the traffic signal at Forrestal and the right-turn pocket striping; that the matrix should include a status report on any items listed. She instructed that the Action Items Matrix be listed on each Agenda under "Receive and File".
3. FORRESTAL DRIVE TRAFFIC CALMING
Approve traffic calming at Forrestal Drive as to the 'concept' and subject to the Commission's future review and approval of the design.
Principal Planner Ara Mihranian of the Rancho Palos Verdes (RPV) Planning Department reported that he is present to inform the Commission about a grant that is being submitted by the Planning and Public Works Departments to the State of California for a project entitled “Forrestal Nature Preserve Trailhead and Trail Improvement Project”. The Commission was provided with a copy of a document entitled “City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Environmental Checklist Form” (ECF).
Principal Planner Mihranian explained that at the July 21, 2007 City Council meeting Staff presented the opportunity to apply for a State grant for two trail projects, and one of them involves Forrestal. He explained that he has been the Staff liaison to the Forrestal Advisory Board for approximately eight years and works with the Land Conservancy on various improvements at Forrestal. He reported that one of the projects listed on the Council-approved Improvement Project List involves improvement of trails identified in the management plan as well as the possibility of one day creating a trailhead at the gate of Forrestal Drive, which would include improvements such as parking, signs, drinking fountains, and things of that nature. Principal Planner Mihranian explained that this grant opportunity became available, and information is on the website including a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act.
Principal Planner Mihranian reported that one of the components involves traffic calming measures. He emphasized it is the “concept” that he is asking the Commission to review and approve for the Minutes to reflect, so that when Staff submits the grant application to the City, the Council can see that Staff has gone through the due diligence, assuring that all the committees and bodies involved have reviewed and are in support of the proposal. Principal Planner Mihranian explained that the traffic calming measures prepared by Traffic Engineer Rydell prepared in 2004 were discussed at a special Council meeting on December 4, 2004 at a Saturday workshop, and the issue was shelved because of lack of funding, but now they have this opportunity. He explained that there is no guarantee that the grant will be approved, but if it is, Staff will prepare a report and present it to the Traffic Safety Commission. He emphasized that approximately 40 jurisdictions applied for this grant and approximately eight were approved.
Senior Engineer Motahari commented that a revised agenda was prepared.
Chair Shepherd explained that the revised agenda was on the website and available to the public, but the Commissioners did not receive it because the packets had already been sent.
Commissioner Willens asked if the Commission would be asked to vote on something that they have not seen, because he has not seen it.
Chair Shepherd explained that this is a presentation from Principal Planner Mihranian to explain the concept of what they are doing; that this is the Planning Department’s program, they are submitting it, and they do not necessarily need approval from the Commission. She explained that they are just providing information about the concept, and they will return with what they want to do if and after they receive the grant, and then the Commission will vote on the project. She emphasized that at this point, Principal Planner Mihranian is asking if the Commission agrees with the concept or not, because it will affect the Commission in the future if the grant is approved.
Principal Planner Mihranian explained that the Listserv message that was sent to members of the Traffic Safety Commission had an MND attached with images of the traffic calming measures including parking, crosswalks, speed bumps, traffic signs, and striping. He explained that measures like that would be considered, and depending upon funds, they can develop a more refined plan and bring it through the channels for approval before implementing construction.
Chair Shepherd asked if what the Commission is seeing would be part of the grant proposal.
Principal Planner Mihranian responded that it would be part of the grant proposal.
Traffic Engineer Rydell offered to answer any questions the Commissioners might have since he developed the process.
Chair Shepherd informed the Commission of previous consideration of traffic calming devices on Forrestal because of proposals involving soccer games and traffic for certain events and explained that Traffic Engineer Rydell recommended speed cushions, but it was not pursued because of lack of funding. She suggested that if the City receives the grant money, the Commission could consider traffic calming in this area.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment B included in the Environmental Checklist Form (ECF), which proposes a series of four raised crosswalks or speed tables such as those proposed for Via Rivera. He described them as 10 feet across the top and two six-foot approaches. He explained that the intent was not just to control traffic speeds, but also to provide pedestrian safety because one of the goals was to provide better parking along this portion of Forrestal. He explained that his opinion was that putting raised crosswalks at approximately 600 foot intervals would mean that no one had to walk more than 300 feet and this would have a speed control effect.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment D in the ECF, and stated that they intended to provide parking on both sides, which tends to be limited on Forrestal, and pointed out a continuous pedestrian walkway along the east side as a safe refuge for pedestrians walking from their vehicles to a raised crosswalk. Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to attachment F in the ECF, which recommended stop signs at a 90-degree corner where there is a raised sidewalk because he wanted to make it safer for pedestrians even though there is a stop sign. On Attachment E in the ECF, he pointed out a raised crosswalk with a concrete path next to it and that was in conformance with the ADA issues. He explained that the concept involves parking, safe pedestrian access along both sides, and safe pedestrian crossings.
Commission Questions of Staff
Chair Shepherd asked if the individuals who raised concerns about Forrestal have seen this report, mentioning Barbara Dye.
Principal Planner Mihranian explained that he sent the MND to everyone involved.
