Dear Editor- Safe Routes Not Taken

Dear Editor,

The decision not to apply for the “Safe Routes to School” grant in July by Culver City saddens me. In September of 2007, a local newspaper printed a photograph of double-parked vehicles and children crossing Elenda in front of Culver City High School. The caption was apparently tongue in cheek that a new school year brought the same traffic problems. Outside of sweeps by Culver City Police, as resources allowed, in response to neighborhood complaints and student injuries, little has changed in the four years since.

Even having the child of a CCUSD School Board member involved in a pedestrian vs. vehicle accident did not bring down Thor’s Hammer to adequately address the traffic safety issues in the CCUSD Quad-campus area (Culver City High School/Adult School, Culver City Middle School, Farragut Elementary School and the Office of Child Development Center for Early Education), home to some 4,000 students.

An alternative solution to meaningful police enforcement of California’s traffic regulations was sought through the “Safe Route to Schools” grant program. Culver City, in my view, was going to change the physical world of Quad-campus to slow down traffic and encourage healthier means of getting to school.

As is their right, affected neighbors spoke out and asked for more time to gather more input and seek alternatives to the initial proposals presented by the “SRTS” working group. Since the application was due by July 15, 2011, Culver City decided not to apply for this cycle’s grant — a possible $1.5 million. As I understand the situation, this will be the second failed attempt at getting the funds to try and solve the traffic problems.

Living on the street where two student vs. vehicle accidents have occurred and blocks from the third on Elenda, I would ask for support in making the streets safer to get to school on. While we dialogue on acceptable physical changes, CCPD must have the resources and mandate to educate through maximum enforcement of the existing traffic regulations in Culver City.

How many children have to be injured before the responsible grown-ups take action?


John Heyl
Culver City


The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. John, you have my support.

    I live on Elenda Street and am in favor of improvements to increase safety and decrease traffic violations. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (BPMP) that was recently adopted (October 2010) has some fine plans for Farragut and Elenda. We should move forward on them.

    On page 86 of the BPMP is Bicycle Project #3: Farragut Drive/Franklin Avenue: Duquesne Avenue. It has an estimated cost of $27,000. Perhaps we could look at modifying that plan to include traffic calming.

    On page 89 of the BPMP is Pedestrian Project #1: Braddock Drive: Sawtelle Boulevard to Irving Place. It includes a high visibility crosswalk at Elenda and Braddock and has an estimated cost of $17,200 for all of Braddock. I am in favor of that. Perhaps we can add bulb-out curbs at the corners if fire engines can make the turn.

    Elenda Street doesn’t receive mention in the BPMP until page 96 and has been designated as a Second Tier Project, namely a “Bicycle Friendly Street.” Elenda Street and bikes are a natural pair. We always ride down to the creek through Elenda, as many others do every day. I fully support the BPMP plans for Elenda, but the SRTS plans for Elenda were completely out of step with the character and quality of life of the neighborhood.

    Any major proposals that go beyond the scope already agreed to in the BPMP need more engineering analysis and community input. The June 25 meeting presentation contained slides depicting traffic intersections “as is” and “with proposed changes,” but some slides had graphical errors and some were text but no graphics. These errors were chalked up to being hastily “emailed at 3:45AM today” and that didn’t exactly inspire my confidence in the plan.

    I’m pleased that we have slowed the additional proposed changes to the neighborhood through the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) Federal funding. They were rushed. Despite the many thousands of fliers that were mailed out by the City, I can count on one hand the number of people on Elenda Street from Farragut to Culver who knew about the June 25 meeting because I knocked on their doors and asked them the very next day.

    I know that the August 20 meeting will be productive, and that all of the public dialogue we are having via the Internet will serve us well.

    Let’s keep getting more voices involved.

    I am hosting public dialogue on Twitter and Facebook. You are all invited.

    (All links shortened by me)

    Yours in the good fight,

    Bryan Sanders
    Culver City

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