Traffic Engineering


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OPERATIONS

Traffic Signal Operations

traffic-operations-2015Currently, the City of Pasadena Department of Transportation (DOT) operates over 340 traffic signals in its Transportation Management Center (TMC) via a highly sophisticated Traffic Control System (TCS) that automates and adapts to all motorized and none-motorized moving traffic occurring within city streets thus providing the most logical and efficient mobility strategies 24-hours a day to maintain the City’s traffic signal network.

The TMC is equipped with an extensive fiber optics communication system that allows City staff to view traffic operations at key locations. Thus, allowing the system to adapt and modify traffic operation plans as necessary to facilitate the needs traffic flow demands. The TMC’s Traffic Control System and the Special Events Unit of the Pasadena Police Department share the responsibility of managing transportation mobility during all Rose Bowl Stadium and city street events.

Importance of Traffic Signals

Traffic signals have become a valuable tool for ensuring traffic flow throughout the community. All of the traffic signals in the city are programmed to operate in a “synchronized” operation with adjacent traffic signals in order to allow continuous flow of several traffic signals within a “street segment” or corridor. As such, motorists driving at the posted speed limit will see the correct sequence of “green” indication as every signalized intersection is approached, providing continuous flow through a designated street segment.The following are two main types of signalized intersection operations within the City:
Fully-Actuated operation: signalized intersection that is outfitted with vehicular detection capabilities which exist within the City signalized intersections in the form of roadway, radar or video sensors. These sensors detect the presence of vehicles and allow the traffic signal computer to assign amount of “green” time based on demand at the intersection.

Pre-timed operations: signalized intersections that are not out-fitted with vehicular detection systems and are programmed to have “green” times based on historical vehicular movement data. This data referred to as “traffic counts” are updated frequently in order to have traffic plans that offer the most efficient “green time” splits at a signalized intersection.

The goal of the Traffic Engineering Operations team is to provide the most comfortable ride as possible by getting the greatest number of vehicles through the roadway segment with the fewest stops. It would be ideal if every driver could drive without stopping from their origin to their destination. But, reality is the City of Pasadena enjoys a world class destination status which brings among other things a high vehicular count that adds to the mobility complexities of city’s every day and already busy roadways and free flow is just not possible even with the most intricate well-designed systems.

However, the City of Pasadena DOT, is always investing in new technologies and methods to enhance traffic flow within its signalized street network. As well, the City’s DOT continuously works with the County of Los Angeles and the State of California (CALTRANS) to incorporate newfound technologies or techniques that would assist make the City’s boundaries flow as efficient as it is possible.

Traffic Signal Safety
The California Vehicle Code provides detailed explanations for traffic signal color indications and a brief summary is below:

Flashing Red Indication

According to the California Vehicle Code, when a red lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent red flashes, a driver shall stop before entering the intersection and proceed according to rules established at a 4-way stop controlled intersection.
flashing-yellow

Flashing Yellow Indication

Driving motorists stopped at left turning lanes at some intersections in the city may see the sign on the left, next to the signal head.    The sign indicates a “Flashing Yellow Arrow” operation (FYA) occurs at the intersection.   When the FYA operation is in effect, left turning motorist will see the yellow arrow indication in a flashing mode, which allow the left turning movement on a permissive mode or proceed when safe by “yielding to opposing traffic.”   This operation is beneficial in that it reduces “wait” time by allowing left turning vehicles to turn permissibly for a longer time than a conventional solid green/yellow arrow sequence.   The FYA mode begins by displaying a flashing yellow arrow and will follow by the required solid yellow arrow before displaying the solid red, concluding the left turn movement.

Traffic Control Officers

Any time a peace officer is directing traffic, motorists must obey the officer regardless of the indication of the traffic signal.

Traffic Signal Blackout or “Dark” Signals

When traffic signals at an intersection are not operating due to a power failure, all drivers must stop before proceeding through the intersection and follow the same rules as a 4-way stop controlled intersection.

signal-headTraffic Signal Equipment

Traffic Signals consist of the following main components:

• Traffic Signal Controller (computer)
• Signal Heads (typically with red, yellow and green faces)
• Vehicle Detectors (equipped at most signalized intersections)
vehicle-detector

Traffic Signal Controller (computer)

The traffic signal controller is the means of changing the signal indications and consists of computer controls that operate selection and timing of traffic movements in accordance to pre-programmed sequences and vehicle detection.

Signal Heads

A signal head consists of one or more signal faces that can include solid red, yellow or green lights and faces with turn arrows using one or more of the same colors.

