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Illegal truck parking on Town Center Drive is a problem, but who should fix it?

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A delivery truck illegally parked in the median of La Cañada’s Town Center Drive, seen on Dec. 3, limits the visibility of motorists approaching a pedestrian crosswalk. Commissioners recently decided to address the issue with the plaza’s property management company.
(Courtesy of the city of La Cañada Flintridge)

Public Works and Traffic Commissioners agree there’s a pedestrian safety problem around La Cañada’s Town Center Drive due, in part, to delivery trucks parked illegally in medians outside Target and City Hall blocking the view of nearby drivers.

But a proposal put forth last month by the city to install bumper-like wheel stops in the painted medians was turned down by commissioners, who felt better options could be explored. The panel further advised plaza property manager IDS Real Estate Group should be more involved in enforcing rules and preventing accidents at the site.

Public Works Director Pat DeChellis explained his department has received numerous complaints about pedestrians nearly hit by motorists whose vision was obstructed by the delivery trucks.

“You cannot see the people crossing from Target to the parking structure or the other side of the commercial center until you get right there to the crosswalk,” DeChellis told commissioners at a Dec. 18 meeting. “It really boils down to a basic safety issue.”

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A proposal by the La Cañada Public Works Department, to place wheel stops in the painted median of Town Center Drive, was rejected by Public Works and Traffic Commissioners during a Dec. 18 meeting.
(Courtesy of the city of La Cañada Flintridge)
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While the conditional use permit for the plaza mandates Target and Home Goods store deliveries be made during off-peak hours and requires delivery schedules to be submitted to Public Works for approval, DeChellis said neither condition has been met.

“Of course, they’re making their deliveries between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., not off-peak,” he said, adding his department has yet to receive a single delivery schedule.

Public Works staff recommended the wheel stops be installed to prevent illegal parking, at the cost of about $3,000.

Some three dozen bumpers recently placed on Gould Avenue near Paradise Canyon Elementary School were removed after neighbors questioned their efficacy and visual appeal.

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Commissioners did not approve of that option.

“I think the wheel stops are a bad idea here,” said Vice Chair Edward Yu, suggesting the median stripes be removed in favor of two wide lanes with a stop sign at the crosswalk in both directions. “There’s no reason or need for a median at all, so why have it there?”

Other recommendations included placing “No Parking” pole signs inside the median, placing large planters in the center of the street and widening the sidewalks at the crosswalk to create a narrower passageway.

Commissioner Eldon Horst advised the city work with IDS Real Estate Group — who was notified of the safety issue and the commission hearing but did not respond — to devise a solution. Yu agreed.

“To me, they have not met their due diligence on managing this truck traffic,” he said. “The management … needs to put some pressure on how these facilities are operated. It’s not the city’s responsibility to address truck traffic.”

DeChellis said he’d contact the property manager and Town Center businesses, present the city’s concerns and return their input to the commission for further discussion and possible action, possibly by February.

“We’ll look into some of the other alternatives you suggested and see if we can come up with a different plan,” he said.

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