With 10 speakers cards and two more written remarks, the agenda item at the August 13 Culver City council meeting last night that drew the loudest crowd was Action Item A-1, the “Discussion and Direction Related to Potential Traffic Mitigation Measures on Sawtelle…Between Sepulveda…and Ballona Creek.”
When the council voted unanimously with four ayes (Meghan Sahli-Wells was not in attendance) to approve more than half of the measures proposed to remedy the situation, the crowd broke into cheering and applause.
Mayor Andy Weissman noted “I’ve been hearing Sunkist Park talk about the need for traffic mitigation since the ’80’s …and it’s really time we get this resolved.”
The council approved a motion by Jeff Cooper and seconded by Mehaul O’Leary for the following options –
An all-way Stop control, flashing red beacon and marked crosswalk on Sawtelle at McDonald St.-
Posting additional regulatory speed limit signs –
Installing a flashing beacon over existing speed feedback signs –
Stripe Bicycle lanes on Sawtelle Blvd.-
Installing speed reducing striping –
Install a traffic signal and high visibility marked crosswalk at Sawtelle and the off-set intersection of Blanco Way and Hayter Ave.
According to the city staff report “A three way Stop and high visibility crosswalks could be installed within the next two weeks without flashing read beacons, or within the next three months with flashing read beacons…Additionally, STOP AHEAD signs would be installed on each approach to the new proposed interim STOP.”
Several of those who spoke, including Dave Stewart, Micheal Hamill and Neil Glickman, referred to the traffic studies that the neighborhood participated in over the last decade. While city traffic official Gabe Garcia stated that “residents voted down the proposals for traffic mitigation” it was recalled that non-participation was registered as a “no” vote, so Sunkist Park households that chose not to participate or were unaware of the traffic studies were tallied as weighing in against the changes.
Mary Banks-Levy stated “For decades, everyone who has knocked on my door to ask for my vote, be they city, state or county, has heard me ask for a traffic light out there on Sawtelle, and I have gotten no response.”
Cooper, O’Leary and Jim Clarke all commented on the need to protect the residents of Sunkist Park and make it easier for children walking to school to be safe.
On a related item, the council approved making the speed humps on Culver Park Drive and Segrell Way permanent. These had been put in place to mitigate traffic concerns in regard to the now- completed Sepulveda widening project. Director of Public Works Charles Herbertson noted that the presence of the humps had not “decreased the traffic coming through, but has significantly slowed it down.”
Before the traffic mitigation items, another significant move made by the council was to proceed with the sale of Parcel B to the real estate developer Combined/Hudson, whose design for the still-empty lot won the approval of the council last year.
While there is still no clarity in regard to how the state of California will process the sale – the Successor Agency being vulnerable to being classified as a part of the now-dissolved Redevelopment Agency – the desire to move the project forward was motivation to take the next step.
Still needing approval from the state Department of Finance, the sale could close by the end of the year.