Vehicle Detectors

The City of Pasadena uses a combination of in-pavement loops (wired system embedded in the roadway) video and radar to detect vehicles in the intersection to determine whether a vehicle is present.

tattletell-deviceRed Light Running and Traffic Enforcement (Tattletale devices)

Unfortunately, there are drivers who tend to push the limit on “making” the traffic signal by running red lights and thereby causing a danger to others that may be entering the intersection. Red-light running is a serious safety issue across the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts 2008 Report, there were more than 2.3 million reported intersection-related crashes, resulting in more than 7,770 fatalities and approximately 733,000 injury crashes. For this reason, the busiest signalized intersections in the City of Pasadena are equipped with special devices to assist the police department in citing red light violation motorists. The DOT and the Pasadena Police Department (PPD) review the high accident location, as generated by a city-wide traffic collision database, almost monthly in order to address vehicular accident history within city streets. For locations showing an increase in collisions deemed caused by red light violation, the DOT and PPD assign locations to be outfitted with a “specialty blue light indication” that is set such that a PPD officer can use to clearly determine a vehicle that has violated the red light indication at a traffic signal. This method, in combination with other traffic engineering methods is part of the City of Pasadena red light violation program and it strives to eradicate this serious type vehicular accidents.

Traffic Volumes

Traffic Volume Counts

The City of Pasadena has a longstanding interest in protecting neighborhoods from cut-through traffic and speeding vehicles. As early as the 1980’s, the City authorized installation of speed humps to slow traffic in residential areas. Today, almost 400 of these traffic management devices have been installed along with many other traffic management measures.

Traffic counts are conducted throughout the City of Pasadena either through resident requests, development projects, specific and general plans, or engineering studies. The Department of Transportation has collected these traffic counts and made them available to the public through the use of a Traffic Count Database.

Current traffic counts can be found using this interactive map and interface. Intersections can be searched by name or though the map interface. The Traffic Count Database System (TCDS) provides 24-hour approach counts. The Turning Movement Counts (TMC) tab provides turning movement counts for peak hours at intersections. On the map, approach counts are identified as blue squares and turning movement counts are identified as blue circles or traffic signal icons (if the intersection is controlled by a traffic signal)

traffic-volume-map

Citywide Traffic Volume Map Year 2013 to 2017 – PDF

Temporary Traffic Control

Special Events

The Pasadena Department of Transportation (PDOT) works closely with other City departments to minimize the impact to city streets. Certain events may require lane or complete street closures of a vital corridor in the City. The City works with the event organizer to create transportation management plans. Major transportation management plans include, but not limited to temporary traffic control, traffic advisories, and traffic signal timing modifications.

Construction Zones

Moving traffic around construction zones is a high priority for city of Pasadena Department of Transportation. To ensure adequate traffic flow while helping maintain safety and efficiency at major construction sites, PDOT may require a transportation management plan.

Traffic Advisory

Welcome to the on-line traffic advisory for major construction in Pasadena. Please visit this web page often during times of construction activity affecting your commute. The on-line traffic advisory page will include the scope of the construction project, geographical limits and impact to traffic.

View Larger Map

Truck Routes
The are designated truck routes in the City of Pasadena for vehicles exceeding a gross weight of 6000 pounds.

VIEW TRUCK ROUTES

INVESTIGATIONS

Traffic investigations are initiated when a request is submitted or received. Some types of investigations require field data collection, and engineering analysis, while others require a petition process. Information and data collected may include speed data, volume data, accident history data, and a review of existing field conditions.

Contact the Citizen Service Center for any parking, transit, & traffic related questions or problems: 626-744-7311 or submit a request online.

Parking

Preferential Permit Parking/Residential – Resident Exempt “T District” NEW!
For additional information about the T District parking program, please click (here).Preferential Permit Parking Districts

Parking Restrictions: Commercial & Business areas – New, Modify Existing

There may be a need to install, modify, or remove parking restrictions along a block to accommodate the needs of the business or residential community, and as part of this investigation process, a petition is required to be circulated to those affected.

Stop Signs

STOP signs formally notify drivers of a required stop that other drivers must make and yield the right of way to for intersecting traffic.Motorists facing a STOP sign are required to stop at the marked stop line (or before entering a crosswalk or encroaching into an intersection, if a stop line is not painted). California Vehicle Code 21802 then requires the driver to yield the right of way to any vehicle within the intersection or approaching it so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard. Drivers are also to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the intersection’s crosswalks.

