The topic was traffic, and while the crowd was small, they were all speaking from personal experience. The tales from the podium were about accidents and near-misses, clogged intersections and impassable streets. The remedy – for some of these issues – was deemed to be re-engineering the zone around the school.
At a special city council meeting on Feb. 3, 2020, the vote was unanimous to approve a school safety zone around La Ballona Elementary on Washington Blvd., reducing speed limits to 15 miles per hour. In addition, the council voted to begin inviting bids for construction of the ‘Safe Routes to School’ plan presented during the meeting. This was the second presentation for “Safe Routes” and the modifications from the first presentation were enough to reach success.
Resident Ken Mand said that “A unanimous vote by the council [on the speed limit and the Safe Routes project] will not just mean commitment to these specific projects, but …a commitment to the mobility needs that many of us are [focused on] for the future of our city.” Mand also questioned if private school could not come under the same safety mandate.
The council had to keep their focus on the laws in regard to safe school zones to public schools first, as articulated by the city Traffic Engineer, Gabe Garcia.
The second action item on the agenda, creating many changes to crosswalks and traffic control around the school, was approved of by Council member Goran Eriksson, “This will encourage more kids and yes, more grown-ups, to bike.” Council member Lee, who offered that this was his neighborhood and thus very familiar territory as a pedestrian, “I think anything we can do to slow this [traffic] down will help families… and making sure that the streets are safe for everyone.”
The measure passed, unanimously.