|Northridge Community Plan specifically mentions Wilbur Ave. as a target for traffic calming|
Wilbur's safety woes are nothing new. As far back as 1998 the Northridge Community Plan, part of the Los Angeles City General Plan, calls specifically for Wilbur avenue to receive traffic calming measures:
(on page III=25) in section 13-1.3,under GOAL 13, Objective 13-1, Policies
last updated 1998,
Discourage non-residential traffic flow for streets designed to serve residential areas only by the use of traffic control measures. One problem area is Wilbur Avenue which is a street with excessive traffic speeds through a residential neighborhood. Another area is that surrounding CSUN, where residents have noted the intrusion of traffic and parked cars.
Program: The use of Residential Neighborhood Protection Plans and traffic calming techniques to relieve congestion on collector streets that are expected to experience traffic congestion by the year 2010. For Wilbur Avenue, techniques can include the narrowing of travel lanes, chokers or sidewalk bulges with landscaping at minor inter-sections, and increased enforcement of posted speed limits. Speeding problems along Wilbur Avenue should first be referred to the Police Department. If the problem is not solved through enforcement, the LADOT should initiate a traffic study to determine the extent of the problem and propose appropriate measures to remedy the situation
Note that out of ALL the streets in Northridge, Wilbur is specifically mentioned. Fast forward to 2009 when the LADOT posted notice that they intended to remove the crosswalks at Superior and Prairie. Upon seeing these signs the neighborhood rose up and produced more than 600 signatures stating that they wanted to keep those crosswalks. MANY people showed up that summer to speak at both the Northridge West and Northridge East Neighborhood Council meetings to proclaim very loudly and clearly that they wanted those crosswalks to stay and that the speed limit should come down on Wilbur. Paul Meshkin of the LADOT was present at those meetings along with other staff members, the names escape me. They saw the outrage to the crosswalk removals and the disgust at the proposal to install peak hour lanes on Reseda. Most telling sign of the chorus of disapproval present at that meeting? The former president of Northridge West, who had originally introduced a motion supporting peak hour lanes on Reseda, found himself voting against his own motion. People were passionate and I believe the LADOT went back to the drawing board and came back with the only logical answer to most of the problems plaguing Wilbur... a road diet. What other options did they have? Stop signs? More lights? Speed limit decreases?
What the LADOT did not do was engage the public on the last leg of this journey and that is why we have a rift amongst neighbors. Over time, this rift will heal and perhaps alternate solutions will be proposed.