STOP signs are not used simply to control the speed of vehicles. Research has shown that STOP signs are not as effective in reducing vehicle speeds as traffic calming measures and placing signs where they do not meet warrants can result in higher speeds between intersections.
The Pasadena Department of Transportation (1) conducts an investigation of traffic conditions at an intersection and (2) performs a warrant analysis of the data to determine whether an installation of STOP signs is necessary based on the state guidelines established in the traffic manual. Factors that are taken into consideration for the warrant analysis include, but are not limited to:

  • Traffic volumes (vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists)
  • Visibility at intersection
  • Type of area (residential, business, recreational, etc.)
  • Collision history
  • Distance from other traffic control devices
  • Proximity to a school

How to Request an Investigation for Additional STOP Signs

Contact the Citizen Service Center for any parking, transit, & traffic related questions or problems: 626-744-7311 or submit a request online.

Speed Limits

All Cities base their speed regulations on the Basic Speed Law (California Vehicle Code 22350). Local authorities have the authority to establish speed limits on the basis of an engineering and traffic survey. (CVC 22358) All streets that are not classified as “local” street require an engineering and traffic survey before a speed limit can be establish. All local streets have a “prima facie limit” of 25 MPH.Speed Limits Brochure – PDF

Engineering and Traffic Survey

An engineering and traffic survey is used to establish speed limits based on criteria provided in the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CAMUTCD), Chapter 2, Section 2B.13 and the California Vehicle Code. Speed surveys are conducted for streets where the prima facie speed limit would not be applicable. In these cases, the speed limits vary by characteristics of the roadway, adjacent land features, traffic collision history, and the prevailing speed of vehicles traveling on the roadway.

You may also contact the City of Pasadena Department of Transportation – Traffic Division if you have questions about how speed limits are established or to request a copy of the engineering and traffic survey for a certain street.

Driver Speed Feedback Signs

As part of the City of Pasadena’s “Arterial Speed Management Program”, the City has a program to install Electronic Speed feedback signs along certain arterials in the City. The Electronic Speed feedback signs alert motorists to let them know how fast they are driving.

Subject to funding availability, the City usually plans to install 2-4 signs annually. For the streets to qualify, the street must be an arterial or collector with documented speeding issues as evidenced by higher operating speeds above the posted speed limits. The street must meet the minimum traffic volume of at least 2,500 vehicles per day for 2 to 3 lane streets, and 5,000 vehicles per day for 4 or more lane arterial streets. It must be on a street segment with at least ¼ mile long of uninterrupted section with no traffic controls such as stop signs or traffic signals. Street segments that meet these criteria will be added to a waiting list and the sign will be installed once funding is available. If there are more qualified locations than available funding, priority will be given based on the combination of the degree of speeding, road safety records and traffic volume.

If your street did not meet these criteria, other speed management tools can be explored in the Arterial Speed Management Program.

View the Arterial Speed Management Report (PDF)

View the Speed Limit Map (PDF)

Speed Limit Radar Trailer

There are times when people don’t realize that they are driving too fast and just need to be reminded of their vehicle speed habits. The Pasadena Police Department may place the radar trailer on streets where residents and business owners call to report possible speeding issues. The trailer displays the posted speed limit then measures your speed and gives you the information by displaying it under the area indicated by “Your Speed.” The trailer provides valuable information to the driver and stores data regarding speed and time of day that can be used later by the Police Department for enforcement and safety issues and the Transportation Department for planning and safety purposes. Visit the Pasadena Police Department to learn more.

If you would like to report a speeding problem in your neighborhood, please call (626) 744-4590.

Curb Markings

Pasadena Municipal Code 10.40.120, provides an overview of standard days and times for loading zones, green zones, and white passenger loading zones.

  • Safety at Intersections/Sight distance Red Curb
  • Commercial Loading Zone – yellow zone
  • Time Limited Green Zone – green zone
  • Passenger Loading Zone – white zone

Red Zone

The most restrictive of painted curbs, red zone means no stopping, standing, or parking at any time.

Yellow Zone

Yellow means no stopping, standing or parking at any time between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. of any day except Sundays for any purpose other than the loading or unloading of passengers or materials, provided that the loading or unloading of passengers shall not consume more than 3 minutes nor the loading or unloading of materials more than 20 minutes.

Green Zone

Green means no standing or parking for longer than 15 minutes at any time between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. of any day except Sundays unless otherwise posted.”

White Zone

White means no stopping, standing or parking for any purpose, other than loading or unloading of passengers which does not exceed 3 minutes. Such restrictions shall apply every day between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. except Sundays, etc.

