At tonight’s Public Safety Commission meeting, Richard Garland from West Hollywood’s Engineering Division shared critical updates about the Traffic Speed Zone Survey, a state-mandated study that must be conducted every seven years.
The intent behind this survey is to ensure that the posted speed limits on various streets are justifiable. It’s an essential aspect of law enforcement as it allows the use of radar for speed monitoring. If the city fails to update this survey within seven years, individuals who are ticketed for speeding have a legal basis to challenge those citations, potentially getting them voided. The last time West Hollywood updated this data was in 2016, and the current survey is aimed at keeping the city within that seven-year window of compliance.
Garland elaborated that the preliminary findings from the survey suggest that most of the streets, 22 out of the 24 segments surveyed, have appropriate speed limits. Speed limits are determined based on the 85th percentile speed, which is a measure showing that 85% of drivers go below a certain speed while 15% go above. This is in line with state guidelines.
However, two significant changes were noted. The speed limits on Fairfax Avenue, spanning from the North City limit to the South City limit, and Fountain Avenue between La Cienega and Fairfax, are recommended to be lowered from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour. City Council will certify these changes if they are approved.
During the Q&A session with the commission, specific concerns were raised about Fountain Avenue, known for its speeding issues. Vehicles tend to accelerate where the road changes from a single lane to a dual lane. Garland addressed these concerns by pointing out that the state’s stringent guidelines govern the setting of these speed limits. Starting from July of the next year, these guidelines will offer cities more flexibility, allowing for potentially lower speed limits.
Another question was raised about North Doheny Drive, particularly the stretch between Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset. Garland confirmed that the current speed limit of 35 mph on this segment was appropriate, based on the 85th percentile speed.