Traffic Calming Initiative
Updates on the effort to reduce the volume, speed and recklessness of commuters through the neighborhood.
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Neighbors are asking the City to review the volume of traffic generated in the area by Saint Augustine High School activities.
In The News
March 19th, 2023
Another crash at 33rd and Upas. Speeding driver heading to the 805 crashed into a parked car. It was the third time this resident has had his vehicle hit.
Councilmember Whitburn's office confirmed that they are in regular touch with the Street Division regarding scheduling for the installation of the approved road humps and we should have them installed in the next 90 days.
February 7th, 2023:
The street has been marked by the Transportation Department for the new Road Humps! The work order has been placed and the humps will be installed in the next 60 - 90 days.
The Transportation Department is still evaluting Thorn and Bancroft for a 4-way stop but has not yet been able to retrieve the SDPD records of the recent crashes there, which are necessary for their review.
January 13th, 2023
A Saint Augustine family was involved in a crash with another driver at Bancroft and Thorn. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Also thankfully, the Transportation Departement is reevaluating this intersection for a 4-way stop after several crashes in the last couple of months at this exact location. Previously, our request for a 4-way stop here was denied because the intersection didn't qualify, at the time.
December 9th, 2022:
Yesterday morning, a Saint Augustine High School student made an illegal u-turn on Thorn Street and crashed into an Altadena resident. Thankfully there were no major injuries, however the resident's car was totaled.
The school regularly educates their community to drive safely through our area, however, as we all experience, speeding and reckless driving is still a daily occurrence among a small portion of students and parents. That is the reason we believe physical infrastructure is the only solution to slow down reckless drivers, Saints and otherwise, in our community.
November 30th, 2022
Speed bumps for 33rd Street are *officially* approved by the city. Emergency-friendly "road humps" will be installed on 33rd Street between Upas and Nutmeg to address reckless and speeding driving. This is the first phase of our continued efforts at community-wide traffic calming and the Transportation Department has committed to re-measuring traffic patterns on neighboring Felton and Bancroft Streets to monitor for traffic diversion. If an increase in traffic is noted on neighboring streets, those streets will become eligible for speed bumps, as well.
There cannot be enough said for Councilmember Whitburn's relentless support for this project and specifically his staff liason to our community, Ryan Darsey. They made a commitment to us, stuck with it and are seeing it through to material, meaningful infrastructure.
Next up: 4-way stop at Bancroft and Redwood, reduced speed limit on Redwood, and continued monitoring of traffic patters in the community after the new speed bumps are installed.
October 10th, 2022:
In a huge milestone achievement for our community, Councilmember Whitburn outlined specific traffic calming measures for Altadena in his FY'24 Budget Priorities Memo. This is the strong work of Ryan Darsey identifying solutions by working closely with our community and Councilmember Whitburn prioriziting those solutions, in writing, in his budget request for D3. In addition to new 4-way stops, budget is being requested for speed humps and lowering speed limits throughout the area to slow down reckless drivers and create a sense of safety and wellbeing for residents.
Thse are still just requests but we will work closely with the Councilmember's office to ensure these projects are funded!
September 30th, 2022
As many have noticed, the Transportation Department fullfilled their commitment and stop signs are now isntalled on Redwood at 33rd Street, turning the intersection into a 4-way stop. Residents have reported that the intersection is much safter now, especially for pedestrians crossing Redwood, and much more orderly for cars. Huge win for safety! The Transportation Department also ordered crosswalks.
The Transportation Department also installed traffic strips all around the neighborhood for several days and is completing a new traffic survey that will help inform the plan as we continue to work with Councilmember Whitburn's office on the area-wide traffic calming project.
Another crash occured this week, this time on 33rd Street between Thorn and Redwood. A resident was pulling out of their driveway when they were hit by a driver traveling to Saints to drop off a student.
Saint Augustine leadership declined an invitation from Councilmember Whitburn's office to meet with community leaders, but expressed interest in supporting traffic calming measures.
September 11th, 2022:
Yesterday, another crash occurred in the community, this time at Bancroft and Thorn. As we're all so used to, cars traveling north / south on Bancroft can't see oncoming traffic on Thorn (or Redwood) and bleed out into the intersection. Often this ends up in honking and near misses, but sometimes it results in crashes. We specifically requested a 4-way stop at this intersection (see below), but it was denied by the Transportation Department.
Separately, Ryan Darsey last week reiterated Councilmember Whitburn's commitment to meaningful traffic calming measures to slow down speeding and reckless drivers in the area. The Councilmember's office is currently evaluating policy and political options to get much needed 4-way stops, lower speed limits and speed bumps. The Councilmember's office is also organizing a meeting between Saint Augustine High School and community leaders to explore ways the school can better collaborate with the community on traffic calming efforts.
