As the Rain Falls, Pasadena Talks Road Diet on Cordova Street
(Brigham Yen is a real estate agent and voice for sustainable transportation based in the city of Pasadena. We’ve always welcomed his comments in the comments section, and double welcome his coverage of the Cordova Road Diet meeting last night. What did I tell you yesterday? We’re going to start moving in to Pasadena in the coming weeks. You can read more of Yen at his personal real estate blog, viewable at Brighamyen.com)
As the rain continued to pour down on the streets of Pasadena on Monday night, causing havoc for commuters and pedestrians alike, the Cordova Road Diet meeting went on as scheduled for 6:30 P.M. at the Pasadena Convention Center.
The meeting was held in a large conference room that had more than enough room for the 6 residents (including myself) who braved the wind, rain, and cold to voice their opinion on making Cordova a safer street for both cars and people (including pedestrians and bicyclists).
The meeting summarized the objective of the road diet, including a reference to a national transportation study that road diets were shown to reduce pedestrian and bicycle collisions as cars were compelled to slow down due to the narrowing of the roads and the creation of “bump outs” at intersections that reduced the distance for pedestrians when crossing the street as these bump outs would be off limits to cars.
The Principal Traffic Engineer for the city, Norman Baculinao, stated that “Cordova is a perfect candidate for a road diet because it has a traffic count of close to 10,000 cars a day.”
Part of the reason why Cordova is being targeted for safety upgrades is because the street has become, as one Pasadena resident Sharon stated, “The only way for residents to go east-west quickly anymore.” Although she stated clearly as well that she was all for “pedestrian safety,” it is cause for concern when drivers perceive Cordova as a substitute for the 210 freeway.
Even more disconcerting was when Councilman Steve Madison shared a recent experience when he saw the aftermath of a pedestrian who was hit by a car. Luckily for the pedestrian, it was serious but not fatal. The Pasadena PD provided a traffic collision comparison chart for attendees and there were 7 more collisions in 2010 than 2009 on Cordova, particularly at the “problem intersection” of Oak Knoll and Cordova where a curve in the street may present a blind spot for drivers and potentially present safety hazards to other drivers and pedestrians and cyclists.
All this made a strong case for the city to continue their support of implementing a road diet on Cordova, which is only partially completed at this time. Although, the eastern section of Cordova received a new paint job on the road recently “emulating” a road diet (by turning 4 lanes of traffic into 2), the city is still waiting for a Metro grant of $2 million (expected to come in 2013) that will allow those painted “bump outs” to be transformed into raised concrete barriers.
For now, the city is planning on re-striping the rest of Cordova (west of Lake all the way to the Del Mar Gold Line station) starting with the intersection at Madison and Cordova and will wait for the Metro grant before being able to fully implement the permanent road diet Cordova needs.