Chair Shepherd asked if there were any responses from Ms. Dye’s group.
Principal Planner Mihranian responded that the Forrestal Advisory Board had a meeting last Wednesday, August 22, 2007, and several members of the public attending this meeting were at that meeting and they gave comments that he incorporated into the project description that is part of the environmental document. He added that the deadline for submitting the application is October 1, 2007, and Staff plans to take the environmental document to the Council for their review at their September 18, 2007 meeting.
Chair Shepherd asked how this project would affect the homes along Forrestal and if all of this installation is beyond the gate.
Commissioner Kramer asked if the gate is closed at certain times.
Principal Planner Mihranian responded that it varies; that on the weekend it is open most of the time because activities organized by the school district and AYSL are held on the soccer field, and during the week, it would be closed but can be opened with arrangements through Parks and Recreation. He explained that the residents can explain the history, but the gate is there to control traffic at the end of the road because dumping and other activities were occurring there and they feel strongly about keeping the gate there. He explained that in order to have parking for the public at the trailhead, the thought is to possibly install another gate three or four hundred feet in from the existing gate. That would allow the existing gate to be opened to allow the public to come in and use the trailhead, and the second gate would remain closed and could be opened based on the policy that is currently in place.
Chair Shepherd questioned if vehicles parked during the soccer games affect the residents on Forrestal, and whether anything could be included in the grant if mitigation is required. She suggested that the residents could be asked if that is a problem.
Chair Shepherd referred to Attachment F in the ECF and commented on the dead-end, and asked what is beyond that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that it is the soccer field.
Chair Shepherd asked why there is not a raised crosswalk there.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that they did not want to encourage parking on that side of the roadway; that when the concept was developed parking would be encouraged on Forrestal between the gate and the stop sign so there is no reason for pedestrians to be walking on that side.
Chair Shepherd asked if parking is restricted.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he is not sure.
Chair Shepherd suggested that if parking is not restricted there is a possibility that it will overflow to that street.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that it is something to consider, but when the concept was made, they were not encouraging people to park on that side.
Chair Shepherd suggested in that case maybe parking should be restricted on Intrepid as part of the plan, which is the street under discussion.
Traffic Engineer Rydell commented that he does not believe there are any pedestrian facilities on Intrepid.
Chair Shepherd explained that on the aerial view, it looks like there is a sidewalk because it looks the same as Forrestal, but if there is not, they should probably restrict parking as part of this plan.
Principal Planner Mihranian agreed that it sounds like a good idea. He commented that Fossil Hill is across the street from the soccer field, and originally putting a trail along that side of the road was considered, but he believes it will be moved along the soccer field side and will go up to the cul-de-sac and continue on the trails. Principal Planner Mihranian suggested that it makes sense to restrict parking on that side. He explained that when there are soccer games drivers go down Forrestal, turn on Intrepid, and then turn into the dirt road where there is overflow parking, and the distance is probably the reason there is no crosswalk.
Commissioner Wells asked if they are considering asking for money for a traffic signal at Forrestal.
Principal Planner Mihranian responded that they are not asking for a traffic signal and stated that the money they are asking for is for trailhead improvements and traffic calming measures in the area of the gate.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
George Fink, 32353 Searaven Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, representing Ladera Linda Homeowners’ Association (HOA) as Chairman of their Outreach Committee, expressed support for the project. He reported that the Committee met with the Forrestal Advisory Board on August 22, 2007 and expressed their opinion. He referred to Attachment I, area W11-2, in the illustrations provided by Traffic Engineer Rydell, and explained that the gate history was encapsulated by the HOA. Mr. Fink explained that when the gate did not exist they had nighttime young people there, drunkenness, and dumping, so many years ago the gate was put in place. He stated that on the rare occasions when the gate was left open the problems re-emerged; that now under the current control, they have a bare minimum of difficulties with traffic at odd hours and kids camping out. Mr. Fink explained that the homeowners are very firm that they need the gate and they need to maintain the same control. With regard to soccer parking, he referred to Attachment I for soccer parking and confirmed that there is a dirt lot to the left of what is flagged as W11-2 in Attachment I. He explained that when there are several soccer games going on the parking area is not sufficient for all the vehicles that carry the players, coaches, and soccer moms, so the traffic does overflow onto Intrepid, which is a cul-de-sac, on both sides. In addition, he explained that three trailheads open from Intrepid into the Forrestal Nature Preserve. Mr. Fink explained that on December 4, 2004, when the City Council met and deliberated on trail routes and uses it was determined by City Council that work trailers would be allowed to park along Intrepid to embark and debark forces to gain access to the multi-purpose trails in the Fossil Hill area. He reported that is still in place and they would park on the north side of Intrepid. Mr. Fink explained that one of the crossings at W11-16-7P on Attachment I crosses over to a trailhead to Crystal Trail from the west side of Forrestal to the east side, and suggested that a speed table there would be a good mitigating device. He reported that there is a great deal of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and bicycles are now allowed along Forrestal as part of the nature preserve trail-use designations. He reported that they would normally proceed along Forrestal from the lower gate at the entrance to the preserve up to Intrepid and onto the trails that he cited earlier around Fossil Hill that are designated for bicycle use.
