Many thanks to Mark Walcoff for helping get the word out about the problem our neighborhoods face with speeding cars (“It’s time to slow down in Glendale,” Mailbag, Tuesday).
People who complain about the measures taken to correct this growing problem — Carl Watts and Stuart Ray — (“‘Stop’ sign ‘epidemic’ is getting out of hand, Community Commentary, March 21, and “Speed bumps lead down a bad path,” Mailbag, Thursday) must live on cul-de-sacs or love to drive unreasonably fast. I live on the 1200 block of Alameda Avenue — a tree-lined residential street with a 25 mph speed limit. I see far too many cars speeding past my home at 50 mph. I even put up my own speed limit signs in the middle of the block to remind drivers of the legal limit. Unfortunately, these signs are just a blur to those who drive so quickly down our street.
Every day, I see people ignoring our stop signs. In fact, just last Friday, I saw a speeding car blowing through a stop sign at the end of our street, causing a nasty accident. It is obvious that due to his excessive speed, he missed the well-marked stop sign entirely.
In the past few years, I have done everything possible to alert the city to this major problem. In addition to having previous letters printed in this newspaper, I have exhausted every avenue within the city bureaucracy and have written to the City Council members.
When this didn’t work, I bought my own radar gun and built a website documenting our problem (http://www.makealamedasafe.com).
I was finally annoying enough to get the city to conduct a traffic survey of the 1200 block of Alameda Avenue — a feat in and of itself. Of course, the city survey backed up all of my concerns.
After getting documented evidence of the problem, did the city install the speed bumps I requested? No. Does the Glendale Police Department patrol the 1200 block of Alameda Avenue more often? No. What did the city do? They painted lines on our street. Yes, you read this correctly. They painted lines that subliminally narrow the street to drivers. Does this work? No.
I have given this “fix” six months, and I can emphatically say that these lines have changed nothing.
I personally invite every City Council member, police officer and member of the traffic and transportation section of Public Works Department of the city of Glendale to come to my house and sit in my driveway with me. I also invite speed bump haters. Come see this problem first-hand. I’ll even let you use my radar gun.
Today, I began the entire bureaucratic process over again. Sure, it will take another year to get any traction, and I will most likely have my request for speed bumps denied once again. But I will not stop until something is done to fix this problem.
To this, I offer several simple solutions to the city: Install speed bumps on the 1200 block of Alameda Avenue. This is the only permanent solution. Sure, speed bumps are annoying to drivers, but that’s the point, isn’t it?
Make the police actually patrol our street. There is a sign posted at the end of my street: “Speed checked by radar.” Unfortunately, it is not the Police Department’s radar gun, it is only mine, and I cannot issue tickets.
A police officer’s salary starts at around $5,500 per month. The fine for a ticket for driving 1 to 15 mph over the speed limit is $158. Even when calculating with this minimum fine, hiring a police officer to solve this problem pays for itself in less than 35 tickets per month.
I can guarantee that you can achieve this level of speeding violations in less than one week on Alameda Avenue alone.
Install cameras that issue tickets. If you cannot spare or hire an officer dedicated to this problem, this simple technology has worked to great effect in other cities and, again, will quickly pay for itself.
Paint better street markings. In addition to the racing stripes that now adorn my street, paint the 25 mph speed limit on the street itself. Since drivers obviously don’t see the speed limit signs as they blur by, they might see these. Until the city takes this problem seriously, this unsafe situation will continue.
So I guess we are left to wait until the accident occurs. We wait for a pedestrian to get hit by a speeding car.
We wait for an Alameda Avenue resident to pull out of their driveway and get seriously injured in a high-speed collision.
Taking the obvious moral responsibility out of the equation, what is more costly? A lawsuit after someone is killed or seriously injured or solving a problem before an accident occurs?
But when an accident does occur, and it will eventually, the city better get ready to pay because there is a public record of its negligence.
JACK MESSITT is a Glendale resident.