by Alejandro Magallanes
On Wednesday, March 8, Eve Sinclair, chair of the Sunland-Tujunga Safe Streets Committee, stood before the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council to present the work that our group has been committed to for the last eight months. She explained to the council and visitors that we will be having a Safe Streets Town Hall meeting on Saturday, April 1 at 10 a.m.
Traffic is an important topic in our neighborhood. Our residents are realizing that now is the time to add helpful information that will mold our streets into the safer changes that we will be seeing in the near future. Vision Zero is financially invested and well at work on these changes already. Your input will help.
First, know the facts. Los Angeles street surveys help the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and LAPD Traffic Division better understand and enforce our streets. After the financial crisis of 2008, the city made necessary restraints to the budget — which included putting off our invaluable street surveys. As a result, Los Angeles street surveys expired over the next seven years. Without updated street surveys, LAPD traffic enforcement disappeared. Without LAPD traffic enforcement, drivers slowly realized that they could speed to where they wanted to go without the regulation of the police.
Enter Vision Zero, a Los Angeles citywide effort to create safer streets for our pedestrians. Begun in 2015, the program aims for zero traffic deaths by 2025. Foothill Boulevard, which runs through Tujunga, Sunland and Lake View Terrace, is one of the main streets in all of L.A. that is getting major attention. This resulted in our town receiving a long awaited street survey.
Our street survey shows that over 85% of our town’s residents are speeding. A percentage that high might translate into a speed limit increase of 5 mph in all zones through Foothill Blvd. Before that happens, engineers from Vision Zero will be making physical changes to Foothill Blvd. in an attempt to slow down drivers, making them more aware of pedestrians, thereby avoiding traffic collisions and deaths. Some of these engineering changes include newly painted lanes and “continental” pedestrian crossings, installation of traffic delineators and speed bumps, and a lane reduction flowing through Lake View Terrace. After these physical changes, our speed survey will be shot by radar once again, and the resulting data from that survey will let us know if we do need a speed increase. There will be no increases until then.
Your input at our Safe Streets Town Hall on April 1 is incredibly detrimental to the success of our streets. Our recent STNC meeting showed that we are all in accord. We do not want a speed increase. It was amazing to see all personalities, egos and town feuds diffuse, if only temporarily, for a unified love of our neighbors. Because when we have a traffic death in the foothills, that is exactly who dies. It is our family members, our friends, and our neighbors. I say, no more. No more unnecessary traffic deaths.
On Saturday, March 11, the Safe Streets committee held its monthly meeting at North Valley City Hall. We were blessed to have guests from the Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council, Laurie Thoms and Alisa Clairet, discuss their concerns with their stretch of Foothill Blvd. running through Lake View Terrace. Their neighborhood is a horse-riding community that is currently frustrated with cars racing on Foothill Blvd. at speeds topping 100mph. They welcome Vision Zero’s lane changes and Safe Streets is making sure that their voices are heard. Have your voices heard. Attend our Safe Streets Town Hall meeting on April 1 at 10 a.m. Follow us on Facebook at Sunland-Tujunga Safe Streets for information leading up to the date, such as info on special guests, Vision Zero basics and our own Sunland-Tujunga traffic questionnaire.
We look forward to seeing you there!