Traffic Signs

The Traffic Operations Division of the Department of Transportation is responsible for the review and approval of new sign installations citywide. Below are some typical signs:

  • Yellow/Orange Warning/Temporary
  • Green Guide
  • Red/Black/White Regulatory
yellow-warning
orange-warning
green-guide
red-regulatory
white-regulatory
white-regulatory-2
Crosswalks

Uncontrolled at an intersection

Per C.V.C., intersections with or without traffic control devices, are considered legal crossing points. Drivers must give right of way to pedestrians crossing at an intersection but pedestrians must also do their part in crossing in a safe manner. Investigations requesting the installation of a new crosswalk must also undergo an in depth analysis. As part of the analysis, pedestrian crossing counts are conducted as well as a field review of the proposed crossing location.

  • In the Uncontrolled crosswalk section, add the following text:
    • Factors to be considered when reviewing the possibility of installing a marked crosswalk at location that is currently unmarked include:
      • Pedestrian Volumes
      • Proximity of Crosswalk to nearest marked or controlled crosswalk
      • Proximity of Pedestrian Generators
      • Traffic Volumes
      • Traffic Speeds

School zones

Crosswalk in school zones receive special attention, due to high volumes of children that cross at these locations. Crosswalks in school zones are painted yellow to further emphasize the unique nature of these crossings. LEARN MORE

For additional information, visit the “We Make Time” school area safety outreach campaign.

LIVABLE ORANGE GROVE BOULEVARD

SAFETY

Addressing Traffic Safety in Pasadena

Public Safety Committee Presentation – May 17, 2017

School Zones

Safe Routes to School is a concept is to increase the number of children who walk or bicycle to school by funding projects that remove the barriers that currently prevent them from doing so. Those barriers include lack of infrastructure, unsafe infrastructure, lack of programs that promote walking and bicycling through education/encouragement programs for children, parents, and the community. Most SRTS projects are funded through state and/or federal grants. The City has utilized grants in the past to fund infrastructure projects as well as educational campaigns to encourage walking and biking to school. The City actively seeks grants to promote SRTS projects.

Suggested Routes to School – PDF

Crossing Guards

The City of Pasadena Crossing Guard Program is managed by the City’s Human Services Department. The role of the Department is to analyze locations where a crossing guard is requested. The City of Pasadena uses the Crossing Guard warrant found in Part 7, Chapter 7D, of the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as a tool to assist in determining is a crossing guard is warranted.

Pedestrian Responsibility

Pedestrians should always follow the safe crossing procedures when crossing the street. If a crossing guard is provided, you should wait for direction from the crossing guard when crossing in these areas.

Flashing Beacons/In-Roadway Lighted Crosswalks

Pedestrians should still use extreme care when crossing the street where flashing beacons are in place. The City has placed them at intersections that meet federal requirements for their installation. In most cases, pedestrian visibility was very difficult and the number of persons crossing the street was very high prior to the installation of the flashing lights. Drivers entering the area where a flashing beacon has been installed should proceed with extreme care, particularly looking for young people and persons traveling in wheelchairs.

Pedestrians
Walking is great exercise, and in Pasadena and there are many beautiful historic landmarks that can be seen along your journey. Through a complete streets approach to planning, design and operations, the City of Pasadena Department of Transportation is committed to maintaining a livable community in which cars are not necessary to travel within the City. A major component of this commitment is promoting walking and enhancing pedestrian safety through engineering and education.

The following timeline provides information on Pedestrian Safety Projects that have been conducted in Pasadena over the past decade. Many of the items include links to the reports or campaign material that resulted from studies or outreach efforts.

2005

SUGGESTED ROUTES TO SCHOOL

The Suggested Routes to School Program was initiated in 2005 to develop Suggested Routes to School Maps for the 18 elementary and middle schools in the Pasadena Unified School District. The maps were developed through meetings with all of the schools and surveys distributed to the students requesting information on their walking/bicycling routes to school. As a result of this program, physical improvements on the suggested routes were identified. Funding for these physical improvements was obtained through the Safe Routes to School Program and many of the recommended improvements have been implemented. These improvements include the installation of in-roadway flashing lights at crosswalks, the addition of pedestrian bulb-outs at intersections, the installation of curb ramps and sidewalk improvements at numerous locations and the upgrade of school signage at various locations.

Pasadena Suggested Routes to School Program – PDF

SAFE STRIDES AND RIDES, PHASE 1

The Safe Strides and Rides Program, Phase I, incorporated bicycle and pedestrian safety education through bicycle rodeos, helmet giveaways, and the development of a pedestrian safety video, as well as engineering treatments through the purchase of in-roadway lights for two crosswalks. The program was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2005-2006. The pedestrian safety video developed as part of this project was distributed to high schools and middle schools in Pasadena.

