OCTOBER 22, 2007 TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION MINUTES OCTOBER 22, 2007 TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION MINUTES OCTOBER 22, 2007 TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION MINUTES

MINUTES

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA

TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

OCTOBER 22, 2007

CALL TO ORDER:  Chair Shepherd called the meeting to order at 7:04 PM at Rancho Palos Verdes Community Room

ROLL CALL:            PRESENT:   Chair Shepherd, Commissioners Bilezerian, Kramer, Parfenov, Wells, Wright

                                    ABSENT:      Vice Chair Willens

ALSO PRESENT:   Siamak Motahari, Senior Engineer, Public Works; 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:

ACTION TAKEN:

Commissioner Wright moved to place Public Comments after the Sheriff’s Status Report, seconded by Commissioner Bilezerian.

Motion approved:
Ayes 6, Nays 0

CHAIR’S COMMUNICATION:

Chair Shepherd reported that the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (NTCP) did not go to the City Council on October 16, 2007.

Senior Engineer Motahari reported that the NTCP is on the City Council Agenda for December 18, 2007.

Chair Shepherd requested suggestions from the Commissioners regarding a date for the November/December Traffic Safety Commission meeting.  After discussion, the Commissioners chose Monday, December 10, 2007.  Commissioner Parfenov was uncertain if he would be available on that date.

Chair Shepherd reported that the Marymount College draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is complete and the Planning Commission has asked the Traffic Safety Commission to have a public hearing for the traffic component within the public comment period, which ends in January 2008.  She explained that the Traffic Safety Commission must schedule the public hearing on the Marymount EIR for the meeting in December.

Senior Engineer Motahari reported that, per the Planning Commission, the Traffic Safety Commission is not required to take any action except to receive public comments.

Chair Shepherd recalled from previous draft EIR meetings that the Planning Commission asked the Traffic Safety Commission to provide opinions or recommendations after the public hearing.

Commissioner Bilezerian asked if the Traffic Safety Commission is the only body that would comment on the traffic analysis, or will the Traffic Engineer or Staff provide comments.

Chair Shepherd explained that the Traffic Engineer would be at the Commission meeting on December 10, 1007.

Commissioner Bilezerian clarified that he is asking because if this were the only body receiving comments, it would be a concern for him; but as a citizen of the City anyone can comment on the EIR, so if the Commissioners do not have uniform opinions, they can express their opinions individually.

Chair Shepherd explained that the public can send opinions to the Commissioners, but she believes that the Commission should comment as a body.

Senior Engineer Motahari suggested that the first step is the public hearing, followed by a report to the Traffic Safety Commission based on public comments received and a decision by the Commission regarding the traffic aspects of the EIR.

Chair Shepherd agreed, adding that the Traffic Safety Commission would then forward the results to the Planning Commission.

Chair Shepherd asked that when she suggests an action item for the matrix the Recording Secretary make a notation in the draft Minutes to call it to the attention of Staff.

SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT REPORT:

Deputy Knox reported that the Sheriff’s Department is on a 12/12 shift, working 12 hours on and 12 hours off to help with the fires in Malibu or Canyon Country providing security in evacuated neighborhoods to prevent looting, although some Deputies are staying in local areas.  He reported on an accident at Palos Verdes Drive South (PVDS) and Palos Verdes Drive East (PVDE) on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 about 5:30 pm involving injuries and road closures.

Commissioner Wright asked if the primary cause of the collision is known.

Deputy Knox suggested that failure to yield might have been the cause.

Commissioner Wright suggested that the cause might be the position of the sun at this time of year because there was another accident at that location the next day with almost the same kind of damage.

Chair Shepherd commented that, at the same intersection, there are two shrubs with long grass-like stems at the island eastbound on PVDS when making a left turn northbound onto the switchback, and she suggested that they be removed and replaced with low ground cover or nothing.  She noticed that they affect her visibility during the day, and although they are trimmed, they grow tall in a short time.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

This section of the agenda is for audience comments for items not on the agenda.

Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.

