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Paul Krekorian

Assemblyman Paul Krekorian: Let’s Make Our Speeding Streets “Safe Streets”

11:50 AM PDT on April 13, 2009

4_13_09_krekorian.jpgLast 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 frustrationfelt by so many Valley residents who know that our current laws to addressspeeding are inadequate. 

Recent news reports haveaddressed this issue but failed to address a key component of what I am doingon the state level to try and fix what has been a pervasive problem on ourstreets.

On Feb. 26, I introducedlegislation that will increase pedestrian safety by giving local governments animportant tool to control speeding. Currently cities are required by state lawto evaluate street speeds and adjust the limits if they want police to be ableto use radar guns. If the study of a street finds that 85% of drivers arespeeding, the city must raise the limit. The problem is, the law doesn'tconsider the public safety of pedestrians or those who live on or near citystreets.

My SafeStreets Bill will allow local governments, through a public process, toconsider pedestrian safety when reviewing local speed limits, not just therising speed of passing motorists. Essentially, this measure would providelocal governments with a means of increasing pedestrian and community safety bylimiting increases in speed limits on local streets.  

If passed, the SafeStreets Bill would allow local entities to retain existing speed limits ontheir streets - instead of the state mandating a change every seven years -after public hearings show that a higher speed limit would not improve the flowof traffic, nor promote a safe environment for the neighborhood orpedestrians. 

We are an ever-changingpopulous in which our communities are growing faster each day; it’s timewe had legislation to allow local governments the power to keep our streets,our communities and our children safe from excessive speeding. The Safe StreetsBill will help deliver peace of mind that drivers, pedestrians and parentsdeserve on our streets.      

AssemblymemberPaul Krekorian (D-Burbank) represents the cities of Burbankand Glendale, and the Los Angeles communities of Atwater Village, Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Villageand Van Nuys.

And, here is the fact sheet from Krekorian's office.

Your browser may not support display of this image.BACKGROUND

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
by motorists. 

EXISTING LAW

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.

THIS BILL

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.

SUMMARY

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.

BILL STATUS

2/26/2009: Introduced

4/20/2009: Assembly Transportation Committee 

SUPPORT

Sponsor:
City of Glendale

For More Information

Office of Asst Majority Leader Krekorian

Jeremy Oberstein (818) 558-3043

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