Residents on Berkeley Street have put up signs to warn drivers to slow down. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

Residents on Berkeley Street have put up signs to warn drivers to slow down. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

CITY HALL — It seemed like every issue at the City Council meeting on Tuesday came back to speed and parking.

Even discussion about City Hall’s 2014-15 budget was dominated by residents concerned about cars speeding down Berkeley Street.

Berkeley Street traffic improvement, which would cost $555,000, is one of dozens of capital improvement projects proposed to be axed from next year’s budget as part of an effort to fight a projected deficit in coming years.

More than 10 residents from the neighborhood spoke during the public portion of the meeting, each telling his or her own story about seeing cars driving upwards of 60 miles per hour in the residential neighborhood.

Roger Hill, who’s lived on Berkeley for two decades, has seen a Porsche driving in the wrong lane at a rate of more than 50 miles.

“It’s been gradual, I’d say, over the last decade,” he said of the speed increases.

Many residents acknowledged that they themselves sometimes accidentally speed in the area due to the nature of the street. They were complimentary of the way that city traffic planners have responded to their requests.

The area in question, a two-block stretch from Stanford Street to Wilshire Boulevard, is home to 35 children, residents said. Residents have indicated that they’d be willing to give up street parking in order to accommodate the traffic calming measures.

“We have documented issues of speeding,” said Sam Morrissey, City Hall’s principal transportation engineer. “We put motor officers out there to write tickets and they can write tickets all day long.”

The improvements in question would add curb extensions, two median islands, an intersection reconfiguration at Berkeley and Stanford, and a traffic circle a Lipton Avenue.

Councilmember Bob Holbrook expressed minor concern over the inclusion of medians.

“If you look at the ones on 26th Street, you’ll see tire marks from the people who hit them,” he said.

Councilmember Gleam Davis, who lives nearby, said the street is a common cut-through.

“I think one of the issues that we have people coming down from Brentwood and they come down Montana and then they come down Berkeley to get to Wilshire because that’s where the light is,” she said.

The budget will be finalized next month and Councilman Kevin McKeown suggested that the council consider funding the project in full.

Following the discussion, council voted unanimously to drop some speed limits around town, including down to 15 miles per hour around the public schools when children are present.

This could slow some busy streets, like areas of Montana Avenue, but no one came out to complain about the changes. One resident lauded City Hall for the move.

Morrissey noted that the drop in limits would make the city safer.

Residents of Bay Street petitioned council to add stricter parking regulations to their neighborhood. Employees from local businesses are taking up their street parking, they said.

Council, in a 4 to 2 vote, agreed to move forward with the residents’ requests but not before hearing from numerous local workers during the public comment portion of the meeting. The workers asked that council consider something less drastic.

Drivers without residential permits would be allowed to park for two hours between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and not at all between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.

 

dave@smdp.com

 

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