Stanley and Marilyn Kritzer, 3832 Pirate Drive, asked for a status report on the traffic signal at Palos Verdes Drive South and Forrestal.

Senior Engineer Motahari reported that it is status quo at this time, but this project would not be final until the conditions are met. 

Mr. Kritzer asked for an estimate of the time when the Trump Organization is required to comply.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that the Trump Organization has to either pay the City or install the traffic signal with the City’s oversight.  He believes, according to the Planning Department, that the organization has a year to meet all the conditions.  Senior Engineer Motahari reported that a right-turn lane was installed so that drivers making a left turn would not hold traffic behind them.

OLD BUSINESS: TRAFFIC SAFETY WORK PLAN Recommendations:
  1. Review, discuss and finalize the draft Traffic Safety Work Plan prepared by the Committee.
  2. Direct Staff to prepare a final report and forward it to City Council.

Traffic Engineer’s Report

Chair Shepherd explained that, in the absence of the Traffic Engineer, she and Commissioner Bilezerian would report on behalf of the Committee.  A copy of the Traffic Engineering Budget Analysis on circle pages 3 and 4 was provided.

Chair Shepherd pointed out that two categories are presented as a result of the Committee’s review.  She explained that necessary actions refers to those mandated by a federal, state, or local regulation or to some agency’s requirements that must be met based on the fiscal year or a stated period.  She stated that the Committee prioritized the items according to the categories and activities.  She explained that the Committee needs the Traffic Safety Commission’s approval and recommendations so that Staff can prepare an amended budget request to the City Council for additional funds to support the items in this proposed budget.  Chair Shepherd offered to review the “desirable” category and asked Commissioner Bilezerian to review the “mandated” programs if the Commissioners had questions.

Commission Discussion

Commissioner Kramer commented that the 2007/08 budgets are substantially higher in both the necessary and desirable categories, and it appears that it is because of the traffic survey.  He asked if that is correct.

Commissioner Bilezerian stated that it is because all of the work would be done in the first fiscal year and after that it is not labor intensive, but the initial audit is only updated if something is deleted or added.  He explained that the higher budget figure is because of the initial audit.

Commissioner Kramer clarified that is the major reason why the budgets for subsequent years are substantially lower.

Commissioner Parfenov commented that he asked Traffic Engineer Rydell to include the Technology Committee in the budget, and he does not see it on the spreadsheet unless it is hidden in one of the items, such as Traffic Regulation Management.

Chair Shepherd stated that nothing that is a grant project will be part of this program; the Committee has many items that went under grants, and any additional new technology was in that category.  She explained that once the Technology Committee comes up with items approved by the Commission, they could be presented to the City Council with an amendment request for next year.  She explained that Traffic Engineer Rydell mentioned that several grants are available and the grant process should be part of this, but they do not know at this time what those grants would be or if funds for Traffic Engineer Rydell’s services to write the grants would be available in the budget.

Commissioner Bilezerian explained that the grant category would include stop signs, flashing beacons, or anything that would upgrade existing equipment and would be new technology.

Commissioner Parfenov questioned that the grant process would be one of the sources of funds for new technology.

Commissioner Bilezerian explained that the Committee considered that anything they wanted to implement that had new technology associated with it was something they could use to obtain funding for implementation through a grant.  If grant money was not obtained for installation, the City may or may not receive technology approval.

Chair Shepherd explained that any technology recommendations should include very serious findings and costs based on a potentially tight budget.  She reported that the Committee will work with Councilman Clark on legislation the City could take to Sacramento to try to implement a technology program in the City; that until they have that legislation, they do not know what the cost factors would be.

Commissioner Parfenov explained that there is a draft final report from the Technology Committee and he would like to work with his fellow Commissioners to get their ideas.

Chair Shepherd stated that Councilman Clark would meet with the Technology Committee and provide direction on what he wants the Committee to do before they start working.  She explained that his intention is for the Committee to prepare a plan to develop legislation to go to Sacramento so that Rancho Palos Verdes and other members of the California League of Cities could pursue legislation that would allow technology to be implemented in many cities, as opposed to Rancho Palos Verdes doing this alone.

