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Council halts traffic-calming study efforts

Opponents of guidelines said city's attention would be a waste of time since issues are already viewed on a case-by-case basis.

June 07, 2007|By Amanda Pennington

COSTA MESA — The City Council on Tuesday halted an effort to establish a set of overall guidelines for traffic-calming in the city.

The guidelines would not have mandated specific solutions to traffic problems, but some council members and residents thought it a waste of time for city staff to work on the guidelines since each issue will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Mayor Allan Mansoor and council members Eric Bever and Wendy Leece voted to stop the traffic-calming study. Council members Katrina Foley and Linda Dixon wanted it to continue.

"Mr. [Peter] Naghavi's office has always been very responsive…. I think that adding something that is going to take a lot of staff time" when some of these things could be handled individually is not appropriate, Cindy Brenneman of Mesa Verde told the council Tuesday.

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Councilwoman Foley proposed that the city study traffic on Magnolia, Flower, Broadway and Raymond streets, which residents said continuously have problems with speeding cars, but the motion died for lack of a second.

"From my perspective, I think that it is a way to give empowerment to the residents of a particular neighborhood to come to the council and say we would like to have you know about our traffic concerns and look at alternatives … in order to effect change in our neighborhood," Foley said before the meeting. "Without the standard and criteria this provides … we are just going to be status quo. I think it's unfortunate that it's been isolated to the Eastside."

In an effort to streamline the process in which residents and city staff handle traffic concerns, the city held a public meeting in April to explain different ways to handle the concerns, especially speeding cars.

City staffers told residents they'd be conducting surveys and other meetings with homeowners associations and in neighborhoods where there are traffic concerns. Armed with specific concerns from various neighborhoods, staff would then put together the guidelines for traffic calming citywide.

"It would streamline the process, and it would provide some guidelines as to how staff would go about even understanding or studying a problem, if a problem in fact exists," Naghavi said before the meeting. "It would by no means guarantee any devices would be used for certain neighborhoods. It would just help the neighborhood with the process of even starting to initiate a request."

But in the last 17 years, the city has survived without such standardized guidelines, and Naghavi said he expects that without them the city will continue to address traffic issues in neighborhoods on a case-by-case basis with success.

"We have done just fine for the past 17 years without it, and we could do fine with it also. Either way, we'd provide the same quality service to the residents of the city either with this guideline or without it…. We'll still do the very same thing, which is go to neighborhoods, talk to residents to see what the issues are, try to educate them and try to be educated to come up with a series of improvements in different neighborhoods," Naghavi said. "We want to come up with resolutions that would make the neighborhoods safer."


  • AMANDA PENNINGTON may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at amanda.pennington@latimes.com.

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