Enforcement of speed laws has been slow to arrive in West Hills.
Fortunately, thanks in part to the West Hills Neighborhood Council’s Streets and Transportation Committee, more streets in the community are expected to be approved for radar enforcement in the near future.
California law requires the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to conduct studies to determine prevailing speeds before a street can be certified for radar enforcement. These speeds are then applied to a formula to determine an approved speed limit.
At an Aug. 8 meeting of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition, LAPD Valley Bureau Deputy Chief Robert Green noted that 75 percent of the city’s state-mandated LADOT speed surveys have expired, meaning that the LAPD may not use radar to enforce speed limits on most of its streets per state law.
With restored LADOT funding for street surveys, this is beginning to turn around. There’s a catch, however: Once a speed survey is taken, the city may be required by the state’s “speed trap” laws to increase speed limits to match existing “prevailing speeds” before police officers can start aiming their radar guns.
So how do we fix the problem? We get the city and state to work together to fix it!
Let’s start with giving LAPD the opportunity to enforce speed laws by getting LADOT speed surveys completed. With the new budget year the city has restored funding for LADOT speed studies.
LADOT Senior Engineer Nader Asmar pledged that if current budget levels are maintained, speed studies for 100 percent of streets on the of the city’s High Injury Network (HIN) would be completed within the next two to three years. These streets cover only 6 percent of L.A.’s street network but are responsible for 65 percent of all traffic deaths and severe injuries in the city.
A list of these dangerous streets can be found at High Injury Network streets. In our part of the Valley, they include Fallbrook Avenue between Ventura Boulevard and Roscoe Boulevard, Sherman Way between Fallbrook and White Oak Boulevard, Sherman Way between Medical Center Drive and Royer Street, and the intersections of Saticoy Street & Fallbrook, Victory Boulevard & Platt Avenue and Roscoe & Topanga Canyon Boulevards.
While LADOT completes its studies, the West Hills Neighborhood Council will partner with LAPD to educate stakeholders on understanding the logic behind increasing speed limits. The hope is that an agreement can be worked out between the city and state to allow the city some leeway in lowering speed limits while enforcing speed laws.
Finally, West Hills stakeholders are urged to send letters thanking Councilmembers Mitch Englander and Mike Bonin for introducing the “Enforcing Safe Travel Speeds” and urging them to push the city and LADOT to begin working immediately with the state to fix the “speed trap” laws.
We don’t want to return to the days of speed traps, but we do want to return to the days when we could save lives by enforcing speed limits.
— Simone Best