Commissioner Wright asked Commissioner Parfenov if the Technology Committee is involved with the Developing and Maintaining GIS Data Management Program for traffic issues.

Commissioner Parfenov responded that the Committee’s report includes GIS technology.

Commissioner Wright asked, for $10,000, what is that technology doing for the City.

Commissioner Parfenov responded that the software alone costs approximately $10,000, but he is not sure what specific benefits it would provide for the City.

Commissioner Bilezerian explained that the City could develop a database regarding traffic accidents and traffic circulation issues that would provide information to help analyze problems for future traffic flows, pedestrians, and bicycles; that it would identify the location of traffic signals, help develop evacuation plans, and identify traffic measures and equipment.

Commissioner Wright clarified that the City already has a GIS system.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that the City has a GIS, but this is a software program for traffic; that currently the City has a manual system that backs up that number, and the software would combine the information.  He explained that the first year cost would be for purchasing the software and subsequent years would involve the time for adding data; that GIS shows locations on the map, but there are other applications in the software program being proposed.

Commissioner Parfenov explained that the software includes the ability to create a traffic simulation and traffic assessment.

Commissioner Bilezerian explained for example at an intersection that has problematic accidents of different types, the situation could be analyzed.

Commissioner Wright asked if the City is drawing information from the Sheriff’s Department, since they are taking the accident reports.

Commissioner Bilezerian commented that he believes that the Sheriff’s Department provides information and there is data entry by the City through GIS.

Chair Shepherd referred to circle page 4 of the budget analysis under “Desirable Work Subtotal, and pointed out the item “Procure and maintain an accident database system(1)”; the footnote is explained as “Include in budget, but apply for funding through grant applications.”  She read notes from Traffic Engineer Rydell’s supplementary notes as follows:

“This program is intended to better manage the traffic accident records and data within RPV.  It will provide for a more cost-effective method by identifying accidents in high-accident locations in order to increase traffic safety.  Budgets for this project could vary greatly depending upon whether a robust software package is purchased or a more limited in-house database is developed utilizing Microsoft Access or Excel.  Initially this varies from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the type of software.”

Chair Shepherd clarified that this is Traffic Engineer Rydell’s definition for this item.

Commissioner Wright asked if this has been approved in the budget.

Chair Shepherd responded that this is a proposal developed by the Committee to prioritize the programs and identify them as either necessary or desirable, and Traffic Engineer Rydell placed dollar amounts for the budget next to each proposal.  She explained that the issue is that if the Commission approves and agrees that the items are either necessary or desirable as listed, the Traffic Engineering Budget Analysis would go back to Staff for them to present to the City Council with a request for an amendment to the 2007/08 budget.  Chair Shepherd explained that this is what the Council wanted from the Commission when Staff requests an amended budget for certain programs.

Commissioner Bilezerian pointed out on circle page 3 in the “Necessary” category that the Committee listed internal support, mandated programs, and Traffic Safety Commission support, which are non-negotiable.

ACTION TAKEN:

Commissioner Bilezerian moved to direct Staff to prepare the final report and forward it to the City Council, seconded by Commissioner Wright.

Commission Discussion

Chair Shepherd directed that the Staff report to the City Council should include an explanation of each category to enable them to understand the items in more detail.  She suggested that the Commission could also direct Staff to finalize the report and bring it back to the Traffic Safety Commission as a Receive and File item.

Commissioner Wright expressed support for the suggestion to bring the report back to the Traffic Safety Commission.

AMENDED MOTION:

Commissioner Bilezerian amended his Motion and moved to direct Staff to prepare the final report and bring it back to the Traffic Safety Commission for approval before forwarding it to the City Council, seconded by Commissioner Wright.

Commission Discussion

Chair Shepherd asked if the Commission wants to give final approval, or just have it provided as a Receive and File.

Commissioner Kramer asked if there is a timing issue for the Commission to review the report.

Senior Engineer Motahari advised that Staff planned to take this to the Council on December 8, 2007, and the next Traffic Safety Commission meeting is December 10, 2007.

