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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are you ready not to rumble? New traffic calming measures placed on Wardlow

Funny Slow Down - You Can't Afford Sign
Funny Slow Down - You Can't Afford Sign (Photo credits:
After numerous meetings and emails about how to slow down speeders on Wardlow from Studebaker and Claremore a number of steps were taken -- including those wildly popular "rumble strips' that shook cars and nerves and kept firefighters at Station 5 wide awake at night -- and tested. Cars did slow down but not enough.
So our wonderful team of traffic experts worked on other solutions -- including narrowing the street and placing protected bike lanes and re-engineering the signal in front of the fire station to be triggered to go to red when cars speed over sensors placed a distance away.
Below is the press release explaining the efforts. Let me know what you think.
“Operation Rest in Red” Improves Safety for School Children

A speed detection system, dubbed “Operation Rest in Red” has been installed on the 7500 block of East Wardlow Road to calm traffic between Studebaker Road and Claremore Avenue West.  Drivers have been known to speed along this 6,000 foot stretch of roadway despite the City’s best efforts to compel compliance with the 45 mile per hour speed limit.

"The City of Long Beach looks at ways to improve all of our City streets," says Mayor Bob Foster.  "In this instance, traffic signal changes to improve safety for commuters, cyclists, and pedestrians along Wardlow Road made the most sense."

Traffic engineering changes were initiated earlier this year by the closure of Newcomb Elementary School.  This closure has impacted traffic patterns in the neighborhood.  Children who previously attended Newcomb Elementary must now travel 1.5 miles westbound towards Keller Elementary; Wardlow Road serves at the main connection between these two school locations.

To make roadway conditions safer for all commuters, the City has widened existing bicycle lanes and added roadway separations.  Long Beach also piloted the use of bots dots along the 6,000 foot section of Wardlow Road to slow vehicle traffic; but this traffic control mechanism produced only marginal results, and the bots dots were removed.

Seeing the need to use a different traffic engineering technique, the City recently installed a speed detection system along Wardlow Road.  Traffic results have been positive since the implementation of “Operation Rest in Red” at this location.  Drivers are slowing down as they approach the existing traffic signal in front of Fire Station 5, and maintaining slower speeds as they drive past Newcomb Elementary and approach the neighborhood intersection at Claremore Avenue West and Wardlow Road.

“These traffic changes improve safety in our community,” says 5th District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske.  “It’s important for all of us to observe speed limits, and using the traffic signal at Fire Station 5 to slow drivers down has been a good change for our neighborhoods.”

“Operation Rest in Red” is an established traffic control mechanism.  It uses motion detection, in conjunction with traffic signal changes to influence the speed of traffic.  On Wardlow Road, the signal at Fire Station 5 “rests” in red, while a motion sensor detects approaching vehicles.  If the vehicle is speeding, the traffic signal will remain red and the vehicle must stop before the light turns green.  If the vehicle is not speeding, then the light will turn from red to green, and allow the vehicle to continue.

For more information on “Operation Rest in Red”, please contact the City’s Traffic Engineer at 562.570.6331.
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