Saturday, March 31, 2007

March 28th Penmar Meeting notes

Dear Neighbors,

I'm writing a brief report about the neighborhood meeting that was held on Wednesday, March 28th, at the Penmar Recreation Center. Topics included a brief review of the current situation at St. Joseph's, the increasingly heavy traffic on Walgrove, the high volume of idling diesel tandem trucks on Lincoln Blvd and residential streets that connect to Lincoln, the current situation with the house at which drug-dealing was allegedly taking place, and the proposed design requirements for commercial establishments on Lincoln Blvd. I hope that attendance will increase at future meetings because a lot of valuable information can be obtained from speakers and from each other as we come together to solve problems and get to know one

(1) Mark Grant, who is Councilman Rosendahl's deputy in charge of this part of the Council District 11, reported that, as of yesterday, St. Joseph's is still responding to the Department of Building and Safety's review of their permit for changed use. Mr. Grant said that he had no further information at this time but that a meeting is being planned to provide further information and opportunities for discussion. He invited us-whether favorably inclined towards the Center or unfavorably inclined-to let the Councilman know what our thoughts are.

Mark Grant can be e-mailed at

please CC:
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa <>,
Councilman Bill Rosendahl <>,
Bill Rosendahl <>,
Larry Frank <>,
Claudia Martin <>,

(2) According to a report given by Marianne Brown, a representative of the Ven-Mar Association, Walgrove traffic has increased tremendously since Playa Vista opened. Traffic engineers estimate that a street of that size should have to accommodate no more than 200-250 cars per hour at rush hour, but car-counting at rush hour reveals that approximately 1400-1700 cars use that street during rush hours! A member of the audience noted that Playa
Vista is not the only source of that traffic. He raised the possibility that CostCo and new office space openings in Santa Monica may be even greater sources of traffic congestion.

Ms. Brown noted that Lincoln Blvd should be absorbing all the new traffic because Lincoln Blvd is a state highway, which is designated for high volume traffic. She mentioned briefly proposals to intensify use of Lincoln Blvd such as a monorail system, but no such proposals are currently on the table. A member of the audience suggested that we ought to be looking for traffic solutions that do not simply shift the burden of traffic from one part of Ven-Mar to another part of Ven-Mar.

It would seem that there may not be enough members of the Ven-Mar Association who live close to Lincoln Blvd to protect the interests of those who would be most deeply impacted by further intensification of traffic along Lincoln Blvd. We must look for good solutions because most likely intensification of traffic on either Walgrove or Lincoln will necessarily
intensify traffic on the counterpart street because commuters will equalize the burdens and seek evasive action when one route becomes congested.

(3) Many members of the audience noted the heavy concentration of diesel tandem trucks on Lincoln Blvd and neighboring streets. One person counted 42 such trucks one morning. These trucks are sitting with idling engines waiting to be called to the construction site in Santa Monica where they pick up loads of construction debris. According to Senior Lead Officer
Craig White, Santa Monica has an ordinance that prohibits such staging in Santa Monica, so the trucks idle on the streets of Los Angeles. While L.A. has ordinances that prohibit parking trucks in residential areas, these trucks are not technically parked as long as their engines are running. A member of the audience pointed out that L.A. already prohibits vehicles weighing more than 6000 pounds from driving on residential streets, which cannot support the kind of weight that these diesel tandem trucks have even when they are empty. Officer White pointed out that the commercial truck enforcement division has only 5 enforcement officers. Several people in the audience asked Mark Grant to suggest to Councilman Rosendahl that he propose
an ordinance that would prohibit idling trucks, especially in residential areas. One person recommended extending the red lines on curbs because, as a number of people pointed out, it is extremely unsafe to try to pull out on to Lincoln Blvd without being able to see around the trucks. A few people asked for police assistance in the morning to guide people on to Lincoln
Blvd, but that would result in considerable deployment of police officers who may be sorely needed elsewhere. Mark Grant recommended calling 1-800-CUT SMOG when we come across idling trucks. We were advised to get the license plate number of each truck and the name of the trucking company, if displayed on the truck. Officer White said that the only realistic
solution is to sue or threaten to sue the construction company and/or the trucking company which is causing the nuisance in our neighborhood. Since many of the trucks are independently owned and operated, focusing on the construction company seemed preferable to him.

(4) At a recent meeting, Officer White described the progress being made on addressing complaints of drug-dealing on a property in our neighborhood. At this meeting, Officer White reported that the owner of the property has moved out of the area, closer to his/her business. He said that the Department of Building and Safety would be going to the property by Friday,
March 31st, to assess whether the owner has complied with their orders for cleaning up the property. If the owner has failed to take the necessary action required by those orders, Building and Safety can proceed to take over the clean-up. The building has already been secured, and the LAPD has maintained an assertive presence to insure our safety. It is because
Officer White had so much experience in such matters that this situation was addressed in record time. We all owe him thanks for his intelligent and compassionate assistance with this problem.
He can be reached via e-mail at

Your neighbor,

Taimie Bryant

No comments: