SAFELY CROSSING: Students and parents leave Franklin Elementary School last year. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

SAFELY CROSSING: Students and parents leave Franklin Elementary School last year. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

CITYWIDE — The City Council will consider reducing speed limits near local schools to 15 miles per hour on school days. At their May 27 meeting, council will consider dropping limits throughout the city, including 18 locations within 500 feet of schools.

The ordinance would amend the Santa Monica Municipal Code and set limits in 103 segments throughout the city based on a 2013 engineering and traffic survey.

Limits could drop to 15 miles per hour on Lincoln Boulevard from Alta to Montana avenues for Roosevelt Elementary School. Limits around John Muir Elementary School on Ocean Park Boulevard from Fourth Street to Beverly Avenue could also drop to 15 miles per hour. The same goes for Montana Avenue from 23rd to 25th streets in the area of Franklin Elementary School.

There are more than a dozen other street segments near schools that would drop to 15 miles per hour on school days if council gives approval.

“We’ve had some terrible accidents in the past,” said Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education member Oscar de la Torre. “Anything we can do to slow down traffic in the name of student safety is a good thing.”

Traffic in the city by the sea is a contentious issue these days but, de la Torre said, student safety comes first.

City limits are currently set based on a traffic study from 2006.

In November and December, City Hall paid Kimley-Horn and Associates to perform a new traffic survey. All proposed changes are based on the new survey.

City Hall would add signs to areas that are currently unmarked, reduce speed limits on six non-school segments, and reduce speed in several areas that had not previously been surveyed.

The limit on Olympic Boulevard, between 20th Street and the city’s eastern limit, is currently 45 miles per hour, but the new survey suggests a drop to 40.

On Ocean Park Boulevard from 14th to 23rd streets, City Hall is recommending a drop from 35 miles per hour to 30, due to the closeness of several elementary schools and the Fairview branch of the library.

Limits between Wilshire and Pico boulevards on both Fourth and Fifth streets are set at 30 miles per hour, but the survey suggests dropping it to 25 to stay consistent with other Downtown streets.

Council has been pushing pedestrian safety for years, supporting “traffic calming” measures like the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGO), a proposed massive pedestrian thoroughfare that will connect the eastside of the city to the westside and the incoming Expo Light Rail stations.

The route will protect bikers and pedestrians through enhanced lighting, crosswalks, additional landscaping, sharrows, traffic circles, chicanes and slow-movement intersections.

The first segment of the MANGO will go in right around Santa Monica High School, likely before next school year. Council approved one-way traffic for sections of Michigan Avenue and Seventh Street — a move that is expected to reduce the number of students crossing mid-block in front of on-coming traffic. A new traffic signal will be installed at the corner of Pico Boulevard and Seventh Street and bike lanes will be added to the area as well.

On Tuesday, council will consider dropping the limit to 15 miles per hour at Sixth Street from Pico Boulevard to Bay Street.

 

 

dave@smdp.com

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