Commissioner Bilezerian mentioned that they are half way through the 2007/08 budget.

Chair Shepherd reminded the Commissioners that the Marymount EIR would be scheduled for the December 10, 2007 Traffic Safety Commission meeting, and she thinks that should be the only item on the agenda.

Commissioner Wells suggested that the full package should come back to the Commission before it goes to City Council.

Chair Shepherd explained that due to the fire the Traffic Engineer is not present to explain in more detail the items on the Traffic Engineering Budget Analysis.  If Staff brings this item to the December 10 meeting the Traffic Engineer would have to make a presentation in addition to the public hearing on the Marymount EIR, and she is not familiar with the elements contained in the EIR.

Senior Engineer Motahari commented that he does not see much difference between this budget and the one prepared by the Staff.  He explained that the elements are the same; in addition, the Staff report would explain that this is what the Traffic Safety Commission has approved, the Budget Analysis document reviewed at this meeting would be attached to the Staff report, and there would be explanations of each category.  He explained that, if Staff thinks they need to say something, they would make clear that Staff recommends certain items, and that was how they were instructed by the City Council; that if there is a difference of opinion it should be included.  Senior Engineer Motahari emphasized that Traffic Engineer Rydell was involved in the preparation of both versions of the budget analysis.

Commissioner Bilezerian commented that the Work Plan Committee had two meetings.

Commissioner Kramer asked if Traffic Engineer Rydell would review the final report before it goes to Council.

Chair Shepherd responded that it would be his report.  She explained that Traffic Engineer Rydell’s absence was not anticipated so the Committee is not fully prepared to provide detailed explanations, and if the Commissioners are not comfortable with the spreadsheet, she can understand that.

Commissioner Bilezerian asked if there is some urgency on the part of Staff about wanting to get a higher budget than what was approved for 2007/08.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that they are running out of money fast.

Commissioner Bilezerian suggested, hearing that, if the Commission loses a month and a half, his concern is that the Commission is probably not helping Staff.  He suggested that if there is a specific item that is questionable, discuss it now; or if there are additions, put them in the report now.

Senior Engineer Motahari stated that Staff’s concern is that when it goes to the City Council, Traffic Engineer Rydell should be there to defend every item with a good Staff report; and he is sure the Council will question many of these items because it is not easy to get another $150,000 at the minimum.  He believes the emphasis is on what Traffic Engineer Rydell would present with that report, how it is written, and how it is defended.

Commissioner Bilezerian asked Senior Engineer Motahari if he knows what the budget difference is between 2007/08 and what is proposed here.

Senior Engineer Motahari responded that it is $198,000 for the necessary programs, which they would leave in, and they have $46,000 left in the adopted budget, which would leave $150,000, and that does not include the desirable programs.

Commissioner Kramer stated that he is very happy to hear that Staff is planning on Traffic Engineer Rydell being at the City Council meeting, and the main reason he wanted to review the package was to make sure there was enough substance so that the Council is well aware of the situation.  He explained that he does not have a problem with a Receive and File.

Chair Shepherd suggested that this budget analysis needs to identify what type of activities the Traffic Safety Commission, the City, and Public Works Department should be involved in order to ensure traffic safety since they will not all be funded.

Commissioner Bilezerian asked when is the next opportunity to amend the operating budget after this; would it be March or April 2009.

Senior Engineer Motahari responded that it would be in March 2009 and this is what ends up in that budget, which is why he is concerned with a delay.

Commissioner Bilezerian clarified that the 2007/08 budget was adopted in March/April 2007 and the next official update for the City would be March/April 2009.  He suggested that if the Commission does not get an amendment to the current adopted budget to Council before the end of this fiscal year to ask for money in the next fiscal year, they would be working with $46,000 and the balance is slowly diminishing.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that in midyear November/December, amendments are considered, and in March, the budget for the next fiscal year is presented.

Chair Shepherd asked if the City has two amendment request periods or is it quarterly.

Senior Engineer Motahari responded that it is one time per year.

