As firefighters battled twin blazes that were chewing up about 5,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest this week, L.A. County Assistant Fire Chief Gregory Hisel asked residents in La Cañada Flintridge to get ready.
“So how do the residents of La Cañada Flintridge prepare for an event like this, if the fire is moving in this direction?” Hisel asked. “What we recommend is each resident have some kind of wildland evacuation plan in place.”
Tips for doing that — available via the “Ready, Set, Go” link at fire.lacounty.gov — include creating defensible space around your home and putting together an action plan that incorporates meeting locations, evacuation strategies for people and animals, and knowing how to shut off utilities.
“There’s information there about what’s important to take and how to pre-plan, so … when the evacuation order is given you’re ready to go, because it’s not time to be trying to find stuff. You actually get in your vehicle and you’re leaving.”
Hisel said the fact that winds have been calm has helped firefighters battle the San Gabriel Complex fire, its billowing smoke easy to spot from LCF.
“But if the winds change, [LCF] residents should be prepared,” he said. “There’s only so much we can do once the wind starts blowing.”
WASTE HAULER CONTRACTS
While a subcommittee plans to meet once more to discuss waste haulers in LCF, City Council members voted 4-0 to renew the current one-year contract with the three residential haulers that currently serve the city. (City Councilwoman Terry Walker was not in attendance.)
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Davitt, who is a part of the subcommittee studying whether LCF should remain a three-hauler town or alter its policy to contract exclusively with one company, said the City Council can expect to hear more about the issue in the next 60 days.
The contract extension for Allied Waste Services, Athens Services and NASA Services, he said, “is really in response to not having things expire … and it just keeps everything tidy and orderly.”
City Manager Mark Alexander said that if the city were to decide to go with one hauler instead of three, it wouldn’t happen immediately, but it also could happen before the end of the current deal expires. It’s permitted by a clause in that contract that allows for termination.
SPEED LIMIT LOWERED
Drivers on northbound Angeles Crest Highway turning right onto the 210 Freeway may soon be using a turn lane to do so — and everyone on that stretch of roadway will be required to drive more slowly.
After re-timing signals on the portion of ACH within city limits over the past year, the city surveyed the speeds of drivers on ACH from Foothill Boulevard to Craig Avenue and found that they were traveling an average of 24 mph. Those in the 85th percentile drove 28 mph — a figure that will allow the city to reduce the existing 40 mph limit to 30 mph.
That speed limit reduction will help make the area safer, according to Traffic Engineer Steve Libring, and it also meets Caltrans design standards to allow for a new right-turn-only lane at the eastbound onramp. At 40 mph, Caltrans would require the city to widen the roadway.
The City Council voted 4-0 to approve the speed limit change.
CLIMATE ACTION PLAN OK’D
The City Council also voted unanimously to adopt the La Cañada Flintridge Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in LCF long-term.
The study stemmed from a General Plan update in 2013, when the city’s identified goals included reducing greenhouse gasses from city operations and energy consumption by the community.
“Every city is unique, and it’s not something that’s going to work at the federal level; it has to be done locally,” said Christina McAdams, an environmental scientist at Rincon, the consulting group that helped prepare the plan.
“Local jurisdictions have influence over their residents and their employees … and if you do it at the local level, you can do what you want instead of what the feds are asking.”
Council members voted unanimously to reject a resident’s appeal and uphold the Public Works and Traffic Commission’s decision to make permanent a collection of traffic calming measures in the Fairmount Avenue area of La Cañada Flintridge.
After a test-drive, the commission ruled in May that the intersection in question benefits from restriping that realigns Earlmont Avenue at a 90-degree angle with Fairmount. The commissioners also voted to keep striping for pedestrians on the south side of the street as well as “No Stopping Anytime” restrictions there. While observing the changes over the past nine months, staff members saw parked cars in the area, so they suggested the commission consider installing a raised bulb-out or a curb extension.
A homeowner on Hillard Avenue balked at the prospect of the curb extension and appealed, saying he was out of town during the commission’s meeting and felt it ought to have more than the one public hearing before moving to City Council, which will still have to approve a design and budget for the project.
“I think it seems this has been studied pretty closely,” Councilman Len Pieroni said. “It sounds like a good idea.”