2006

PASADENA PEDESTRIAN PLAN

The Pedestrian Plan provides guidance to preserve the walkability of pedestrian areas, to better design and develop pedestrian-friendly projects, to better integrate pedestrian improvements into street maintenance and traffic management programs, and to implement public education and enforcement programs that improve pedestrian safety and increase levels of walking.

Visit Complete Streets to learn more about the Pedestrian Plan.

2007

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY BROCHURE

In 2007 the City developed a crosswalk safety brochure for pedestrians, which provides safety tips for pedestrians. The brochure discusses general pedestrian safety as well as specific crosswalks treatments in the City of Pasadena, such as the scramble phase diagonal crosswalks and in-roadway flashing lights.

Pedestrian Safety Brochure – PDF

2008

SAFE STRIDES AND RIDES, PHASE II

The Safe Stride and Rides Program, Phase II, provided for bicycle rodeos and helmet distribution and the development of a pedestrian safety campaign targeted for a high use pedestrian and bicyclist recreational facility, the Rose Bowl Recreational Loop. This program was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2007-2008. This program also provided for increased enforcement of red light running, aggressive driving and speeding in areas with high pedestrian activity. The program included an update to the City’s collision database software which allows city staff to further analyze collision locations based on specific characteristics, such as roadway type or intersection control type. It was this revision to the software that led the City to a better understanding of the high incidence of pedestrian related collisions at signalized intersections.

2010

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AT SIGNALIZED INTERSECTIONS PROJECT

This project included both a safety study and an outreach component. The safety study conducted through this project identified key engineering treatments to be implemented at high collision locations. The safety study and toolbox developed through this project are actively being used by the City to improve pedestrian safety at signalized intersections.

Pasadena Pedestrian Safety Report – PDF

The grant also provided funding for the “Stop B4 the Line” campaign targeted at motorists to be more aware of pedestrians at signalized intersections. The campaign was well accepted in Pasadena with the City procuring billboard space for the campaign, putting campaign ads on City bus backs and at bus shelters throughout the City. The material was also widely distributed at other events such as Walk to School Week. This program was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

http://watch4pedestrians.com/

2011

HSIP FUNDED INFRASTUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

Based on the safety recommendations identified in the Pedestrian Safety at Signalized Intersections Project, the City was successful in obtaining Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Grant funding for the design and construction of safety enhancements at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue, and at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Mountain Street. The enhancements include the construction of bulb-outs at the intersections to provide greater pedestrian visibility and a larger waiting area for pedestrians.

Before HSIP Funded Infrastructure Improvements

Before HSIP Funded Infrastructure Improvements

After HSIP Funded Infrastructure Improvements

After HSIP Funded Infrastructure Improvements

2013

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL EDUCATION AND OUTREACH

In 2012, the City was awarded Safe Routes to School funding for the development of a school area safety campaign and enforcement of speeding in school zones. The “We Make Time” campaign was developed and implemented in 2014, and allowed for direct outreach to over 500 students though assembly and classroom outreach at seven elementary schools in Pasadena.

2014

TRAFFIC SAFETY ASSESSMENT

In 2014, the City participated in “An Enforcement and Engineering Analysis of Traffic Safety Programs” with experts from the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies, to evaluate our current practices and conduct a field review of five high collision locations. This Traffic Safety Assessment included a review of both our Police Department and our Transportation Department practices and procedures, which received high marks. In addition, the multidisciplinary field review of five high collision locations identified potential safety enhancements to those intersections. Funding for potential safety enhancement for the five intersections is being actively pursued.

2015

CALIFORNIA WALKS WORKSHOP

The City recently completed a walking study with California Walks to identify potential pedestrian safety enhancements. Unlike the previous safety evaluation efforts conducted through the University of California Traffic Safety Assessment, this effort included community outreach and participation. During a community workshop, five routes were identified and walking tours were conducted with members of law enforcement, traffic engineering staff, city representatives and community members to identify potential pedestrian safety enhancements.

Biking

Designated bike lanes and Roseways can be found on many Pasadena streets. However, before you take to the streets, the the City of Pasadena encourages you to learn about safety.

CONNECT WITH BIKE SAFE PASADENA

TRAFFIC CIRCLE INFORMATION

Traffic Circles (Image)The City of Pasadena’s Department of Transportation and the Police Department installed Traffic Circles as a form of traffic control and operation at the following intersections:

  • Glenarm Street at Los Robles Avenue
  • Glenarm Street at El Molino Avenue

As part of the City’s public education program, the following information is provided regarding the right-of-way and appropriate use of the traffic circles by motorists approaching each intersection:

    • All intersections in the City of Pasadena currently controlled by a traffic circle, are STOP controlled. All motorists must stop as mandated by the State of California Vehicle Code Section 22450, pertaining to STOP REQUIREMENTS, before entering the intersection.
    • Circulation in traffic circles shall be counter-clockwise. Drivers must stay to the right to complete all turning movements. As an example, to turn “left”, drivers must first signal their intentions, stop and yield to all vehicles already in the intersection, then proceed to the right around the circle until they reach the point to exit the circle and complete their “left turn”.
    • All other traffic rules of the road still apply at these intersections.

