Friday, April 22, 2011

Re-Re-Striping Begins. Smith asks LADOT to install $45,000 "Drag Race"

Crews were spotted scraping up the lane markings on Wilbur Ave. yesterday afternoon. At a cost equivalent to Northridge West's entire annual budget, Councilman Smith has decided to go ahead with the LADOT "compromise" plan for Wilbur Ave. This plan, rejected by the joint NWNC/PRNC board, will place a 45mph rated merge south of Devonshire right up to the Mayall intersection where more than 100 residents have asked for a crosswalk. Instead they will be getting a $45,000 finish line. Pleas were made to nearly everyone possible including Asst. GM John Fisher and GM Amir Sedadi of the LADOT to re-consider the 45mph merge portion of the "compromise" but obviously those calls have been ignored.

Meanwhile 3 days have passed and there has yet to be a peep from Smith's office about the at large hit and run killer currently roaming the West Valley. Perhaps that $45,000 would have better been served as a reward?

Safe Streets Northridge will be monitoring the Mayall drag race situation via video and providing updates in the near future.

Until then check this video out - the striping is not even complete and the drag races have begun! Notice the speed at which the FED-EX van launches into the neighborhood. I tried to keep pace but gave up at the 60mph mark. Think this scenario won't play out at every single hour of the day?

Pedal to the metal (think this guy is observing the speed limit?)

What Mayall / Wilbur used to look like before the drag race merge:

Smith made sure that the crews came out during the day this time.

Looking north towards Devonshire where the drag race begins.

The briefly quieter more peaceful Mayall intersection soon to have painted in conflict.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hit and Run Killer at large in West Valley

A 17 year old Chatsworth High student was killed last night by a hit and run driver at approximately 9pm near the intersection of Valerio and DeSoto. Please be on the look out for a Toyota Corolla or Camry hatchback, described as possibly gray in color with moderate to severe damage to the front passenger side of the vehicle.

Police urge anyone with information to call 818-644-8034 or 818-644-8032

Please read more about the crime here:

Approximate location of the crime:

View Larger Map

None of the news reports are clear on model year but these photos are generally what the car MIGHT look like:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Councilman Greig Smith overrides NC's / community, moves ahead with publicly rejected LADOT plan.

Councilman Smith, in a short paragraph on the CD12 website announced his recommendation that the LADOT go ahead with the proposed compromise plan. This despite the fact that many in the community are outraged at being given only one choice, a choice that both camps are dissatisfied with for different reasons.

Painting in a 45mph Rated Bottleneck in a residential area?
The one truly controversial portion of the LADOT compromise is the high speed rated merge just south of Devonshire that re-creates the very same scenario that led to problems and crashes under the old "4 lane" configuration at Plummer and Dearborn streets. Installment of this merge is in fact a slap in the face to the many residents near Mayall who have been asking for a crosswalk who will now find themselves with an even more difficult intersection to cross on foot sans crosswalk.

As you can see in the diagram below, the proposed solution to the back up problem at Devonshire is to create a 2 lane merge immediately south of Devonshire to shift the peak traffic backup. However, anyone and everyone who has looked at this plan can see the induced drag race scenario that will play out with every green light at Devonshire south as traffic crazed parents and commuters will suddenly find themselves having to compete for position right up to the Mayall intersection. Some drivers will be slowing to make a right turn while other drivers will just be settling into their merged position, while still others focused on their left side mirrors and traffic behind them will have less attention to pay to what's in front of them. A recipe for disaster. This says nothing of the historic speeding that will be achieved during NON PEAK driving time (22-23 hours of the day.)

Pual Kirk, a neighborhood resident who himself collected 300 petitions in support of the Road Diet states: "In accommodating the ingress-egress problem the gated communities Ridgegate and Bellcourt have north of Devonshire, (which needed to be addressed), what sense does it make to move the gated communities problem south to the land-locked community of Tuba/Crebs and the Mayall community west of Wilbur?  Is it fair to simply transfer problems that gated communities have to older land-locked communities that are not gated? If the high speed merge is to be included in the plan, a traffic light at Mayall is imperative for the safety of the neighborhood."

LADOT "COMPROMISE:" A drag race from Devonshire to Mayall!

The LADOT is proposing a 45 mph high speed merge just south of Devonshire. The finish line? Mayall, where more than a hundred residents asked for a crosswalk.

Pushing this plan forward is irresponsible.
9 months ago Councilman Smith set forth a process to engage the community because, as he said, the LADOT did not. Yet, after the LADOT plan was rejected by the very process that he created, Smith is now apparently pushing the plan forward anyway. The fact is that, after 4 Wilbur Working Group meetings, One huge town hall meeting, and a lot of citizen volunteer work, the LADOT only ever presented ONE option to the Wilbur Working Group (at the second of 4 meetings.) This compromise plan was eventually REJECTED by both "for" and "against" public voices on the matter at the joint PRNC and NWNC town hall meeting including a rejection by the voting body itself.  Had Smith actually shown up to the townhall meeting (or any of the meetings) perhaps he would have seen the dismay from all camps first hand and worked to provide a better solution. Instead, Smith has elected to scrap the recommendations of the joint committee all together, ignoring the wishes of the community for more options and instead spending $40,000 in scarce public money to implement a plan that is flawed in a very serious way.

Prediction based on historical DATA: 
Increased conflict and collisions at Mayall.
Based on previous data at Dearborn and Wilbur we know there is a strong likelihood that collisions will increase over the current configuration at Mayall. There is evidence that conditions will be worse as both Plummer and Dearborn bottlenecks presented merges ending at traffic lights while the Mayall merge begins with a traffic light at Devonshire a quarter mile before the Mayall intersection where the merge ends.

IGNORED SOLUTION!! 4 lanes to Devonshire NO 45mph rated merge. Install Crosswalk at Mayall / Wilbur.
The LADOT has identified that the problem area is between Chatsworth and Devonshire in the mornings during peak traffic. According to the official traffic counts the congestion occurs from 7:30-7:55am and is largely due to Nobel school drop off. This can be fixed by implementing MOST of the LADOT compromise plan while preserving the residential character of the current configuration south of Devonshire as shown in this alternative proposal. The alternative proposal would also include a crosswalk at Mayall.  The crosswalk was unanimously endorsed by the Northridge West Neighborhood Council on February 8th.

The alternate plan rejected by Smith and the LADOT would satisfy the stated desires of Ridge Gate and Belcourt gated communities to the north of Devonshire while preserving the safety and residential character of the area south of Devonshire.

Councilman Smith announces his decision to go against the wishes of the public body he created.