Culver Crest Neighborhood does not support Ranch/Kelmore/Overland project

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The following warning notice was submitted twice to the Culver City Council before it has the opportunity to vote on the Kelmore/Ranch/Overland Project. This Warning Notice was also sent to the California Department of Transportation requesting an investigation because of identified irregularities. 

On Aug. 9, the Council voted unanimously for the plan as submitted by the Public Works Department with full knowledge of the identified statutory violations included in the above stated Warning Notice.

Based upon the articles published in your newspaper and other forums, individual citizens as well as citizens groups throughout our City have been having the same problem with this Council. 

It is evident that that this Council is not only willing to “overlook” prevailing statutory provisions that constrains/forbids their modus operandi (American for disability Act, Freedom of Information Act, The Brown Act, etc) but shows a reckless disregard for the electoral in general. Consequently, if we want to preserve our City, perhaps we need to expand the recall effort in progress from 2 seats to 5 seats and the call for an investigation requested by one of our citizens should be expanded to a comprehensive City Hall investigation in order to ascertain what are the interests behind our governmental body modus operandi and who is benefitting from it.

Thank you for all you are doing for our community.

You are about to have the opportunity to vote on the Culver City 4/27/21 Conceptual Plan. The purpose of this memorandum is to notify you that the Culver Crest Neighborhood Watch does not support it. We sent you contemporaneous written input, also submitted to the PWD as the project was being considered with the appearance of consultation with us. After the outcome of the 4/27/21 Mobility/Traffic Parking Subcommittee meeting and upon analyzing the partial release of the City Grant Proposal, our opposition became irrevocable.

The rationale for our decision is summarized under the following criteria: PROCESS, SAFETY, and LIABILITY

PROCESS:

Contrary to what the city alleges, the events/meetings that took place “beginning in 2017 and leading up to the June 2020 adoption of the new Action Plan” (Cover Letter to the CTC, p.1, last paragraph of grant proposal) before the grant was submitted, as well as the events/meetings that took place before the development of the original Conceptual Plan, lacked our input. We, the Culver Crest, the area most detrimentally affected by the City Conceptual Plan, had not been informed about it until the City sent us a notice for the Jan. 14 meeting.

First, as stated in our Jan. 7 memorandum, we regretted “that this matter was brought to our attention on Jan. 4 and given less than two weeks to respond to it almost a year from the Feb. 18, 2020 draft date, and that the City chose to do it in the midst of a pandemic, which places further constraints on our ability to issue a timely and informed collective response.”

Nevertheless, we called an emergency meeting of our Neighborhood Watch and 12 residents from the Crest met on site to discuss the proposal in detail. Initially, we though, because of lack of information from the City Notices, we thought that this project had to do with the long standing problem of the high speed drivers coming down Ranch, regardless of the 20 mile per hour advisory speed limit. 

Soon, it became evident that there was more to it, and we issued a Freedom of Information Request that included the original grant proposal, traffic report, and all other documents related to the project. Please refer to our Jan. 7 memorandum.

Secondly, for the March 4 public input meeting, we were given a three day notice. Nevertheless, we offered oral input, as well as technical and non-technical written reports for the January and March meetings, as well as for the April 27 Mobility/Traffic/Parking Subcommittee meeting for which no public notice was issued. 

We have not received any acknowledgement from any of the council members.

SAFETY:

The City in its proposal, Part B, Overland-Kelmore-Ranch Intersection, third paragraph states: “The primary purpose of this project is to increase public safety at this difficult and confusing intersection.” 

On Part B, page 1 under (2), the City states: “Within the past five years, two pedestrian and one bicyclist have been injured while traversing the intersection. This segment of Overland is included in the City’s identified “High-Injury Network.” It was requesting funds for the DOT to correct two pedestrian accidents in 2015 & 2018 and one bicycle accident in 2015 which is also mentioned in A2, 3rd paragraph. 

However, according to the City Designer’s April 27 power point presentation (SLIDE #3) to the Mobility, Traffic and Parking subcommittee, the collision Diagram showed only one (1) pedestrian reported collision and zero (0) bicycle collision; no diagram or documentation supporting the six (6) collisions and four (4) injuries from 1/1/2010 -12/31/2019; on the North/West Overland Kelmore intersection; a collision that could have been prevented if City had installed two NO-PED Crossing signs for $300.00 each.

Assuming it has been a Hot Spot/ high injury area for years, why did the City not install NO-PED Crossing signs at this intersection? What are the undisclosed facts that support the Hot Spot/High Injury label?

According to the City’s April 27 power point presentation (Slide #3) to the Mobility, Traffic and Parking Subcommittee, the only recorded pedestrian accident in the Collision Diagram was shown at the Northwest corner of Overland/ Jefferson intersection. There is no recorded accident in the last 10 years on the Kelmore/Ranch Intersection located on the east side of Overland.

