Wednesday, November 19, 2008

LADOT Pushes for Speed Limit Increases

"The Vehicle Code is clear that a radar-enforceable speed limit does not affect the speed limit in school zones when children are present, which remains at 25 mph. The ability to use radar to enforce the 25 mph speed limit in school zones is retained."

LADOT in a letter to Neighborhood Councils

The LADOT has proposed speed limit increases throughout the Valley, all as a result of the surveys conducted as mandated by State Law in order to allow for the use of radar/laser speed limit enforcement.

The current standard calls for the LADOT to survey the street every 5-7 years in order to "certify" the speed limit in accordance with the State's antiquated speed trap law, resulting in speed limits set so that 85% of the motorists traveling freely (non-rush hour) are considered to be moving legally.

In other words, in order to use radar/laser to catch the speeding motorists, a speed survey is conducted, the speed limit is raised and then the LAPD can use radar/laser to catch the motorists who are now driving as fast but legally.

Speed Zone Surveys are maintained for 700 streets in Los Angeles and the process for re-certifying the streets consists of the LADOT measuring the speed of 100 cars during a non-congested time of day, calculating the 85 percentile mark and the appropriate speed limit, asking the Councilmember if they want radar/laser enforcement, asking the LAPD if they want radar/laser enforcement, having the City Attorney draft a new ordinance which is then submitted to the Transportation Commission's consent agenda before heading off to the Transportation committee and the City council for final approval.

The most significant expense for this whole process is for the abundant number of rubber stamps that are used to keep this machine running.

Until recently, this process occurred quietly, with nary a peep or squeal from the community. Then about 3 months ago, the public caught on and protested 1) the complete insanity of repeatedly raising the speed limits to accommodate high-performance vehicles and low-performance operators, while 2) leaving the Neighborhood Council out of the process.

The most recent submissions to the Transportation Commission (Mulholland Drive, Corbin Avenue, Saticoy Street, Wells Drive, White Oak Avenue and Fallbrook Avenue) failed to collect an endorsement, with Wells being pulled by the LADOT & the LAPD as an inappropriate speed limit increase and with the other 5 failing to pick up the necessary votes.

This leaves us with dualling philosophies: the maintenance of traffic sewers vs. livable, walkable, ridable neighborhoods.

Attached is an article that ran in CityWatchLA on the most recent round of submissions.

"See you on the Streets!"

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