|(July 25, 2019, 4:35 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that when LBPD responds to a non-serious/non-injury accidents, the officer may routinely collect data on a form to assist the parties involved, copies of which are given to the parties involved (since it's a civil matter) but the accident data itself isn't currently saved in LBPD's records.
LBPD Public Information Officer Shaunna Dandoy confirms that patrol officers routinely use "Exchange Cards" in responding to less serious non-injury accidents to assist the parties in gathering information but the accident data itself isn't entered in LBPD's records.
That process wouldn't normally be newsworthy, but it has become relevant in connection with LB's growing number of road-diet impacted streets. The current process effectively means that reliance by LB's traffic engineers, senior city management and LB electeds solely LBPD data for accident totals is numerically incomplete.
That data gap [our term] comes on top of another data gap (acknowledged by the City Manager in a June 22 media briefing) that results because some parties don't report minor accidents to PD at all; the drivers simply exchange information themselves without a police response.
At a July 22 media briefing, City Manager Pat West acknowledged the obvious -- one can't know accidents that one doesn't know about -- but declined to accept the veracity of accident data offered by individuals. "If it's reported to LBPD, we have it," City Mgr. West said (and Councilwoman Pearce urged constituents to report all accidents to LBPD.)
But LBPD's use of "Exchange Cards" for non-serious accidents means data on those accidents aren't preserved and LBPD doesn't have it.
[Scroll down for further.]
This may help explain the disconnect between City Hall's cited accident "decreases" and resident-attested personal experiences. Multiple neighborhood residents have said the Broadway "road diet's" design -- that put bicycle lanes alongside curbs and pushed parked cars into the roadway's narrowed lanes -- impedes drivers' views and has led to accidents. In addition, Broadway corridor business owners say the "road diet" has made customer parking even more difficult in the already-parking-scarce area, sending customers elsewhere and damaging their businesses.
This combustible combination has had political consequences. Long-time Broadway corridor resident Robert Fox (a veteran of 1980's Alamitos Beach battles over then-City Hall promoted "crackerbox" density) has blasted 2nd district Council incumbent Jeannine Pearce as inattentive and unresponsive to the problem and (to applause from already riled residents and businesses) has declared his candidacy to unseat her in March 2020.
On July 15, Mr. Fox organized a demonstration that drew between 75-100 participants. They carried signs saying the Broadway corridor road diet is unsafe and "needs to go." Mr. Fox has called City Hall offered "tweaks" insufficient and called for reconfiguring the street with public input.
Mr. Fox himself is so personally irritated at official questioning of his unofficial count of Broadway accidents that he's begun collecting affidavits (signed statements) from persons involved to attest to their veracity.
One week to the day after the Broadway corridor demonstration, at Councilwoman Pearce's request, city management held a media briefing on the matter (June 22) during which City Manager Pat West said city staff would be making tweaks (his word) to the Broadway road diet's design and will begin a "listening tour" shortly to hear more from Broadway businesses that may result in additional changes. Mr. West said that when other cities began their "road diets," it resulted in similar initial pushback...and he noted that change is sometimes difficult.
On a separate track, as LBREPORT.com reported July 24, a Peninsula Corridor Group has formed on Facebook citing problems with the "road diet" along Ocean Blvd. from Termino Ave. to 72nd Place (reaching at the eastern end of the Peninsula.) The group's Facebook page has thus far cited mainly traffic congestion, not accidents.
Citywide issues: The bollard obstructed bike lanes citywide have also required purchase least one narrow-lane street sweeper to sweep the street along the curbside bike lane. On September 24, 2017, LBREPORT.com first reported that the City had purchased a narrow street sweeper that can enter/ sweep the narrow curb-adjacent bike lanes. We learned at that time that it cost roughly $100,000 per machine and could handle bicycle lanes as ell as open areas with an expected life span of roughly seven years. LBREPORT.com also reported that LB's FY18 budget added a new salary ($83,198) for a "Motor Sweeper Operator to provide Bike Lane and Median Sweeping. The FTE [full time equivalent] is budgeted in the General Fund, but will be funded from the Gas Tax Street Improvement Fund."
LB city officials have portrayed the new narrow street sweeper as a benefit for Alamitos Beach area residents, who no longer have to move their cars before dawn in the parking scarce area to accommodate street sweeping. However multiple Broadway corridor drivers have said installing the bike lanes along the curb and pushing vehicle parking further into the roadway has blocked drivers' vision and caused accidents (instead of preventing them.)
At a June 22 media briefing (LBREPORT.com coverage here), an LBPD Commander said accidents reported to LBPD along the Broadway east-west corridor from mid-April through June 2019 show reported accidents down roughly 20% from the street's five year average. City staff acknowledges that smaller (but costly) accidents such as fender benders and the like aren't always reported to LBPD [and thus not included in its accident data.]
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