Dear Editor- Safe Routes Going Nowhere

Dear Editor,

Many of my neighbors and I attended what was described on the sign-in sheets as the “Safe Routes to School Community Meeting” this Saturday morning (8/20/11) in the City Council Chambers at Culver City Hall. For about 45 minutes some 50 participants shared their concerns with the traffic safety and parking issues in the CCUSD Quad-Campus (Culver City High School, Culver City Middle School, Farragut Elementary School and the Office of Child Development’s Center for Early Education – some 4,000 students) and near by La Ballona Elementary School. Volunteer Facilitator Gayle Haberman, who is involved with the Linwood E. Howe Safe Routes to School project, then introduced Culver City Traffic Manager Gabriel Garcia, who outlined the problems identified in a May 2011 workshop and their proposed street-scape, solutions that were abandoned after a vocal minority raised objections and concerns following 3 community meetings on June 25th to inform stake-holders of possible solutions to these long standing problems.

For me it was a nightmare “ground hog day” experience of going over and over the same steps and getting no way. Once again, the vocal minority spoke up, saying that there was no empirical evidence – that the discussion was being hijacked to talk about capital improvements without evidence there was a need. Here is MY evidence: youtube/gyS9kT-BFds — as I told the Culver City Council in July, two school children have been involved in pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents on my street — a third accident occurred near Robert Frost Auditorium on Elenda. I’ve had a vehicle sideswiped by a hit-and run driver in front of my home, and woken up to the collateral damage of a car flipping over near the Center for Early Education. There IS a traffic safety issue in Culver City, and the proposed infra-structure changes from the June 25th community meetings are a dead issue. From what I heard today, Culver City is looking for a public mandate to either find a fix for the problem or decide there is no problem at all.

I was encouraged by the presence of School Board Member Kathy Paspalis, School Board Candidate Laura Chardiet and Culver City Council Member Andrew Weissman.

I fear, like so many others, it is going to take the inevitable death of a school child to finally get the traffic safety issues addressed and resolved. For now, where do we stand? waiting for more meetings to be scheduled for more community outreach.

John L. Heyl

Ting Internet is in Culver City!

4 Comments

  1. I could not agree with Mr. Heyl more. Although some have accused the city and Mr. Garcia of “prejudicing” the discussion by going over the plan that had been rejected/delayed before, I for one appreciated the background on the work that had been put into the project, and was favorably impressed with a majority of the proposal. I’m somewhat puzzled what the “vocal minority” a the meeting finds so objectionable about the previous proposal. Do they feel it changes the character of the neighborhood in some adverse way? Do they have any other proposals in how we might address what are clearly safety issues in our neighborhood, or are they simply content to hijack the discussion by saying “we don’t need any changes, there is no evidence of a problem. Show me the evidence.” I saw some very tragic evidence on the grass in front of my house when school board member Scott Zeidman’s child was hit and injured last year. Luckily, his injuries were not life-threatening, but it has happened at least twice since and I find that difficult to forget. For me, it is difficult also not to resent the comments of a “vocal minority” of members of our community who choose to stick their heads in the sand and claim there is “no problem”. I am happy that the city is finally looking at this issue and have gone to some lengths to PROPOSE a solution. It is now the job of the residents surround the school complex to make counter proposals, offer refinements and alternatives, or in short, either put up, or shut up. I’m committed to the dialog and planning necessary to hopefully make our neighborhood safer without destroying the character of our community, and I hope and expect that the rest of my neighbors would share in that commitment.

  2. I am as frustrated as Mr. Heyl. This has been an on-going issue amoung parent groups for a very long time. We are concerned about the safety of our children. This issue will not be solved soley by placing traffic officers in the area. There needs to be a balanced approach that combines enforcement with permanent traffic mitigation steps.

  3. What exactly are the reservations of the “vocal minority?” I cannot imagine that people who live in the neighborhood around the schools actually like the traffic situation there before and after school. What is that they do not like about the existing proposals?

  4. The existing proposals make it nearly impossible for those of us living in this neighborhood to get in and out of our own homes. The problem could easily be resolved if the traffic laws already in place were actually enforced. One way streets do not fix irresponsible driving behavior. Where is law enforcement during drop off and pick up time?

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