Commissioner Willens clarified that the HOA is in favor of this project to correct the error on Mr. Fink’s speaker slip.
Mr. Fink emphasized that they are very much in favor of it as defined by their input at the two meetings they attended. He explained that Principal Planner Mihranian has incorporated their comments into the Environmental Checklist Form.
Mickey Rodich, President of the Ladera Linda Homeowners’ Association (HOA), explained that the second-gate access originated with Barbara Dye; that the HOA reviewed it and thought it was a good idea to be able to separate and still maintain what is behind the gate for soccer and provide parking for the trailheads between the two gates. He reported that presently parking is below the first gate, runs down Forrestal past Pirate where residents turn into their tract, and if the traffic is moved above the first gate it would help considerably, and they are in favor of that. He explained that part of the reason for the parking on Intrepid is that there are two levels of soccer fields; on Intrepid there is a higher level with two large soccer fields, and approximately 30 feet below is another large area with up to four soccer fields. Mr. Rodich reported that limited parking areas in the “below” area cannot hold many cars, it is dirt rather than paved, and it is a mess when it rains, so people always park on Intrepid and it runs over into Forrestal.
Chair Shepherd asked Principal Planner Mihranian to forget what she said about restricting parking on Intrepid because, from what the speakers are explaining, it is necessary, and she thanked the speakers for their reports. She reiterated for the Commissioners that they are just agreeing in concept to what would be included in the grant proposal.
Commissioner Wells clarified that it is a Traffic Safety Commission endorsement of the grant application.
Commissioner Wells moved to endorse the traffic-calming concept as proposed by the Planning Department, and to include the Traffic Safety Commission’s endorsement into the grant application for the Forrestal Nature Preserve Trailhead and Trail Improvement Project, seconded by Commissioner Willens.
The Motion carried on the following roll call vote:
The update was provided under Public Comments.
Senior Engineer Motahari updated the Commission on the problem reported last month regarding striping for the right-turn pocket at Palos Verdes Drive East (PVDE) at Ganado, and stated that the right-turn pocket was not the issue. He explained that there was some narrowing of the road that was not striped properly, which was corrected, and signage was relocated.
Tom Redfield asked if the right-turn pocket would be extended up further.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that that was part of the problem; that the transition from one lane to two lanes was too close to Ganado. He reported that it should have been closer to Crest so that was wrong, the signage was wrong, and the pavement arrows were wrong, and that was all corrected.
Mr. Redfield commented that he has not noticed that it was done.
Senior Engineer Motahari reported that the length of the right-turn pocket was measured three times, and it is correct.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the right-turn pocket at Ganado was not the issue; that the transition from two lanes to one was too close to Ganado. He explained that Staff intended to move the transition up further; that it was marked and should now be completed.
Chair Shepherd asked when it was completed.
Senior Engineer Motahari stated that it was done last week.
Chair Shepherd commented that she drove it today and did not see any obvious change, so that would mean it was fluid and not abrupt, so she would presume it was working correctly.
Mr. Redfield suggested that when Staff does the final changes, they contact him or the HOA so they can go to the site and clarify that.
Chair Shepherd suggested that Mr. Redfield report to the HOA that the work has been done and they can drive and verify it.
Commissioner Kramer asked that an agenda item be scheduled to discuss the signs on PVDE that say “Not suitable for bicycles”, which he believes are inappropriate and dangerous and should be taken down.
Commissioner Wellls requested that Staff schedule an agenda item to discuss a possible parking restriction on the west side of Miraleste as it goes by the condominium complex. He referred to the City of Los Angeles drivers who park their cars all day long on Miraleste Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes. Commissioner Wells suggested that if the Commission calms that issue, they could send a notice to the other giant development being planned across the street from Rancho Palos Verdes to suggest to them that they cannot park on the RPV side either.
Chair Shepherd reported that a resident from Miraleste asked the Commission to consider restricting parking of RVs and she has noticed during the past several months that this has increased because of the Los Angeles Ordinance.
Commissioner Wells commented that in noting Traffic Engineer Rydell’s illustrations of the speeds along the street he noticed that in front of Miraleste Canyon Estates, property on both sides of Miraleste Drive between Ridgelane and First Street is within the City limits of Rancho Palos Verdes, and suggested restricting parking on both sides of Miraleste Drive. Commissioner Wells explained that if the Commissioners drove by there most evenings at 5 pm they would find no parking on Miraleste Drive for people who live in Rancho Palos Verdes because it is filled with people who live on Western.
c. Attendance at next meeting
Commissioner Wells asked to be excused from the next meeting, as he will be unable to attend.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Approval of Minutes of July 23, 2007
Chair Shepherd stated that she would abstain because she has not reviewed the Minutes. Commissioner Wright explained that he would abstain because he was absent from that meeting. Because of these two abstentions, there was not a quorum to approve the Minutes, and they were deferred until the next meeting in September.
Meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m. to Monday, September 24, 2007 at 7:00 pm, City of Rancho Palos Verdes Community Room.