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Traffic Controls Deter Commuters in Toluca Lake

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Burbank city officials on Friday released a report indicating that traffic-control measures put in place in July after the removal of several controversial street barricades in Toluca Lake are effectively diverting commuter traffic from the residential neighborhood.

“The controls have reduced traffic volumes in the neighborhood and eased traffic speeds on Warner Boulevard and on Rose Street,” said the report by Public Works Director Ora E. Lampmann.

“Consequently, the controls have achieved the desired reduction requested by some of the area residents,” the report also said.

Officials said the average speed of vehicles traveling on Rose Street had dropped an average of 10 m.p.h. and now ranges between 15 and 25 m.p.h., while speeds on Warner Boulevard had dropped an average of 10 m.p.h. to between 20 and 25.

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They added that traffic volume on some of the main streets in the area had increased due to traffic diverters in the residential neighborhood. For example, traffic on Pass Avenue had increased by 3,000 cars per day, they said.

The report noted, however, that some residents find the several speed humps, raised-curb traffic diverters and stop signs installed at the end of July too inconvenient, causing them to take roundabout routes to their houses.

The Burbank City Council is expected to consider the report at Tuesday’s meeting to determine if additional traffic measures are needed or desired by area residents.

The council had voted previously to create permanent cul-de-sacs to block five east-west streets but wanted to test the effectiveness of the speed humps and other measures before taking further action.

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The affected neighborhood, composed mostly of single-family houses, is adjacent to the Media District, which is the headquarters for several motion picture and television studios. Several main streets around the district are used by thousands of motorists who work in the area, officials said.

The city late last year had installed several temporary wooden barricades in the neighborhood to prevent commuters from taking shortcuts. Residents had complained for years that motorists speeding through their neighborhoods were endangering children and pedestrians, and spoiling the peace of the area.

However, opponents of the barricades argued that the blockades were not needed, saying traffic was not that heavy. They feared blockades would increase the emergency response times of police and fire vehicles.

During the six months they were in place the barricades were knocked down more than 70 times by impatient motorists. Motorists also drove over lawns and driveways to get around them.

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The new measures, such as the raised-curb diverters, allow emergency vehicles to get into the neighborhood while keeping commuter traffic out. Police and fire officials said the response time to the neighborhood had not been increased by the restrictions.


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