Wednesday’s Transportation Committee will prove a litmus test on Rosendahl’s tenure as Chairman of the Transportation Committee. Rosendahl will steer the committee in deciding whether to approve speed limit increases on Chandler, Beverly Glen, and Riverside Drive (LAist). Will Rosendahl take proactive measures to protect cyclists and pedestrians, or sweep away progress thus far and raise speeds?
A flawed definition of “speed traps” means that police cannot enforce speed limits on local “highways” ( which, in this context, essentially means big streets like Sepulveda or Santa Monica Bl) if a speed survey shows that over 15% of motorists are exceeding the speed limit. So, for example, if 20% of motorists on Venice exceed the posted limit, then speed limits must be raised or the limit cannot be enforced. On this basis, LADOT and LAPD have been pushing for speed limit increases throughout LA, particularly the valley. This motivated Paul Krekorian to introduce AB 766 to address the issue, but the legislation was defeated by pro-car lobby legislator Mike Eng, and the ever car-friendly, bike/ped-hostile California Highway Patrol.
Bill Rosendahl faces three speed limit increases coming through his committee on Wednesday. One of these, on Chandler Blvd, is along a stretch with bike lanes, and proposes to raise speeds from 35mph 45mph. What will he do? Will he reject the speed limit increases, and leave LAPD unable to enforce speed limits, exposing the vulnerable road users in Chandler’s bike lanes to racing etc? Will he support the increases, exposing those cyclists and pedestrians to high speeds, but just a little?
If these were Rosendahl’s only two choices, I wouldn’t envy him. But the fact is, his options aren’t just to approve or deny. For example, Rosendahl could seek to table the issue, join forces with Greuel, Alarcon and Krekorian and travel to Sacramento and lobby for repairing the law. He could put some political capital on the line and make his clout felt with those legislators who failed to deal with this last session.
If you ask me, we ought to ditch the whole speed trap section of the CVC – CVC 40802 – which makes it difficult to enforce speed limits.