Chair Shepherd pointed out that the key is not so much the programs, but the key is the extension of the consulting Engineer’s contract for the current fiscal year.  It was her understanding that because of the vacant position in Public Works, money from there could be used for Traffic Engineer Rydell’s contract; in the interim Public Works could be pulling from those funds that have been there for several years to support the consultant’s contract.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that just because the salary savings were there does not mean they can just use that money; they must get approval from the City Council for that and for additional funds, and the Council would say what is your plan, and this is their plan.

Chair Shepherd clarified that the Commission must show Council exactly what Traffic Engineer Rydell would be working on.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that if he wanted to amend Traffic Engineer Rydell’s contract today, the City Manager could not do it; the Council must approve it.  He stated that what he likes is that it is a five-year plan and it shows the Council the reality for the next five years; that even though the next two or three years are less, this is what they have to face.

Chair Shepherd explained that the Council was not concerned with whether the Commission and Staff agreed with the plan, but if the Commission did not agree with some element, they could send forth their recommendations to express their opinion.  She reiterated that if the Commission is not comfortable with this, they should not go before Council and say they recommend something when they do not; they should not make a poor decision because they are pressed for time.  Chair Shepherd emphasized that the real issue is money to keep Traffic Engineer Rydell on board because he is needed to prepare some of the programs and he still does not have regular office hours.  She asked if additional funds are approved, would Traffic Engineer Rydell be given back regular office hours.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that they use this plan very efficiently; there is no time that they have told Traffic Engineer Rydell not to come to the office because they do not have the money and he charges whether he is in the office or on the phone.

Chair Shepherd clarified that the main issue is that Traffic Engineer Rydell’s contract is running out and Public Works needs funds for that; this plan is to support their request for additional funds, even though not all the programs might be implemented.

Senior Engineer Motahari foresees that all these items would be numbered and the cost specified and this document would be part of the contract.

Chair Shepherd stated that the Commission would also like to see that.

Commissioner Bilezerian asked what portion of the $46,000 has been spent to date.

Senior Engineer Motahari responded more than half or approximately $25,000.

Commissioner Bilezerian clarified that they are three months into the fiscal year and half of the money has been spent, and asked what Staff’s option is if this is not approved or is delayed.

Senior Engineer Motahari stated that they could not do anything.

Commissioner Bilezerian rescinded his motion because he cannot justify supporting an issue that would cause the Traffic Safety Commission to work without a Traffic Engineer for the rest of the fiscal year.

Commissioner Wright expressed agreement with Commissioner Bilezerian.  He explained that several months ago the Commission was told that Traffic Engineer Rydell would be available two hours a week, and now they are being told they are desperately in need of him when he thought they were desperately in need of him then.  Commissioner Wright stated that he is confused with how they reached this point.  He does not want to hold this process up because of that because that is a separate issue, but he is not sure that two hours a week is acceptable.

Chair Shepherd explained that the Traffic Safety Commission objected, Council found out what was happening, and Council made it clear to Staff that it was unacceptable.  She stated that is when Staff told her that the budget was not cut; that the funds were just reallocated and there was more money for Traffic Engineer Rydell in the vacant position budget.  She expressed agreement with Commissioner Wright, but it does seem that there is something not kosher here about the whole thing.  She was told that $80,000 was available and was assured that Public Works had plenty of money for Traffic Engineer Rydell, and now they have to hurry up and do this, which is ok, but they need some serious information.  She clarified that Staff is not requesting additional money to complement the discretionary budget; they are requesting that the money from salary savings be released, and if that is what they are doing that clears it up for her.

Senior Engineer Motahari stated that that is what they are doing.

Commissioner Wright asked if it would be documented that way.

Chair Shepherd suggested keeping the Motion the way it was, and then have a secondary Motion, which would make clear that it is not a question of additional funds but making the salary savings available for use.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that the Staff report would show that it is coming from the budget and how much is available.

Chair Shepherd stated that in addition to this, there are activities that must be performed in 2007/08 fiscal year and additional funds must be released to add to this contract.

