The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Zelzah Speed limit increase raises question of pedestrian safety

The Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee plans to increase the speed limit on four busy streets in the San Fernando Valley, including one near CSUN. This decision was not well received by local residents, activists and CSUN students who fear
the measure would add to the recent wave of pedestrian injuries due to accidents.

Zelzah Avenue, a street that sees a lot of pedestrian and cyclist traffic due to the several schools and churches located there, will see a five mph increase in two sections. In the past seven months there have been seven accidents involving pedestrians, two of which resulted in fatalities.

Some students say that the 30-35 mph speed increase between Rinaldi Street and San Fernando Mission Boulevard would exacerbate the problem.

‘I would think that there would be more accidents with pedestrians involved,’ said mechanical engineer Bryan Zubiate, who blames careless drivers more than the speed limit for the accidents.

The state requires speed limit reviews every seven years and law enforcement officials must recommend limits within five mph of the average speed 85 percent of motorists drive on a regular basis.

City officials are asking state legislators for broader control, allowing for some exceptions given the amount of pedestrians and vehicles in the area. Northridge currently falls under the City of Los Angeles’ jurisdiction.

Glenn Bailey, chair of the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, opposes the speed, increase because the heavy pedestrian and cyclist activity added to the motorists speeding could cause problems.

Bailey said via email that he believed the ‘increase should be denied or at least sent back to the Department of Transportation for further study, including a requirement consult with all the affected educational institutions and local neighborhood councils.’

An engineering report was conducted to determine the appropriate speed limit that would give law officials the right to enforce thelimit with radar guns. This was seen as a necessary step towards enforcing the roadways’ speed limit.

‘It’s good (since) it will let people know that they will be ticketed,’ said Conor Landsdale, CSUN Associated Students senator and appointed member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council. Landsdale said that the ticketing could be used to deter speeders, but doesn’t agree with the speed limit change.

There are a few students however, who don’t mind the change or believe it will have little effect.

‘I don’t think it would make a difference at all,’ said vocal performance major Sean McCormac. He occasionally travels down Zelzah and doesn’t feel the change will worsen anything.

Steve Patel, President of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, says that there are other options to circumvent the speed limit increase and prevent accidents from occurring around CSUN.

He and others have drafted a formal mention against the move to boost Zelzah’s speed limit. As an alternative, Patel figured that crossing lights similar to the ones across from Northridge Academy High School or other signals would be beneficial in helping motorists notice pedestrians.

While it is uncertain what caused most of the deadly accidents near CSUN, Patel says that the issue must be addressed.

‘We need to educate everybody,’ Patel said. ‘It’s not just the drivers. We need to put in other safety measures.’

Patel and Landsdale were part of a council meeting Wednesday that discussed the speed proposal and other solutions for it.

The CSUN Police Department patrols streets surrounding the campus and through programs such as Project P.E.D. (Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Deterrence) seeks to help minimize the number of pedestrian accidents, according to a recent Sundial article released at the end of March.

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