Undergrounding Seen as Safer

As a longtime resident of the Daladier Drive area of the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, I should like to express my views regarding the proposed undergrounding of the utilities.

Several months ago, I was awakened to the sound of explosions accompanied by great flashes of light. The Sheriff’s Department was called. Upon (the sheriff’s) arrival, the Fire Department was called by the sheriff, since the problem was being caused by overhead transmission lines belonging to the Southern California Edison Co. Several hours later the Edison Co. alleviated the problem. It was caused by the wires swaying in the wind and coming in contact with each other.

On other occasions, when I was an officer in the Sheriff’s Department, I observed many utility poles sheared off by vehicles. The crackling and sparking of downed lines presents a serious safety hazard. Traffic is stalled, and emergency vehicles must remain at the scene until repairs are made (sometimes many hours). The cost of tying up law enforcement and fire department vehicles is great. They are not available for other calls.


Recently I was stalled on the San Diego Freeway for many hours. It was one of the largest traffic jams in local history, caused by power lines lying across the north and south lanes of the freeway. An automobile failed to negotiate an off-ramp and sheared off a high-voltage transmission power line pole.

This type of accident is fairly common and invariably dangerous.

The city of Rancho Palos Verdes requires all new construction to place utilities underground. An ordinance was passed by the city several years ago making this type of construction mandatory.

Many other communities on the peninsula have formed improvement districts for the purpose of undergrounding utilities. Residents are uniformly pleased with the results, and, incidentally, property values have increased.

The fact that sewers exist on Daladier and Chandeleur Drive is due to some foresighted residents forming an improvement district and obtaining their construction.

On prior occasions, letters to the council were circulated. On two occasions a majority favored undergrounding of utilities. The last petition seemed to be opposed, however, by a small margin. Several of the residents refused to express an opinion, simply stating they had already petitioned in favor of undergrounding.

This last petition hardly constituted a mandate.

The mayor and the council are to be commended for following a consistent course of action in the matter of utility undergrounding. We wish to thank our elected officials for the unanimous vote of approval of the undergrounding district.

Our children and grandchildren will, I expect, thank the council and mayor for having the courage to make a serious effort to preserve the natural beauty of this splendid area, not to mention the fact that the telephone works and the lights reliably shine when they flip the switch.


Rancho Palos Verdes