Commissioner Bilezerian asked if the $150,000 in salary savings is from the previous fiscal year or the 2007/08 fiscal years.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that he must confirm that information, but every year they have that position, which is not filled currently.

Chair Shepherd stated that, depending on the budget process, the amount of salary savings should be substantial if it was carried over because the position has been vacant since Nicole Jules left.

Commissioner Bilezerian expressed concern that if there is no carry-over to the current fiscal year, even if the full-time position in the budget is $150,000, they have not accrued all that.

Chair Shepherd explained that if it were a zero-based budget they would lose it if it were not used.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that it is an annual budget.

Chair Shepherd explained that the fiscal year started in July, so from July to the end of October, there are salary savings that can be used for this.  If they hire someone in January, that money would be used for that position from January through June and Public Works does not need the salary savings from July through December.  She suggested that there is at least $75,000 that could be used for Traffic Engineer Rydell’s contract and the other $75,000 could be held for a potential future employee.  Chair Shepherd stated that she wants to make sure that the Traffic Safety Commission has received correct information because they were told that Public Works does not intend to hire and the money is available.

Commissioner Bilezerian suggested that the money is there but the Traffic Safety Commission has to fight for it.

Chair Shepherd suggested that the new Director is very roadway safety conscious, and he wants to develop a plan so that when Staff requests additional money from the City Council, there is a plan to support the request.

Commissioner Wright asked if it would be simpler if the Traffic Safety Commission were in agreement with the plan to request something in writing from the City Manager regarding where funds will come from for the Traffic Engineer’s position so the Commission would have memorialized information.

Chair Shepherd commented that the Commission has agreed to this plan but they do not know the budget process since they are not involved in the budget.  She explained that the numbers are not the Commission’s issue as much as is the plan, and they would not focus on the dollar amounts; Staff has numbers on the document and the Commission wants some integrity for those numbers provided.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that the overall traffic budget is public and Staff can provide that information to the Commission.  He explained that the report would mention the account number, where the money is, and how much is available.

Chair Shepherd asked that Staff separate the budget column from the work category column.

Commissioner Kramer asked for an explanation of how a Receive and File would affect this process and if there is a negative to it.

Chair Shepherd explained that if the Commission decides to recommend this work plan, they would also request that Staff bring a copy of the report on the December agenda as a Receive and File so that the Commission sees the report before it goes to Council.  It would not be an agenda item for discussion.

Commissioner Bilezerian questioned taking action on a Receive and File item.

Chair Shepherd stated that no action could be taken; the Commission could only ask that it be agendized for a future meeting if there were a glaring problem, and she will clarify that with the City Attorney.

Commissioner Wells asked if the Committee and/or Traffic Engineer Rydell prepared the dollar amounts on the right side of the work plan.

Chair Shepherd stated that Traffic Engineer Rydell prepared them.

Commissioner Wells asked if the Commission is trying to move the work plan forward including the costs recommended by the Committee and Traffic Engineer Rydell, and direct Staff to prepare a final report to forward to the City Council.  He presumed that the Commission likes the work plan and agreed with Chair Shepherd’s suggestion to separate the two.  He stated that he wants to move this forward as fast as possible with the due diligence as done by the Commission, so that on December 18 the Staff can submit a final report to the Council stating that the Commission likes the work plan, including the costs indicated from Traffic Engineer Rydell and the Committee.  Commissioner Wells explained that he is trying to make this a two-part Motion.

ACTION TAKEN:

Commissioner Bilezerian amended his Motion and moved to direct Staff to prepare a final report and forward it to the City Council, and include that package as a Receive and File to come back to the Traffic Safety Commission on the December 10, 2007 agenda, seconded by Commissioner Wright.

Commission Discussion

Commissioner Wells stated that there is no time once the Commission gets the package back on December 10, and suggested that if there is a glaring problem, the only thing they can do is go to the December 18 Council meeting or inform Staff to fix it.

Chair Shepherd clarified that technically the Commission cannot do that, and if they do not agree with what is in the work plan they should deal with that tonight.