Does the grant funding justify the construction of the median island for this traffic safety improvement project without the accident history? Are the reported near misses formally documented? Without knowing the exact locations, how do the City PWD’s design engineers quantify the so called “reported Near Misses” and “Improve Sense of Security”?

Regarding Grant Application Part A2, Project Description, under Desired Outcomes, 2nd bullet: “Provision of refuge area, and reduction of the crossing distance where pedestrians and cyclists are subjected to auto traffic.”

Is it the intent of the design licensed Professional Engineer (PE) to mix the bicycle traffic and the pedestrian traffic in the “Refuge Area”? Will this strategy create pedestrians and bicyclists conflict in the “Refuge Area”? Wouldn’t this create a false “sense of security” that could prove fatal? 

Regarding the street parking in front of the residence at 10775 Ranch Road: with the proposed reduction of eastbound travel lanes (from 2 to I eastbound lane), will the on-street parking rights be taken away from the residents? Will this capacity reduction strategy create traffic delay and traffic congestion on Overland during the a.m. and p.m. peak hours and beyond? 

If you are traveling North on Overland Ave and need to turn east on Ranch to reach Kelmore, do you think that it is safer to cross two lanes and 1 pedestrian walk, rather than one lane and no pedestrian walk? Would you agree that less is more where traffic mobility is concerned? Would we have more or less confusion?

How do you maneuver to avoid a collision when you are rendered boxed-in in your lane? What about not seeing a bicyclist which foreseeably will take advantage of the additional pedestrian walk? How do you protect yourself against a Ranch traffic that does not have to stop or comply with a mandatory 20 miles speed and you are trapped without wiggle room to escape? 

By reconfiguring the Kelmore/Ranch junction to allow for the establishment of this “large island” and representing to the community without proper testing; that emergency vehicles will have the same access is a travesty. 

Would you accept such reckless disregard for your life and the lives of others? Would you encounter more or less danger, more or less confusion, more or less anxiety if this project is approved? 

Section A2, 3rd paragraph of the Proposal states: “The intersection’s awkward angular merging of two streets as they approach a 4-way unsignalized intersection creates a condition where drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists are unable to anticipate the movements of others in a very closely spaced intersections zone. Two pedestrians and one bicyclist have been injured in the past five years in addition to numerous near misses.”

First, we strongly object to the characterization of “awkward angular merging of two streets. The Kelmore/Ranch intersection has a skew angle configuration. Designed to facilitate traffic flow, this type of intersection requires ample space to prevent collisions, grant speedy access to emergency vehicles, etc., all of which will be eliminated from the Ranch/Kelmore intersection to the detriment of people’s safety. 

Furthermore, the date of accidents given to the DOT is inflated; there has been one pedestrian injured in the past five years and zero bicyclist injury; which occurred on the west side of Overland. This intersection has no accident history, period. Consequently, the City’s attempt to justify the draconian modification of the Ranch/Kelmore intersection is tantamount to kicking the dog for what the cat did!

In section A2, part B, 1., 2nd paragraph, as a justification for a large island that will deprive the Kelmore/Ranch intersection of the space to function as it was designed, the city states: “A modification at the intersection will reduce uncertainty caused by the awkward angular five-legged intersection.” This is not a five legged intersection. See section VII above. This is another attempt to render the Ranch/Kelmore intersection less safe. 

However, what is needed is for the City to properly maintain the pavement marking; no maintenance has been done for the last twelve years. This is not the first time that the City has tried to introduce a gateway, monument, etc. at this location. Now, it is a large island. Every time the residents managed to block it. So…here we go again…

Don’t you think that in this high tax city, we should use the money collected to maintain the marking of the pavement? If the project has any validity, don’t you think that the DOT should have been given the right information? 

In Section A2, part B, 5. 41h paragraph the way to “de-stress” the intersection is to increase the number of pedestrian and bicyclist!

Is this the right way to “de-stress” a “key safety hot-spot”? What about adding another lane at the Kelmore/Ranch intersection to merge at Overland?

In the cover letter to the grant proposal, date 7/14/20, the City states that the primary goal is “safety” and secondly, “to experiment with bolder solution…” We strongly object to being subjected to the experiment of this ill-conceived plan unsupported by the true facts. this plan and grant merits an investigation. the safety of our residents is paramount to us.

LIABILITY:

The above represents the collective input of individuals with the expertise and commitment to the common good and wellbeing of our neighborhood in particular and the City in general. Conscious of the fact that we are indeed each others’ keepers, we are putting you on notice of what is at stake in this project and, if approved as it is, everyone that has participated in bringing to our community this dangerous activity will be held accountable for it.

Sincerely,

Culver Crest Neighborhood Watch

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Culver Crest Neighborhood does not support Ranch/Kelmore/Overland project