Council opposes speed increases

Kelly Boyd says there have been 40 accidents in 3 years, and police think it's related to speed.

September 02, 2010|By Barbara Diamond,

Traffic already moves too fast on Laguna Canyon Road, say city officials don't want to see it increased, particularly closer to town.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose three increases in speed limits proposed by Calrans for Broadway and stretches of the winding, heavily traveled road through the canyon, where speeding already occurs, city officials said.

"I don't think we should encourage it," Councilman Kelly Boyd said. "There have been 40 accidents on the past three years between Canyon Acres and Forest Avenue, that police think are related to speed."


Proposed increases are from 45 to 50 mph inbound from the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road to El Toro Road; from 35 to 40 miles an hour inbound from the Edison sub-station to the Cliff Drive and Acacia Street intersection; and from 25 to 30 miles an hour inbound from Cliff and Acacia to Coast Highway.

The number of stop lights on Broadway between Forest Avenue and the Coast Highway would seem to preclude speeding on that stretch, but that is not what the survey and city records show.

"Unfortunately, we have issued a number of speeding tickets there," City Manager Ken Frank said.

Laguna College of Art & Design opposes the increase in speed limits on the El Toro Road to the Edison sub-station because of the danger it poses to vehicles turning into and out of the college parking lot, which is on the inbound side of Laguna Canyon Road.

Vehicles using the ACT V parking lot also make left-hand turns coming and going, crossing the inbound lane.

Existing speed limits in the three target areas would not be enforceable by radar, according to the Caltrans proposal. However that has not been adopted and the city does enforce by radar, Frank said.

Speeding can also be gauged by the speedometer readings of a following police car or motorcycle, he told the council.

The Council instructed Frank to inform Caltrans that its opposition is based on heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the road and on Broadway and to ask that any increases be postponed for at least a year.

"It sounds like this won't happen," said Michael Hoag.

Caltrans is obliged to consider the results of a public hearing on the issue.

A traffic survey is required every 10 years to justify speed limits enforced by radar, Frank said.

Caltrans indicated to the city that it might incur liability in the event of injuries incurred in a traffic accident, if methodology to establishing speed limits does not conform to the state vehicle code.

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