For Manhattan Beach residents, asking the city to implement increased traffic safety measures is a lot like shouting “Give me water!” into a well. The words bounce around, hit the other end, and then come back at them. But they never get what they want.

Manhattan Beach Community Group has been pushing an ever-expanding set of proposals for years. The other neighborhood civic – Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association – has a similar set of proposals. And the Community Board and locally elected pick up on the demands and relay them to city officials. But in the end, all they ever hear is each other. With the exception of the planters – a rather minor improvement – the city has yet to deliver on any of the requests.

For the first time, MBCG has published on its website a list of all its demands for traffic safety reform neighborhood-wide. It’s addressed “To The Honorable Mayor Bloomberg – Stop the Accidents” and rattles off requests from residents for all three major avenues and several side streets.

Some highlights from the list:

  • Along Oriental Boulevard, eliminate zebra stripes and bike lanes, and add a safety lane along the median that, at corners, serves as a left turn bay. Change the speed limit to 20 mph, and make signage more prominent.
  • Add standard traffic lights on Oriental Boulevard at Ocean Avenue, Falmouth Street, Mackenzie Street, Coleridge Street and Irwin Street (which would also have a turn signal for the beach parking lot).
  • Add a crosswalk with prominent signage at Hastings Street and Oriental Boulevard.
  • Add school zone signage that reduces the speed to 15 mph during school hours.
  • Reconfigure signs on Shore Boulevard where the road curves around Exeter Street, Dover Street and Coleridge Street to make more prominent a reduced speed limit of 15 mph, and add blinking yellow lights.
  • A standard traffic signal on Shore Boulevard at Mackenzie Street, Exeter Street and Ocean Avenue, with marked crosswalks.
  • Multiple turn lanes on Shore Boulevard and West End Avenue.
  • Stop signs on Hampton Avenue at Girard Street, Exeter Street, Coleridge Street and Amherst Street
  • Speed bumps on Oxford Street and Norfolk Street.

MBCG’s plan includes several smaller proposals, and also has explanations for many of the larger improvements they suggest.

The latest traffic improvement in Manhattan Beach was the removal of the planters, which came after the group took their demands to the mayor’s office. With this list going to the same place, it’s a matter of time before we see if they’re shouting into another well or actually pulling up a bucket of water.

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  • BrooklynBus

    Some of their recommendations make sense particularly the ones regarding improved signage and painting of more crosswalks.

    Many others are just ridiculous like lowering speed limits. We don’t need lower speed limits. We need people to obey existing speed limits. Did I miss requests for more enforcement on their list? What about the request by Lost in Service for reducing ASP regulations to 1 1/2 hours one day a week so Kingsborough students wouldn’t race to get parking spots? Sounds like a good idea to me. Why didn’t they include that one? They must have seen it since they were reading that discussion.

    Instead they focus on more traffic lights which in my opinion could cause even more accidents as cars try to race to get through a yellow light or have to slam on their brakes to stop in time, not to mention the increased traffic and pollution that will result.

    They want a traffic light at Irwin Street to regularly have to turn red when no one has to cross the street and no cars have to leave the parking lot. What is the sense in that, to have everyone have to come to a stop for 30 seconds for no reason at all? Cars can still race between traffic lights. Will they then ask for one at every intersection?

    Lower speed limits will not mean that people will travel slower. It will cause even more impatience and cars driving around other cars in order to pass. They will do this if there are zebra stripes or a left turn lane. Try this experiment. Drive along Oriental Boulevard at 30 mph and count the number of cars illegally passing you. Then drive again at 20 mph. I guarantee more cars will be going around to pass you if you are doing 20, than if you are doing 30.

    These people are not traffic experts and only represent a very small portion of Manhattan Beach, only several hundred homeowners and their families. Most people just want the speeding to stop. They don’t want a lower speed limit. Few drivers would listen and many would be ticketed should the police ever decide to enforce it.

    Part of the problem why people don’t listen to speed limits currently is that they are unrealistically too low in many areas. In a rural area, if the limit is 25 mph around a turn, there is a high likelihood you will not be able to make the turn at 30 or above. The Exeter Street turn along Shore Boulevard can be made safely at 30 mph and the current limit is 25. Why would lowering it to 15 cause someone to drive slower? They would just ignore it. Show me one person who drives at the work speed limit on the Belt Parkway of 35 mph. Everyone does at least 40 and most do 50. Unrealistic low speed limits only accomplish one thing. Higher revenues for municipalities when summonses are issued, since the amount of the fine is related to the number of miles over the limit you are driving.

    • BrooklynBus

      Correction to my previous post: Curve at Exeter Street currently has a 15 mph speed limit. (I thought it was higher.) The MBCG recommends adding another sign. I have no problem with that and also support their recommendations to move the bike lane and get rid of the zebra stripes.

      They failed to include a recommendation to groove the pavement before and around the Exeter Street curve. I think this could help to “wake up” drivers that may be going too fast. I suggested this before.