City: Susan Street isn't a big safety concern

Though some neighbors would argue otherwise, the street where a Costa Mesa teenager crashed his car and died is not a major safety concern for the city, officials said this week.

The nearly half-mile stretch of Susan Street between the 405 Freeway and Sunflower Avenue is not considered a "problem area," Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz wrote in an email.

"While the city has received traffic complaints on Susan Street in the past, they have been primarily associated with truck traffic," he said. "The city has taken measures, such as restricting truck travel in the northbound direction between South Coast Drive and Sunflower Avenue between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and prohibiting truck travel in the southbound direction at all times."

On June 16, Luis Adrian Torres, 19, crashed his 1990 Jaguar XJ-6 into a tree on Susan Street near Sunflower next to the Providence Park tract, according to police, who say he may have been going too fast.

Providence Park resident Marshall Krupp, who was one of the first people at the crash scene, said the street is hazardous.

"I have been dealing with the city for seven years now with regards to Susan Street and the excess speed that's taking place, the truck activity, the violation of the truck directional signs and the speed limit signs," said Krupp, who made an unsuccessful bid for City Council last year.

He contended that safety decreased on the street after the opening of the Susan Street offramp from the 405 in late 2007. He spoke about the issue during the June 18 council meeting and previously said he would take the issue to the nation's capital if he had to.

Munoz said in an email that "speed surveys were conducted to establish the currently posted speed limits, and there has not been any significant issues with the current speed limit of 35 mph that was established based on the results of the surveys."

The city wants a radar sign that displays the speeds of passing vehicles but it has not yet received requested state funding.

"We are currently examining possible sources to fund the installation of this sign in the upcoming fiscal year," Munoz said.

Providence Park, a gated community of high-end homes, is less than a decade old, and homes sold quickly after construction was completed in the section of town largely dotted with business parks, including the Auto Club of Southern California.

The land had been bean fields until the 1990s, when it was cleared for development, according to the Costa Mesa Historical Society.

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