Friday, April 06, 2007

Neighborhood Traffic Management Program


Thursday evening I, along with a couple hundred other Costa Mesa residents, attended a Town Hall Meeting which introduced the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program. The meeting was conducted by Transportation Services Manager Peter Naghavi, who did a good job of explaining the various charts posted around the room and the thrust of the program.

This meeting was the first step in a comprehensive plan to improve traffic within the various neighborhoods throughout the city. This purpose was to gather data from residents - concerns they have about traffic and suggestions they have for mitigation of the problem areas.

Among the city officials in attendance were the City Manager, Allan Roeder, Assistant City Manager, Thomas Hatch and members of Naghavi's staff. I also saw Planning Commissioner Sam Clark and two Parks and Recreation Commissioners, Terry Shaw and Mike Brumbaugh. Curiously, I did not see any member of the City Council present, which I thought was just a little unusual, especially since members of the majority profess to be all about fixing potholes and improving our infrastructure. I guess, since you can't blame the traffic on the Latinos among us, they didn't see any political wheat to be harvested, so were not interested.

The meeting, scheduled for two hours, stretched to three, the last half of which was taken up with questions and answers by residents and staff.

Although Naghavi sent out 42,000 letters a month ago, only two hundred or so people showed up. This, of course, is the beginning of spring holidays for many people in town. Regardless, those folks who did show up were attentive and active participants.

The upshot of this meeting will be an accumulation of the information provided by the comments and questions from the audience plus those observations they included in the survey forms passed out at the meeting. Subsequent meetings will take place with homeowner associations around town during which more questions and answers well be compiled until, at a point in the future, a plan will be presented to the City Council for approval and funding.

It was interesting that, even though this meeting was held on their front porch at the Neighborhood Community Center near Lion's Park, I didn't see any of the "usual suspects" - the yapping, self-anointed Westside "improvers" - at this meeting. Neither did I see that intrepid reporter from the CM Press - traffic must not be an issue in his part of town. I suspect these folks stayed away for the same reason no council members were present - no Latinos, no issue.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Geoff,

I couldn't make it due to a previous committment. Did you get a sense that they were going to try and do a lot of traffic "calming" measures, or if they are trying to make traffic flow more freely?

4/06/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob,

I got the impression that, since this is early in the process, they were primarily interested in gathering input from residents. They showed several examples of "calming" techniques, each of which work only when applied in the proper circumstances.

Several people spoke. One gentleman recalled the 1997 Eastside Traffic Plan - a disaster, in his words - and said the city should be in the business of facilitating the movement of traffic, not slowing it down. He was the only speaker to receive applause.

Another speaker, near the end after most attendees had departed, expressed the view that more work should be done in education of the drivers. He felt the drivers - us - were the crux of the problem for which "calming" solutions are being considered. He's probably correct. He suggested more outreach, perhaps at gas stations while we pump. He thought some kind of high tech video presentation with snappy, memorable sound bites encouraging more caution on the part of the driver could work.

As Peter Naghavi said last night, it's easy for him to simply go to a neighborhood and slap a Stop sign in place - it costs about $100 to do that - but most of the time that ultimately creates more problems than it solves. He cited examples for us.

So, yes, I think they are on the right track. Yes, it will take longer than most expect. However, the city staff is quite responsive to public safety issues and they encouraged anyone to call or email if there are specific, immediate needs. I'm keeping a positive thought - with fingers firmly crossed.

4/06/2007 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Geoof,

That sounds quite encouraging! Thanks for the update.

4/06/2007 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Dorian said...

Rob –

I was there and it was very well put together. All the officials were approachable and wanted to hear what citizens had to say. They provided data that showed a history of the speed and volume for most of the city.

Unfortunately the plan will take sometime to pull together and my fear is that it will be difficult to gain consensus on what is best for each neighborhood or city segment.

One thing that struck me as odd was Peter’s statement that things needed to be “uniform”. To me this does not makes sense in a city like CM. Irvine maybe but CM I don’t no. CM has many different areas that have varied traffic related issues. Almost all of these are neighborhoods. Example: Eastside streets like 19th are wildly different then Mesa Del Mars residential streets (St Clair) that are heavily used for cut through to Adams. I think our officials need to have more vision and apply what is right for the area and the circumstances.

The best thing for CM would be to get traffic moving on the arterials quicker and more safely thus relieving volume on residential streets.

As for speeding in the residential areas, volume reduction would obviously help but enforcement may be the best option.

Next week the surveys will be on the cities website along with some of the data and calming measures proposed.

4/06/2007 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Len Bose said...

Good information! This type information best promotes the local blog sites and truly helps or city. If I understand your posts, the best thing for a homeowner is to be more involved in their homeowners association, look for the survey at the city’s web site and introduce yourself to Peter Naghavi?
Can you tell me if anyone from the Mesa del Mar homeowners association was present at this meeting? I read a note about St. Clair of course this is of interest to me because this is the street we live on. I also liked the information on who was present at the meeting, strange how the Pilot did not attend and very disturbing that no Council members were present.
This is the information the best promotes local blog sites and helps or city the most. THANK YOU!

4/07/2007 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Len,

There were several people there from Mesa del Mar, including former Parks and Rec. Commissioner David Stiller. You've got it right - more info will be forthcoming. In the meantime, there were plans, based on a suggestion from one of the residents present, to make copies of the survey form available at several public buildings and, probably, on the city web site.

Peter Naghavi is a very responsible and responsive guy... I know from personal experience and from anecdotal reports from others that he does a good job of getting back to people and, if possible, doing a quick fix to problems is public safety is involved.

Alicia Robinson was at the meeting for most of it and did, in fact, publish a report on it today in the Daily Pilot - front page. Her article, "Honk For Less Traffic", can be read online at this link, which is not a "hot" link - you'll have to copy and paste it into your browser address box: http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2007/04/07/politics/dpt-traffic07.txt. As always, thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading.

4/07/2007 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Andrew,

Thanks! I really wanted to attend. I attended the study session on the 17th street improvements and found the City staff and consultants very approachable and engaging. My fear is that they will slow down traffic instead of speeding it up. Some of the initial ideas for 17th were crazy - adding signals, filling in the entire median, encroaching landscaping, etc. The median is critical for turning into the many businesses and avoiding left-hand turn lane choke-points. Adding a signal would also slow down an already heavily impacted street.

We do need to get the arterials moving - and we really need a way of freeing up Newport Blvd. between Newport Beach and the 55. The perennial traffic jam is the key reason there is so much commuter traffic in the surrounding residential neighborhoods. I don't know if it calls for better signal coordination or what - but something needs to be done!

I will keep my eyes open for the surveys and information on the City's website.

Thanks again!

4/07/2007 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Andrew Dorian said...

Len - I am with the MDMHOA; we will have the annual HOA meeting on the 18th of this month at sonora school, look for the signs soon. I will bring this info to the meeting for residents to take home.

See ya there!

4/07/2007 02:36:00 PM  

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