FAQ

How Can I report a Traffic Signal Problem

Contact the Citizen Service Center for any parking, transit, & traffic related questions or problems: 626-744-7311 or submit a request online.

What is a Red Flag Parking Restriction?

In 2009, the Pasadena City Council unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Public Safety Committee to implement the proposed restrictions on parking within the urban-wildland interface (UWI) on days of extreme fire hazard, also known as Red Flag days. Visit the Pasadena Fire Department website to learn more.

Red Flag Impacted Streets – PDF

What is the preferential parking permit program?

The public is reminded that on October 27, 2014, the City Council approved the modification of the existing preferential parking permit program to include all residential streets with time limited parking as preferential parking areas effective July 1, 2015. The purpose of this modification was to provide the means for residents of streets with time limited parking to choose to be exempt from the time limits near their residences. Find out more about Preferential Parking Permits


Neighborhood Traffic FAQS

Why are there “No left turns” posted on Glenarm for certain streets and if they were removed what would happen to overall trip distribution?

The no left turn signs were installed in 1989 as part of a 60-day test that originally included South El Molino Avenue. The sign at El Molino was removed during the test period, but the signs at Euclid, Oakland and Madison were left in place Subsequently, in May of 1998, legal action against the City of Pasadena was taken by Pasadena Heritage, the South Los Robles Caucus, the Madison Heights Neighborhood Association and PRIDE II (Pasadena Residents in Defense of their Environment). This legal action was initially settled in March 1999 and finally settled in January 2007. The settlement agreement required the City to install and maintain specific traffic control devices and to modify existing traffic control devices in specific ways. The no left turn signs posted for eastbound traffic on Glenarm Street at Euclid, Oakland and Madison are required by the 1999 settlement agreement. Removal of these three signs requires that all of the parties to the settlement agreement concur with the action.

The effect of removing the signs is not entirely clear. It is expected that traffic volumes on Euclid, Oakland and Madison could increase slightly with a corresponding reduction in volumes on Marengo, Los Robles and El Molino. However, traffic patterns can be influenced by a large variety of factors and the presence of speed humps on Euclid, Oakland and Madison may limit the change in existing patterns even if the signs were removed.

Why do we have those traffic circles on Glenarm?

The traffic circles originated with the Ad Hoc Committee that was created in 1994 by the City Council to work with staff to develop a 10-year traffic management plan for Southwest Pasadena. This management plan was adopted by the City Council in late 1996 as the Southwest Traffic Study, but the traffic circles were not included as part of the adopted plan.

In May of 1998, legal action against the City of Pasadena was taken by Pasadena Heritage, the South Los Robles Caucus, the Madison Heights Neighborhood Association and PRIDE II (Pasadena Residents in Defense of their Environment). This legal action was initially settled in March 1999 and finally settled in January 2007. The settlement agreement required the City to install and maintain specific traffic control devices and to modify existing traffic control devices in specific ways. The traffic circles with stop signs on Glenarm Street are required by the 1999 settlement agreement. The settlement agreement also called for a traffic circle at Marengo that was installed, but later removed and replaced with a traffic signal for traffic safety reasons.

The traffic circles were intended to reduce the capacity of the streets by reducing the number of lanes at an intersection from 12 (in some cases) to 4. The use of stop signs (as opposed to yield signs, which are used in Modern Roundabout design) was intended to reduce speeding. Landscaped traffic circles were thought by the Ad Hoc Committee to be more consistent with the residential character of the streets.

Indications are that after an initial uptick following installation crashes are holding at levels that are lower than the pre-installation condition. The stop signs and lane reductions have had the effect of reducing speed in the immediate vicinity of the traffic circles. There have been volume reductions on the north-south streets, particularly Los Robles, but it is difficult to separate the effects of the traffic circles from other changes that occurred in San Marino that affected the amount of traffic entering/exiting the City on Los Robles.

Why isn’t there a double left turn lane from Glenarm on to the Pasadena Freeway?

