October 2017 - The South Pasadena City Council will once again discuss design alternatives for Monterey Road at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday October 18. Council Agenda item #18 will review alternatives, including receiving and filing a lengthy staff report on the history of the roadway, citizen's design committee process, and possible next steps (see agenda packet page 224).
An important east-west corridor within the community that provides direct access to the City's sole high school, Monterey Road has a posted speed limit of 35mph and 85th percentile speed of 40mph. The latter is an important piece of information as it relates to state law on setting local speed limits. If the City wants to conduct legally defensible radar speed enforcement along Monterey Road the state of California requires that the posted speed limit be aligned with the 85th percentile average speed, in this case 40mph. However updating the posted speed limit to allow for enforcement may have the unintended consequence of making the problem worse, as drivers are likely to exceed the new speed limit by several miles per hour in light traffic conditions.
The stakes for public safety and health are high. The likelihood of serious injury or death in a collision involving a pedestrian and a vehicle increase exponentially as speeds rise from 20 to 40mph (see graphic below).
Members of the public may comment on the project and design alternatives via email or in person at the October 18th meeting.
February 2015 - After several years of study and deliberation, the City of South Pasadena has released the results of a feasibility study (viewable below) for potential Complete Streets improvements, including wider sidewalks and bicycle lanes, along a stretch of Monterey Road.
A significant minor arterial in the City, Monterey Road cuts east-west from the border of Los Angeles at the York Ave. bridge to the San Marino city limits in the east. However, only the four-lane western stretch of Monterey Rd (widened by LA County in the 1970s) between Fair Oaks Ave. and Pasadena Ave. are currently being studied for improvements.
Key Figures - Existing Conditions for Monterey Rd. Study Area
In 2012, the South Pasadena City Council commissioned a citizen committee to work hand-in-hand with an independent traffic consultant to identify alternatives for a feasible future design of this segment. The working group identified a wide array of potential improvements, including adding bicycle lanes, widening sidewalks, relocating utilities, implementing traffic calming measures, coordinating traffic signal, installing higher visibility crosswalks, adding exclusive left- and right-turn lanes to selected intersections, restricting on-street parking in certain areas, and implementing a 4 to 3 lane roadway reconfiguration. On the latter recommendation the citizen committee was evenly split 4-4.
In 2014 the South Pasadena City Council authorized staff to hire an independent consultant to conduct a roadway reconfiguration impact study to help the City make a more informed decision in selecting a final design. The consultant was asked to study the impact and feasibility of removing a travel lane to accommodate a center turn lane, reduce speeding, and improve safety for people on foot and bike.
The consultant then compared a "no-build" scenario with two "Complete Streets" alternatives:
After reviewing the City's goals to improve walkability, safety and all road users access, as well as the perceived positive and negative impacts of a 4-3 lane roadway reconfiguration, the authors of the study formally recommended that the City move forward with a roadway reconfiguration pilot to determine the true impacts of the change before investing the final improvements.
Consultant Recommendation - Pilot a trial roadway reconfiguration through minimal re-striping of specific, shortened portions of Monterey to test real world impacts on peak hour vehicular traffic, vehicle speeds, queue lengths, and left-turn and bicycle interactions.
After receiving verbal comment in support of and against the addition of a center turn lane and bicycle lanes, the 4 members of the South Pasadena Public Works Commission adopted the following motion:
The item will next move to the South Pasadena City Council for further review/consideration.
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