Last week, I received an email from the office of Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-43) who introduced legislation, A.B. 776, that would change the very laws that are requiring the speed limit raises throughout the Valley as a preclude to limit raises throughout the city. After a back and forth with his office, the Assemblyman himself emailed me a statement which can be read below and a fact sheet that can be read after the jump. I’ll let Krekorian speak for himself, although the emphasis added to parts of the statement are mine.
The legislation will be heard by the Assembly Transportation Committee Hearing on April 20.
I share the frustration
felt by so many Valley residents who know that our current laws to address
speeding are inadequate.
Recent news reports have
addressed this issue but failed to address a key component of what I am doing
on the state level to try and fix what has been a pervasive problem on our
On Feb. 26, I introduced
legislation that will increase pedestrian safety by giving local governments an
important tool to control speeding. Currently cities are required by state law
to evaluate street speeds and adjust the limits if they want police to be able
to use radar guns. If the study of a street finds that 85% of drivers are
speeding, the city must raise the limit. The problem is, the law doesn’t
consider the public safety of pedestrians or those who live on or near city
Streets Bill will allow local governments, through a public process, to
consider pedestrian safety when reviewing local speed limits, not just the
rising speed of passing motorists. Essentially, this measure would provide
local governments with a means of increasing pedestrian and community safety by
limiting increases in speed limits on local streets.
If passed, the Safe
Streets Bill would allow local entities to retain existing speed limits on
their streets – instead of the state mandating a change every seven years –
after public hearings show that a higher speed limit would not improve the flow
of traffic, nor promote a safe environment for the neighborhood or
We are an ever-changing
populous in which our communities are growing faster each day; it’s time
we had legislation to allow local governments the power to keep our streets,
our communities and our children safe from excessive speeding. The Safe Streets
Bill will help deliver peace of mind that drivers, pedestrians and parents
deserve on our streets.
Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank) represents the cities of Burbank
and Glendale, and the Los
Angeles communities of Atwater Village, Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village
and Van Nuys.
And, here is the fact sheet from Krekorian’s office.
Many cities in California
struggle to deal with excessive speed on local roads, which can thereby
pose a significant threat to public safety. One contributing factor
is required periodic engineering and traffic surveys which can lead
to an increased speed limit on local roads because many drivers continually
drive faster than posted speed limits. Under current law, local
governments have only limited ability to adjust speed limits on local
roadways to account for public safety.
In 2008, in the City
of Glendale there were 82 Pedestrian Related Traffic Collisions and
4 Pedestrian Fatalities. According to recent data from 2001, nearly
20% of the traffic fatalities in California are pedestrians. A
major contributing factor in many of these fatalities is excessive speeding
Requires that any section
of road in which a local entity has adopted a prima facie speed limit,
and the enforcement of the limit involves the use of radar, the entity
must conduct an engineering and traffic survey every seven years.
AB 766 would allow a local entity to
retain existing prima facie speed limits on a street only if certain
conditions are met. In order to retain the existing speed limit,
a local entity must conduct a public hearing and then make an official
finding that a higher speed limit would not improve the flow of traffic,
nor would it promote a safe environment for the neighborhood or pedestrians.
Additionally, this measure provides that
if the local entity conducts a public hearing and makes an official
finding, then the existing prima facie speed limit does not need to
be rejustified by an engineering and traffic survey.
This measure would provide local governments
with a means of increasing pedestrian and community safety by limiting
increases in speed limits on local streets.
Under current law, if local law enforcement wish to use radar enforcement
of a speed limit then an engineering and traffic survey must be conducted
every seven years. The local speed limit can then be modified
based on the results of the survey. Often times an engineering
and traffic survey will show that motorists are consistently driving
above the posted speed limit and therefore an increase in the speed
limit is needed.
This bill gives local governments some
limited control over vehicle speed and safety within their jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, the current process does not place enough value on the
safety of pedestrians and those who live on or near the street being
surveyed. This measure allows local governments, through a public
process, to give consideration to pedestrian safety when the review
of local speed limits occurs.
This bill aims to provide local governments
with an additional tool to keep the speeds traveled on local roads at
a safe level for drivers, pedestrians, and communities as a whole.
This bill balances the ability of drivers to safely drive on City streets
at a reasonable speed with the needs of residents and pedestrians to
be able to access those same streets without an undue risk of a collision,
thus enhancing both community safety and traffic flow.
4/20/2009: Assembly Transportation Committee
City of Glendale
For More Information
Office of Asst Majority Leader Krekorian
Jeremy Oberstein (818) 558-3043