LANCASTER — Hoping to slow down speeding motorists on local roads, the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale will work together to identify strategies to address excessive speeds to reduce vehicle collisions and fatalities.
The cities will look at strategies such as enforcement, education, and engineering and identify funding potential sources to aid in the effort.
The Lancaster and Palmdale city councils conducted a joint meeting on May 10 at the Antelope Valley College Performing Arts Theatre where the councils discussed and agreed to address speed enforcement and other topics of mutual interest.
Both cities have seen an increase in vehicular-related fatalities over the past year.
“This is something I’ve been bringing up for several years as we’ve watched at the transportation meetings. We keep getting reports that the fatalities keep going up,” Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer said.
Hofbauer said through some of his own research he discovered other communities in Los Angeles share resources for traffic enforcement.
“We’ve got to find an ongoing solution,” Hofbauer said, adding the cities could share resources and collaborate with the California Highway Patrol.
Lancaster Vic Mayor Marvin Crist joined a joint ride along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol.
“It’s a way that both units get to use their jurisdiction in different ways,” Crist said. “It’s a way that they can look for every violation to slow them down.”
According to information presented at the April 19 North County Transportation Coalition JPA, the CHP wrote 683 tickets this quarter to motorists traveling faster than 100 miles per hour, Crist said.
“It’s out of control. We need to slow them down,” Crist said. “We’re going to lose some people if we don’t slow them down. So I’m 100% behind this.”
Lancaster Councilman Darrell Dorris agreed.
“It is a speed issue out here; I get emails all day about it,” Dorris said.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said that he would prefer the cities spend the energy and money finding similar cities that do not have a speeding problem.
“It’s been my experience that just adding more police to a problem doesn’t solve this type of problem. It’s usually engineering, how we engineer the roads,” Parris said, acknowledging that is also expensive.
Parris said the cities could use Lancaster’s IBM Watson technology to target problem streets for traffic enforcement. They could also review the data for potential structural changes on those roads.
‘If we could extend that technology to Palmdale, let’s go ahead and do that,” Parris said.
Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Laura Bettencourt said they also need to make sure sanctions are in place to discourage motorists from speeding.
“We have to make sure that there are sanctions in place,” Bettencourt said, “because right now no one’s afraid of doing 100 miles an hour because nothing’s going to happen to them.”
Bettencourt added she has heard community members say that they would like to see the Los Angeles County Raceway come back.
“The kids that want to race those little cars and do their wheel burnouts and their spins and their circles have nowhere to do other than public street,” Bettencourt said.
“I think that’s a great idea,” Parris said.
Crist said the city used to do with Thunder at the Lot at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds to give motorcyclists an opportunity to do burn outs and other activities.
“Doing this kind of stuff opens up a whole lot of stuff for everybody,” Crist said.
“This is a long time coming and I’m all for it,” Palmdale Councilman Richard Loa said.