Council approves “small things” recommended by the mayor to reduce traffic

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday approved Mayor Toni Iseman’s recommendations to City Manager John Pietig to investigate and report on ways to improve circulation downtown, lessen the impacts of construction and clear holdups on the highway. 

Isman’s directions to the city manager:

*Bring to the council options on how to reduce congestion downtown due to commercial food and beverage delivery trucks, including enforcement and restrictions on times of deliveries

*Come back to the council with graduated fines for different violations

* Return with options to reduce congestion and the carbon footprint associated with residential construction, including staging plans, hauling routes, a requirement for certified brake inspection documents and the impacts of excess excavation

A directive to Pietig to talk to Caltrans about prohibiting left turns off of Pacific Coast Highway unless there is a left-turn pocket was added to Iseman’s original recommendations by Councilman Steven Dicterow. 

“Small changes can make big differences,” Iseman said. 

However Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Boyd, former owner of the Marine Room, did not completely agree with Iseman’s definition of small changes. He said limiting delivery times makes no sense and he voted against Iseman’s recommendations. 

“Restaurants open at different times,” he said. “You have to be in business to understand.”

Pietig encouraged a dialogue with the Chamber of Commerce about the proposal. 

As for fines: Civilian Administrator Jim Beres reported that new technology for giving traffic fines is soon to be implemented. The technology also enables increased fines for repeat offenders.

Paul Columbus, one of the five members of the audience to speak on the recommendations, said residents should be involved in determining remedies. He called it crowd sourcing – but including old-school methods such as mailers and suggestion boxes,

Iseman suggested that Stu News could participate. 

Resident Rita Conn supported the use of traffic circulation directors to expedite crossings. Unfortunately they cannot be stationed in the middle of the intersection of Broadway and the highway, said Iseman. That is where many would most like to see them, but they would be restricted to the sidewalk, she said. 

No date was set for Pietig to return to the council with the requested information.

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