Senior Engineer Motahari suggested putting this item on the agenda in case there is a problem.

Chair Shepherd explained that it is a public meeting and the Commission would have to hear public comment, and in addition, they would have the Marymount hearing.  If the Commission agrees to put both items on the December agenda, it is up to the majority; if they put it on the January agenda, they must consider that they need the money.  She suspects that this will not be approved by the Council; that they will see justification for the additional funds for Traffic Engineer Rydell and will instruct Staff to bring the work plan back for the next fiscal year.  She believes that, in March, the work plan will be a hefty item but for now, it provides support for additional funds for Traffic Engineer Rydell.

Commissioner Parfenov asked if the final report would have a description of each item.

Chair Shepherd stated that would be her preference, and suggested putting it on the agenda under Informational Items and there will be no confusion that the Commission cannot do anything.

ACTION TAKEN:

Commissioner Bilezerian amended his Motion and moved to direct Staff to prepare a final report and forward it to the City Council, and provide same as an Informational Item at the Traffic Safety Commission meeting on the December 10, 2007, seconded by Commissioner Wright.

Motion approved:
Ayes 6, Nays 0,
Absent, Commissioner Willens

NEW BUSINESS:

TRUCK SPEED ZONE SURVEY SOUTHBOUND HAWTHORNE BOULEVARD BETWEEN RHONE DRIVE AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE WEST

Recommendation:

Establish a 25 mph truck speed limit on southbound Hawthorne Boulevard between Rhone Drive and Palos Verdes Drive West

Traffic Engineer’s Report

In the absence of Traffic Engineer Rydell, Senior Engineer Motahari briefly commented on the report and attachments.  The background and discussion presented in the Staff report is provided verbatim as follows:

“Section 22407 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) allows local agencies to reduce the speed limit for trucks on downgrades based on the finding of an Engineering and Traffic Survey. Due to a recent serious accident involving a commercial vehicle losing control in the southbound direction of Hawthorne Boulevard within the subject limits, Staff evaluated the need to establish a truck speed limit to address safety issues.

“The California Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is authorized by the CVC as the legal procedure for establishing speed zones, specifies the requirements of an Engineering and Traffic Survey for truck speed zones on descending grades in Section 2B.13. Of specific interest is the following statement, found on page 2B-15 of the September, 2006 version of the California MUTCD:

“To establish a downhill truck speed limit, a physical profile showing length and gradient and a downhill speed profile for three or more axle commercial vehicles with a gross rating of 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs.) or more will be provided.”

“This segment of roadway is generally characterized by two travel lanes and a bike lane in each direction. Between the subject limits, the vertical downgrade to the south ranges from 2% to 9%. There are traffic signals located at Dupree Drive, Vallon Drive and Palos Verdes Drive West. The subject roadway section is heavily used by bicyclists creating the potential for significant conflict with vehicles traveling at relatively high speeds. Additionally, the horizontal and vertical curves in the alignment limit visibility for vehicles exiting side streets and driveways at several intersecting roadways, Ryan Park, City Hall and the commercial development near Palos Verdes Drive West.

“Radar measurements of 3-axle and more commercial vehicles revealed an 85th percentile speed of 32 mph and a 10-mile pace of 21-30 mph. The 85th percentile speed suggests a truck speed limit of 30 mph would be appropriate. However Robert Ryan Park, located on the west side of Hawthorne Boulevard near Dupree Drive, creates the potential for significant pedestrian and bicycle conflict with vehicles. CVC Section 627 specifies that pedestrian and bicyclist safety be considered when determining a speed limit. Furthermore, The California MUTCD states:

“Posted speeds should be on the low side of the scale, generally within the pace of loaded commercial vehicles.”

“Considering these factors it is appropriate to apply a 5 mph reduction from the 85th percentile speed in order to establish a reasonable and safe truck speed limit on this descending grade portion of Hawthorne Boulevard. Therefore, it is recommended that a 25 mph truck speed zone be established for the southbound direction of Hawthorne Boulevard between Rhone Drive and Palos Verdes Drive West.”