In May of 1998, legal action against the City of Pasadena was taken by Pasadena Heritage, the South Los Robles Caucus, the Madison Heights Neighborhood Association and PRIDE II (Pasadena Residents in Defense of their Environment). This legal action was initially settled in March 1999 and finally settled in January 2007. The settlement agreement required the City to install and maintain specific traffic control devices and to modify existing traffic control devices in specific ways. The 2007 settlement agreement stated “City shall use its best efforts to obtain the agreement of Caltrans to eliminate one of the two existing left-turn-only lanes on westbound Glenarm Street at its intersection with Arroyo Parkway/California Route 110.” The City was able to accomplish this action as part of the rebuilding of the intersection for the Gold Line crossing. The intent of the lawsuit settlement was to make the turn from westbound Glenarm onto CA 110 less convenient and in doing so to divert CA 110 traffic onto Mobility Corridors (California and Del Mar Boulevards) to/from Arroyo Parkway.

Why do we have those islands at Los Robles and California?

In May of 1998, legal action against the City of Pasadena was taken by Pasadena Heritage, the South Los Robles Caucus, the Madison Heights Neighborhood Association and PRIDE II (Pasadena Residents in Defense of their Environment). This legal action was initially settled in March 1999 and finally settled in January 2007. The settlement agreement required the City to install and maintain specific traffic control devices and to modify existing traffic control devices in specific ways. The raised islands at Los Robles and California are required by the 2007 settlement agreement. That agreement included detailed plans for the shape and placement of the islands.

Before the installation of the islands on Los Robles, when vehicles were stopped at the stop bar and yielding to oncoming traffic before attempting to make left turns, roadway width was available for other vehicles to pass on the right side and continue their travel on Los Robles. The intent of the islands is to eliminate or reduce the chances of vehicles passing on the right side, and provide a disincentive to motorists using Los Robles in attempt to divert those trips to multi-modal corridors such as Arroyo Parkway.

How can we improve bicycle safety in our neighborhood?

The City of Pasadena’s new Bicycle Master Plan sets five major goals. One of those goals is to Increase the safety of bicycling in Pasadena. The Bicycle Master Plan proposes to take the following actions to achieve this goal.

  •  Implement planned citywide network of bikeways
  • Calm motor vehicle traffic on Pasadena streets (in 2010 a road diet was implemented on Cordova St. between Hill and Lake Ave that included the addition of new bike lanes).
  • Provide bicycle safety education in schools, at worksites, and at public venues for local cyclists. These programs should include comprehensive safety training.
  • Provide safety education for motorists to learn to interact with bicyclists
    Publish safe bicycle‐riding tips
  • Provide information on the City website regarding safe bicycle riding
  • Work with the Police Department to ensure that traffic laws are enforced and that people are educated as to traffic laws related to bicycling
  • Educate the Police Department on safe riding procedures and crash report procedures that help to better understand crash causes
  • Work with the schools to implement Safe Routes to Schools programs
  • Work with outside organizations and agencies to provide free helmets and lights to students and low‐income cyclists
  • Keep streets free of debris and potholes
Why do certain streets have speed humps?

In the 1980s, the City installed speed humps on a number of residential streets according to former policies and procedures. Since then, updated policies and procedures have been adopted by the City Council. In the latest policies and procedures for the installation of speed humps, which were adopted in 2004, street segments must meet certain criteria such as being classified as a local street in the California Road System, being 1,200 feet or longer without containing any stop signs or signals, having traffic volumes between 1,000 and 4,000 vehicles per day, and having an 85th percentile speed of greater than 33 MPH. All existing street segments that have speed humps are grandfathered in even though they may not meet the current policies and procedures for the installation of speed humps.

What can I do to get speed humps installed on my street?

A representative of a local residential street who believes the residents on their street will support the installation of speed humps may submit a request in writing to the Department of Transportation. Transportation will consult with the Police and Fire Departments in making a determination of whether the street in question is eligible for further consideration for the installation of speed humps (i.e., the street is consistent with the City Council’s policies for the installation of speed humps).

Upon determination that a street is not eligible for speed humps, the representative(s) of the street will be notified in writing and provided the reason(s) why the street is not eligible.

Upon determination that a street is eligible for further consideration, the City will send out petitions to all abutting residents. The petition will indicate that a clear majority (67% or more) in support for the installation of speed humps is necessary for the city to install the speed humps. The petition forms provided by the City will state: If there is subsequently a desire by residents to remove the speed humps, the humps will only be considered for removal after receipt of a petition from a substantial majority (67% or more) asking for the removal along with sufficient funds for the removal up to $700 per hump.

Upon determination that a clear majority (67% or more) of residents abutting the street segment are in support of the installation of speed humps, the street segment is placed on a waiting list. Speed humps are contracted out and installed on a yearly basis or whenever there are enough streets that it is cost efficient for the city to do so.