The 4-way stop that the Transportation Department did approve, at 33rd and Redwood, has been marked and is now with the Street Division for implementation in the next 30 to 90 days!
September 1st, 2022
After nearly five months of review, the Transportation Department finally released their findings to Councilmember Whitburn's office on the Traffic Calming initiative. The findings were based on "four speed profile studies at various locations along these streets over the past two years." There was no acknowledgement of, or reference to, the nearly 300 signers and commenters of the traffic calming petition that articulated the scope of the problem in great detail.
In a big win for our work to date, some of the improvements the community requested are being recommended, however the final recommendations fell short of the compreshensive traffic calming treatment the community believes is needed to avoid a tragedy and adequately address the traffic conditions in the area.
In light of the findings, Councilmember Whitburn reiterated his full support and commitment to material traffic calming solutions that ensure the safety of residents and reduce the speed and volume of commuter traffic. We are working with the Councilmember's office to provide a response to the Transportation Department and, if necessary, pursue other means to adequately address the problem.
4-way stop at 33rd and Redwood
Reduced speed limit on Redwood from 30mph to 25mph
A commitment to conduct additional speed profile studies
4-way stops at 33rd and Thorn, Palm and Nutmeg
4 ways stops at Bancroft and Thorn, Redwood, and Palm
Reduced speed limit from 32nd to Boundary and from Upas to Nutmeg
Signage indicating commercial thru traffic is prohibited on Bancroft, 33rd and Felton
Speed bumps on Bancroft and 33rd
Blocking access to the 805 from 33rd Street
While not everything we hoped for, we're proud of what we've achieved so far and we look forward to continuing to partner with Councilmember Whitburn on this issue. Leaders in other big cities are leading the way on reducing speed limits, implementing physical infrastructure and finding creative methods to address dangerous road conditions and meet Vision Zero goals. We can be the example of modern planning here in San Diego as we work with the Councilmember further on this issue!
As always, more to follow.
August 11th, 2022:
Ryan Darsey in Councilmember Whitburn's office communicated a significant and positive update today! The Transportation Department is meeting their timeline commitment and reverting to the Councilmember within two weeks with their traffic calming recommendations for the community. They are currently assessing and organizing their data into a final evaluation.
In parallel, Saint Augustine Leadership is pursuing several initiatives within their control to help reduce traffic volume and ensure safe driving through the area. Some of the solutions currently in the works include:
- Piloting staggered morning start times on Tuesdays and Thursdays
- Launching a rideshare program
- Promoting a Safe Driving campaign for new and existing students and parents reminding everyone of the importance of driving safely through the community
- Meeting with neighborhood leaders in September to better align on safety solutions we can all work towards together
The community has worked hard to make city leaders and neighborhood stakeholders aware of the dangerous road conditions and we are thrilled to see meaningful progress towards traffic calming measures that will make those who live here, go to school here and pass through here safer. More updates to follow!
June 15th, 2022
The offices of Councilmember Whitburn and Mayor Gloria had a very constructive meeting with Saint Augustine leadership to discuss ways the school and community can work together on safe traffic initiatives. The next meeting will include members from the community to expand the communication lines on the issue.
June 2nd, 2022:
CBS 8 News took an interest in this story, with Investigative Producer Dorian Hargrove noting that he had personally covered the exact story around ten years ago. Today, they sent a news crew to speak with residents. Check out CBS 8's excellent and ongoing coverage of the Altadena North Park traffic calming initiative.
May 26th, 2022:
Councilmember Whitburn and Mayor Gloria's office have confirmed they will be meeting with Saint Augustine High School leadership soon and will share updates with the community after.
April 25th, 2022:
The community's specific requests for traffic calming measures have been summarized and sent to Councilmember Whitburn for consideration and incorporation into the Transportation Department's ongoing plan. Whitburn's office confirmed that the Transportation Department is evaluating the community's recommendations and will revert with feedback within 120 days. The community's asks included reduced speed limit, speed bumps and other measures to reduce the volume and speed of commuters through the area.
April 7th, 2022:
Thanks to the nearly 250 (and growing) signers of the Traffic Calming Petition, City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn met with members of the community in a Listen and Learn event to better understand the scope of the commuter traffic problems in order to take effective action towards appropriate traffic calming measures.
Over 50 members of the Altadena community showed up in to share their feedback in a productive and warm dialogue with Councilmember Whitburn, his staff liason to our community Ryan Darsey, and Mayor Todd Gloria's liason to our community, Khota Zaiser.
***** A good summary of the discussion can be read on this Twitter thread. Thank you Zac! *****
Below are the action items that came out of this meeting:
Councilmember Whitburn and Mayor Gloria’s offices agree that the traffic problems in our community are longstanding, “unique” and need to be addressed through appropriate traffic calming measures as a matter of urgent public safety.
