County Recommends Raising Speed Limit on Briggs Avenue

By Brandon HENSLEY

L.A. County is recommending a speed limit increase for a section of Briggs Avenue after recent studies completed by Public Works.

During the Sept. 15 Crescenta Valley Town Council meeting, David Oboza from the County’s Traffic and Lighting Division said based on a recent traffic engineering report, the recommended speed limit for the part of Briggs Avenue between Foothill Boulevard and Montrose Avenue has been adjusted to 35 mph instead of the current 30 mph.

A traffic survey report last year found 85% of drivers were going either at or below 42 mph. County rounded down to 40 mph and since the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) allows for conditions “not readily apparent,” it rounds down 5 mph.

A speed study in April also came to the 35 mph recommendation after it found most drivers going 38 mph. County rounded up to 40 mph, and the MUTCD allowed for rounding down of 5 mph, equaling the same 35 mph as before.

“Public Works doesn’t have to change the speed limit. If the community wanted, we could leave the signs as they are,” Oboza said, but added that law enforcement would not be able to use radar to catch speeders.

Speed laws are initially determined by drivers, not lawmakers. County looks at the 85th percentile speed of what cars are traveling on a specific road. The percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85% of vehicles are traveling.

“It’s based on the assumption that 85% of people know how to drive responsibly, and that’s why 85% of the people set the speed limit,” Oboza said.

Some in the audience disagreed with the study’s finding. Some residents suggested a maximum speed sign to deter faster vehicles but because it’s a local road it has to be implemented by a survey.

Oboza tried to clear up some confusion and frustration by saying that when a speed limit is too low, drivers tend to ignore it, so it is necessary to make speed limits within a reasonable range.

Councilmember Aram Ordubegian said the limit for that part of Briggs should be 25 mph because it is a dangerous road that declines and has curves.

Council agreed to discuss the issue further at next month’s meeting before deciding to take further action.

“There’s no guarantee that seven years down the line we won’t get an 85th percentile speed of 40,” Oboza said. “There’s no guarantee you won’t.”

In another presentation, CV Fire Safe councilmember Judy Turner reminded residents that fire season is not over and that it is important to prepare for upcoming fires and the migration downhill of animals such as mountain lions and bears.

“They’re all coming down because there’s no water and the vegetation is so dry. There’s nothing for them to eat,” she said. “This is all indicative of why it’s so important we [take] this opportunity to do something.”

That opportunity has been evident this year as the fire council has enjoyed a strong relationship with L.A. County Fire and California Conservation Corps. Turner said over 7,000 man hours have been put in this year clearing fire fuel – chaparral and shrubs – and taking other necessary steps to prevent fires.

“I wanted to make you aware,” Turner said. “Trucks go up there, people go up there, they come back down and we don’t even know they’ve been there. They’re doing wonderful work in our foothills and we need to be grateful.”

The Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley will hold a presentation during its Oct. 17 meeting titled, “The Road to Rocky Pass” by Fred Hoeptner at the Center for Spiritual Living-La Crescenta at 4845 Dunsmore Ave. at and Santa Carlotta Street. The presentation will explore questions surrounding a photograph of a primitive looking road taken for a 1913 publicity brochure. The photo seems to depict a road the locals once called “Rocky Pass,” and Hoeptner will explore, with illustrated maps and photos, whether it is now Verdugo Road. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The next CVTC meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd. For more information on council business, visit