HomeCity NewsPanel Presses Go on Stop Sign

Panel Presses Go on Stop Sign

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council voted unanimously to put in place recommended traffic calming measures and a stop sign at the intersection of La Cañada Boulevard and Vista Del Valle Road after years of back-and-forth conversation at its meeting on April 4.
James Alario, a resident in LCF who lives near the intersection, has been trying to get a stop sign installed for about two years.
He told the Public Works and Traffic Commission at its recent March meeting, “Can we do something before someone gets killed?”
After sharing video footage of the speeding in front of his house in October 2022, Alario got the attention of the commission.
“When it comes to the residents who want to walk their kids to school, who want to just go for a walk, or go walk their dogs, they literally avoid this part of the street,” Alario told the Outlook Valley Sun.
Alario had started a petition to install a stop sign but realized that video footage was more impactful.
“Once it got to the City Council, they took appropriate immediate action, and I am truly really grateful for that. Because in my world, I don’t want to wait for someone to die in order for something to be fixed,” Alario said.
At the City Council meeting on April 4, Public Works and Traffic Commission Liaison Patrick DeChellis presented the background and recommendations from the commission, which included:
• Installing no parking signs on both sides of La Cañada Boulevard between Vista Del Valle Road and El Vago Street
• Repainting the center lines
• Installation of white edge lines to highlight the edge of the drainage ditch on each side of the street with pavement markings
• Installing portable speed radar feedback signs, one in each direction
• Installing a speed limit sign for the northbound traffic since there is already one going southbound
“The Public Works and Traffic Commission approved [the] staff recommendations plus the always stop at the T intersection of La Cañada Boulevard and Vista Del Valle,” said DeChellis.
The recommendations came after new data was collected on the two streets by the Public Works and Traffic Commission in November 2022 in a 24-hour period.
When comparing the data taken in 2021 to data taken in 2022, traffic volumes increased by 18% in the northbound direction and 19% in the southbound direction.
The speed on La Cañada Boulevard increased by 5 miles: Motorists were driving at 40 mph in both directions, while the speed limit is 30 mph. However, the guidelines for installing a stop sign were still not met.
“I would like to just let you know that stop signs are not intended for speed control,” said DeChellis. “They’re to help drivers and pedestrians establish a right of way at intersections. The justification for stop sign installation is determined by nationally recognized warrants or guidelines. The warrants consider the number of vehicles and pedestrians entering the intersection during a substantial part of the day, the prevailing speed of traffic, the amount of delay of traffic at the intersections trying to enter, and collisions at the intersection.”
LCF resident David Haxton spoke at the City Council meeting about the installation of the stop sign and said that the city has done this multiple times on other streets.
“The city is no virgin in this manner,” said Haxton. “[If] you walk around, you will notice lots of places where there are stop signs … and they’ve been placed there for speed control.”
He brought up incidents when the City Council approved stop signs in the past when they were not warranted.
“I am not saying that stop signs are the first tool you use for speeding, but they are a tool,” said Haxton.
Other public comments expressed the need to put in a stop sign to prevent speeding. The Council was in consensus about adding a stop sign as well.
“I appreciate all the hard work that the staff has gone to on this subject. It’s been over a couple of years and they’ve done many studies [and] they’ve tried to wrack their brains to come up with good solutions. … However, sometimes I believe all the studies in the world can’t make up for day-to-day personal experience,” said Councilwoman Terry Walker.
Councilman Michael Davitt agreed and didn’t want to question the work of the traffic engineer.
“I am a believer that the stop signs help. … I am not a traffic engineer or traffic expert, and I don’t think that anyone in my opinion is trying to question the work of staff,” said Davitt.
But, if the stop sign worked 50% of the time that would be a win, he said.
Mayor Keith Eich was also in favor of adding the stop sign, especially after serving in the Public Works and Traffic Commission.
“There’s a science and I think staff got the science right. They know the math, they know the rules, they know the rulebook. But the other part of this is sort of the art, and going and looking at the situation, spending time there and looking at it, understanding the unique characteristics,” said Eich.
City Manager Mark Alexander saw that there was already a consensus from the City Council and wanted to clear the air.
“When the traffic engineer has determined or opined that there are certain warrants that have not been met, it does create a situation for us to be able to distinguish this from other locations where we might have residents from these other areas also asking for stop signs,” said Alexander.
“When other residents come in wanting to use stop signs as a means of controlling speeding that don’t meet the warrants and how do we distinguish between saying no to them, and saying yes to this one?”
The City Council responded by saying that there was a school close by, a lot of foot traffic and no real sidewalk along La Cañada Boulevard.

First published in the April 13 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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