A multi-pronged approach will be required, and options under consideration include reduced speed limits, speed bumps, 4-way stops, roundabouts, crosswalks, red curbs at intersections to increase line of sight, implementing neighborhood parking permits, restricting heavy commercial vehicles and increasing SDPD enforcement.
Traffic calming measures will be deployed community-wide to avoid simply redirecting the existing problems from one street to another.
The Transportation Department is conducting an updated traffic study and will revert to CM Whitburn’s office with recommendations within 90 days.
CM Whitburn and Mayor Gloria’s offices will reach out to Saint Augustine leadership to facilitate dialogue between the school and the community so we can work together on practical, meaningful solutions.
The community requests/recommends that Saint Augustine:
Shuttle in students from a centralized pickup/dropoff location suitable to handle the volume of traffic created by students, staff and visitors
Provide crossing guards to manage traffic at busy intersections around the school
Implement a pickup/dropoff plan that eliminates lines of cars idling in the middle of the street and blocking residents from moving through the neighborhood
Implement a parking plan that eliminates overflow parking offsite in the neighborhood
Implement an Events plan for traffic management and parking for all school and non-school related events that use the Saint Augustine campus
Create meaningful dialogue with the community that enables consistent, productive communication moving forward
The Altadena community needs to figure out a centralized way to manage communications and updates on the traffic (and other) issues moving forward, whether through email or a platform that will keep us organized (i.e. this website).
March 16th , 2022
The Petition has gained over 200 signers and was resubmitted to Saint Augustine High School leadership, Councilmember Whitburn's office, SDPD and Mayor Todd Gloria's office.
Councilmember Whitburn's office coordinated an enforcement action with SDPD and over a two week period several motorcycle and patrol officers from SDPD ticketed drivers in the area for ignoring stop signs and speeding.
March 3rd, 2022
The petition has gained 150 signers and was submitted to Saint Augustine High School leadership, Councilmember Whitburn's office, SDPD and Mayor Todd Gloria's office.
Councilmember Whitburn's office committed to working with the community on meaningful solutions and Mayor Gloria's office is "supportive of Councilmember Whitburn's efforts to increase the safety of this neighborhood and ensure we implement effective traffic calming measures."
February 19th, 2022
A petition was created in the community to ask the City to address the volume, speed and recklessness of commuters driving through the area.
This process started in February, 2022, when Ryan Darsey in Coucilmember Whitburn’s office accepted an invitation to observe the daily Saint Augustine High School exodus from our neighborhood. That afternoon, we watched the usual speeding and running of stop signs as students and parents raced out of the area. We also watched as one car full of Saints students circled the block a few times with a student standing from the backseat through the sunroof firing a nerf pellet gun at things as they drove around. It was a stark analogy of the disrespectful and sometimes reckless way our community is treated by both Saints-affiliated and non-Saints affiliated commuters.
To be clear: issues associated with Saints commuters are only half the story. We are also bombarded by commercial traffic and other commuters using our small streets to access the 805. These streets were built one hundred years ago, long before the freeway cut through the neighborhood, at a time when cars were smaller and slower, and of course when the volume of vehicles was a fraction of a fraction compared to the relentless flow we deal with on a daily basis now. More background on the unique reasons causing this commuter chaos here.
As a result of the mismatch in street infrastructure available (or more to the point, not available) to handle the current traffic patterns, and as documented in the online petition, our community routinely suffers sideswipings of parked cars, near misses with pedestrians, constant honking from drivers tangled in intersections, pets killed, and children forbidden from walking to McKinley Elementary or playing in their front yards due to the dangerous conditions. Just recently, on Saturday, April 2nd, a driver plowed into a parked car on 32nd and Redwood, rendering both vehicles inoperable. What if the parked car hadn’t been there and the reckless driver veered onto the sidewalk instead, killing a pedestrian?
Long time residents have shared that these issues have been brought to the city’s attention and to Saint Augustine leadership’s attention for over two decades. Toni Atkins worked on this issue when she represented our district on the city council, as did now Mayor Todd Gloria when he represented this district. We can no longer afford to defer action on this issue, and it is our sincere belief that Councilmember Whitburn understands the severity of the problems and the need to act urgently on traffic calming measures that will avoid a horrific tragedy and restore a sense of wellbeing in our community. As density in North Park increases and traffic fatalities are on the rise nationally, and locally, it’s imperative that meaningful action is taken now to mitigate the volume, speed and recklessness of commuters through this neighborhood.
For those of us who unfortunately know first-hand the devastation of losing a loved one to a reckless driver, this is personal. We don’t want that to happen to anyone in this neighborhood. The commenters in the petition were unified in voicing the warning that a tragedy is imminent in our community unless actions are taken to address the hurried commuter who has no regard for the safety of the people who live here and can only be forced to slow down through appropriate traffic calming measures such as four way stops, slower speed limits, speed bumps, and much, much needed crosswalks.