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5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
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Long Beach California, 90815-0679
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Navy Seals, Wardlow St. Speed Issues

From Issue: Volume XX - Number 20
10/5/2012


By Les Robbins

Before it slips my mind I do want to put in a plug for an upcoming speaker at the CSULB Distinguished Speaker Series. On October 18th the featured speaker will be Admiral Eric Olson, the former commander of the Navy Seals unit who took out Bin Laden. His presentation is entitled “The World at Night.” This should be a great presentation from a man who knows what is really going on these days in a world that many of us would hope didn’t exist. Details can be found at www.distinguishedspeakerseries.com [or see the advertisement on page four].

I spend more than my share of time driving around the neighborhoods where I live. I guess it goes back to my days as the councilman in the 5th District because as a city councilman you have to be on top of everything that is going on in your district. I can tell you that few things attract a bigger crowd at a community meeting that issues dealing with traffic.

I was also chairman of the city’s Traffic & Infrastructure Committee and once during my tenure on the council we had to update the city’s traffic management plan. I can still remember the overflow crowd that showed up at city hall on the evening that the meeting was held.

In my neighborhood I know that Councilmember Schipske has been dealing with traffic issues on Wardlow Road between Studebaker and Claremore, which is a N/S street that bisects El Dorado Park Estates. There is a traffic signal there, a crossing guard, and a lot of foot traffic due to its proximity to Newcomb Academy. I can remember on many occasions attending meetings in El Dorado dealing with speeding vehicles on Wardlow Rd.

In recent months I have been trying to figure out what the heck was going on there as I have witnessed the speed limits raised, and a myriad of traffic engineering tools employed on the West side of the freeway on Wardlow Rd. Councilmember Schipske, to her credit, seems to have been very responsive to the residents who have come forward with their concerns. She has also been responsive to the firefighters who live and work at Station 5, which is on Wardlow in the middle of the park.

It seems that the closure of Newcomb Academy for remodeling has changed the foot traffic and bicycle traffic on Wardlow as kids now travel across the freeway and river bed to another school which is their temporary home for two years while Newcomb is under construction.

I had occasion to talk to her the other day about the situation as I have a little history with Wardlow myself as councilman for 10 years. She indicated to me that the state wants to raise the speed limit to an every higher number than it currently is set at, which is a higher number than it was when I was councilman 15 years ago. I admit I was befuddled until she reminded me of the California Vehicle Code section that deals with speed surveys on public roadways.

As I then began to put two and two together, so to speak, it began to hit me that the reason why the state is suggesting raising the speed limit to 50 mph is because of the fact that people now drive faster on that street than ever before making a raising of the limit, under the law, a thing that the state can do, and at the same time it prevents the city from lowering the speed limit.

Further conversation, via e-mail, between me and the councilwoman uncovered another interesting fact and that is that due to a noticeable lack of enforcement by the LBPD, the normal speeds on this street have risen. Thirty-two years in law enforcement has taught me a lot of valuable lessons and one of them is that speed limits are of little good without adequate enforcement. People will slow down if they think that there is a reasonable chance that they will be issued a very costly speeding ticket.

I know that Councilmember Schipske is also working with the traffic engineer on some interesting new traffic signal technology that may or may work. Due to the lack of staffing on our police department and its admitted inability to enforce the speed limits on Wardlow Road, the community may have to pay the price for this in the form of the highest speed limits on that street in over 50 years.

les@longbeachcomber.com