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Bill Rosendahl

DIY Goes Legit: Hills Community Wants to Pay for Its Traffic Calming

11:51 AM PDT on March 17, 2010

3_17_10_elektra.jpgNot exactly the same situation as Northeast L.A.

Fed up with speeding traffic zooming through their local street, residents of the well-to-do Mt. Olympus Homeowner's Association have approached the city with a plan to pay for the speed humps and speed feedback signs that would make a difference in protecting their street from speeding drivers of all stripes.  A motion to allow them to do just that was heard at last week's City Council Transportation Committee Hearing, with a resolution expected at next weeks.

Because of the wide nature of Electra and Mt. Olympus roads compared to other roads through the Hills, commuters are using the route as an alternative to the arterial street, Laurel Canyon Road, to the west.  Jerry Lynette, a homeowner near that curve at the bottom-right of the google image, complained specifically that teenagers "playing in their father's cars" take the turn at excessive speeds.  Just counting his experiences and that of his family, he counted six crashes that occurred getting into and out of his driveway because of excessive speeds.  Meanwhile, Homeowner's Association President Mel Rumba complains that residents can't let their children out in the streets.

After years of complaining, the Homeowners approached their Council Member, Tom LaBonge, about paying for speed humps and speed feedback signs on their roads themselves.  They expressed willingness to go through whatever procedural hoops the LADOT required, but just wanted some action done before, in one resident's words, "this ends in blood."

But not so fast.  LADOT Assistant General Manager John Fisher warned that speed humps wouldn't be appropriate, because of the grade of the hill, at the places the residents wanted.  Instead he proposed the LADOT complete a study on the best place to place the speed bumps, causing LaBonge and Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl to give them a two week deadline to report to the Transportation Committee with their findings.  That deadline expires one week from today.

Streetsblog has written a lot about the challenges communities in Los Angeles have in reducing cut-through traffic in their local streets; but if this effort goes nowhere, it would be a truly sad statement.  The community has the support of their Councilman, the Committee Chair for Transportation is thrilled about using this as a precedence throughout the city, and their own pot of money to complete the project.  If this project gets stymied, what hope is there for the rest of us?

To read more about this issue, LaBonge's motion authorizing the community to pay for their own street care can be read here.

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