When we last checked in with the City Council Transportation Committee, they decided to table a motion to increase the speed limit on Chandler Boulevard, where the limit would increase from 35 MPH to 45 MPH along the Orange Line, and Riverside Drive which would change the limit from 35 MPH to 40 MPH for its entire length between the Burbank border and Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. The Councilman for the area, Paul Krekorian, wanted a chance for the community to give input on the increases before the proposal went through, and now the increases are back on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting.
So what was the community's feedback? Unsurprisingly, they are concerned that faster speeds for cars will lead to roads that are less safe for pedestrians and cyclists, especially those observing a religious holiday, senior citizens, and school students. Last year, we saw the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council voice similar concerns but that didn't stop speed limits from being increased near schools, places of worship and shopping malls.
Those fighting the limit increases are in for a long haul. As we've seen before, the scapegoat for speed limit increases used by the LADOT and Council is a state law that mandates that a speed survey be completed every five to seven years and that the new limit be set within five miles per hour of the 85th percentile of drivers. Last year, Assemblyman Paul Krekorian sponsored legislation that would have changed the way limits are calculated across the state; but with Krekorian moving his offices from Sacramento to 200 Spring Street, a new leader on this issue has yet to emerge.
I've been corresponding on this issue with staff from Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Mike Eng, who have been nothing but polite and helpful despite the pounding Eng took on this blog after Krekorian's legislation was bottled in his committee last year. When I asked them if any new legislation had been submitted on this issue, they pointed me to committee staff who basically said, "not that we know of." Last week, over 400 pieces of legislation were filed before a 2/16 deadline, but to the best knowledge of both the Chairman's staff and Committee staff, none of them dealt with reforming the way the state looks at speed limit increases.