The Engineering and Traffic Survey form, roadway grade sheet and speed data were attached to the Staff report, which is on file in City Hall and on the Traffic Safety Commission website.

Commission Questions of Staff

Chair Shepherd asked what the speed limit is currently for trucks.

Senior Engineer Motahari responded there is no special limit for trucks on southbound Hawthorne Boulevard at this location, but there is a 25 mph speed limit on the other side of Hawthorne.

Commissioner Wright asked what circumstances caused the accident.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that the truck hit a car at the intersection and turned over after it went through Palos Verdes Drive West (PVDW).

Deputy Knox reported that it was a double-trailer dump truck going to Terranea and lost its brakes going down the hill, running a red light at PVDW and Hawthorne; a lady in a white Volvo was proceeding straight easterly in the number two lane at PVDW and Hawthorne.  The truck driver hit the front quarter panel of her car, which was totaled, but she was not seriously injured.  The truck continued 400 plus feet down the road and overturned.  Deputy Knox explained that there are many trucks in the area because of Terranea.

ACTION TAKEN:

Commissioner Wells moved to establish a 25 mph truck speed limit on southbound Hawthorne Boulevard between Rhone Drive and Palos Verdes Drive West, seconded by Commissioner Kramer.

Commission Discussion

Commissioner Bilezerian asked if the Commission needs further action to authorize the installation of signs.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that when Staff writes the report the Resolution would state that upon the City’s approval the area would be posted and enforced.

Chair Shepherd asked if there is an issue with enforceability.

Senior Engineer Motahari responded that the Sheriff’s Deputies would enforce the speed limit.

Commissioner Parfenov referred to the graphs on circle page 10 and asked if the speeds displayed are only for trucks.

Senior Engineer Motahari responded that the graphs refer only to truck speeds.

ACTION TAKEN:

Motion approved:
Ayes 6, Nays 0, Absent, Commissioner Willens

RECEIVE AND FILE:

Action Items Matrix

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS

Public Works Reports

1.         Cornerstone School parking Limitations

Senior Engineer Motahari reported that Staff has not had a written response from the school Principal, so it is pending at this time.

Chair Shepherd explained that the school has a new Principal who might want to change the previous Principal’s recommendations.

Commissioner Kramer stated that he reviewed the site and he recommends doing whatever the Principal wants at that location.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Recommendation:

            Approval of Minutes of September 24, 2007

Chair Shepherd reported that she contacted the City Manager regarding how the Commissioners should respond to e-mail communications they receive through Staff at rpv.com.  She was told that the Commissioners should acknowledge in their own words something to the effect that we have received your information and thank you very much.  We will forward your information to Staff and make sure that it is taken care of.  Chair Shepherd explained that the Commissioners are not to become involved in making a decision or presenting their position.

Commissioner Wells asked if Chair Shepherd is asking each of the Commissioners to respond.

Chair Shepherd stated that they do not have to do that.  She explained that what normally happens is that everything sent to the Commissioners also goes to Staff, and she and Commissioner Bilezerian talked about some kind of acknowledgement such as was done in the past but was discontinued.  She directed Staff to send a copy of their acknowledgement of receipt to the Commissioners so they all know that a response has been sent.  Then the Commissioners do not have to do anything.

Commissioner Wells clarified that when a citizen e-mails the Commissioners, Staff responds, and not a Traffic Safety Commissioner.

Chair Shepherd explained that she does not get a copy and sometimes it is a major issue.  She usually would call Traffic Engineer Rydell and ask if he received it and what was done, and he usually has taken care of it.  She requested that Staff be responsible for notifying the Commissioners.

Senior Engineer Motahari explained that he responds to the citizens’ e-mails, and he will notify the Commissioners through traffic e-mail in the future.

ACTION TAKEN:

Commissioner Kramer moved to approve the Minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Wright.

Motion approved:
Ayes 4, Nays 0
Absent, Commissioner Willens
Abstain, Commissioners Bilezerian and Wells who were absent on September 24.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm to the re-scheduled meeting of the Traffic Safety Commission on Monday, December 10, 2007.