Why do we prohibit overnight parking?

A ban on overnight parking on City streets in Pasadena was first enacted in 1921 and amended in 1948 to the current time period (2:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M.) In 1971, the ban was further amended to allow for overnight permits. The City Council reviewed the ban in 1991 and 1998, but made no changes. The reasons for supporting the ban over the years include facilitating street sweeping, identifying abandoned vehicles, crime detection, encouraging off-street parking and discouraging long-term on-street parking. Citizens were most recently surveyed in 1991. Responses ran 75/25 in favor of retaining the ban in single family residential areas and 50/50 in multi-family areas.

Residents with no temporary or permanent parking available to them may apply for annual daytime or overnight on-street parking permits that allow them to park during those hours. All residents and/or visitors may also obtain overnight on-street parking permits for their vehicle or for a guest vehicle at any of the five conveniently located kiosks (TOPEKs) or online (TOPEO) at the City’s website.

How can we reduce traffic on El Molino? Los Robles? Del Mar? California? S. Lake?

To address this question, traffic volume trends were tracked on five streets in Madison Heights using traffic counts for 1989, 1999 and 2009 to provide a 20-year history of traffic volumes. The five streets included in the analysis are California, El Molino, Glenarm, Los Robles and Marengo. For the north-south streets, traffic volumes were looked at separately for the segments from California to Glenarm and south of Glenarm. For the east-west streets, volume patterns east and west of Marengo. The analysis results are shown in the following chart.

traffic-volume-chart
Chronologically, the chart includes the time period when the following changes were made to the street system:

  • 1989 – No left turn signs were added to eastbound Glenarm
  • 1994 – Marengo, Los Robles and California were converted to 3-lane streets
  • 2002 – Traffic circles and stop signs installed on Glenarm
  • 2003 – Metro Gold Line opened
  • 2007 – Islands installed on Los Robles and El Molino

The 1999 counts in the charts reflect the changes made in 1994, while the 2009 counts reflect the changes made in 2001, 2003 and 2007.

The long-term volume trends in both charts show that for the most part, the changes introduced by the 1994 Mobility Element update and 1999 lawsuit have reduced traffic volumes on these street segments from the 1989 levels and have stabilized traffic volumes over the last 10 years. The counts appear to support the following:

  • Traffic on California declined when the street was narrowed east of Lake
  • Los Robles traffic also declined after being narrowed and continues to decline on segments both north and south of Glenarm
  • Marengo is absorbing growth in traffic regardless of the number of lanes on the roadway. The traffic growth may be related to intensification of residential development on South Marengo and expansion at PUSD’s Blair Campus as much as to freeway traffic that may have diverted from California and other corridors to Del Mar and points north.
  • El Molino north of Alpine has remained stable for the 20-year period while the section south of Alpine has seen traffic growth in the last 10 years. The growth appears to be related to increases in freeway bound traffic from neighborhoods east of El Molino and south of California
  • The opening and continued growth in use of the Gold Line has stabilized north-south traffic volumes.
  • The traffic circles on Glenarm reduced traffic slightly, but overall, volumes appear to be stable over the 20-year period
Would the completion of the 710 Freeway reduce traffic in our neighborhood?

The answer to this question depends upon two main criteria: 

  1. which neighborhood one resides in and
  2. what design the freeway extension might have.

As it currently operates, the State Route 710 north stub directly connects to Pasadena/St. John at Del Mar and California. As such, traffic from the stub is highest on Pasadena/St. John and Orange Grove south of the stub. However, not all of the traffic associated with the State Route 710 corridor uses these streets. In addition, there are traffic effects from north-south spillover traffic from State Route 710 on Marengo, Los Robles, El Molino and Oak Knoll, but to a much lesser extent than on the streets adjacent to the stub. Furthermore, there is east-west traffic on the I-210 and State Route 134 Freeways through Pasadena that uses those routes between the I-605, State Route 2 and I-5 corridors. During congested periods on the freeways, some of that traffic uses Corson, Maple, Colorado and Orange Grove in Pasadena. Because the traffic effects of the 710 are widespread in Pasadena, determination of how those effects may change if State Route 710 is extended is highly dependent upon how that extension is designed and where interchanges are located.

Southern California’s regional agencies (Metro, SCAG and Caltrans) are studying alternative designs for the extension of State Route 710 between Pasadena and Alhambra and have proposed to complete the environmental documentation in 2014. The range of alternatives under consideration is sufficiently wide to preclude a definitive answer to the question of which Pasadena neighborhoods would experience changes in traffic volumes from the State Route 710 project.

See the status of the STATE ROUTE 710 NORTH EIR/EIS STUDY.