City officials hope a new right-turn pocket will at least slightly ease congestion at La Cañada Flintridge’s busiest intersection of Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard.
On Tuesday night, after the update was discussed at the City Council meeting, crews finished painting the new lane, which will allow vehicles headed eastbound to turn directly onto the 210 Freeway without having to queue up behind cars lined up to drive straight on ACH.
Although the approximately 150-foot-long turn pocket likely will, at most, release only three or four cars at a time, Public Works Director Edward Hitti said he expected it would help improve traffic flow.
Since 2007, when the Town Center debuted and brought with it two new streets to downtown La Cañada Flintridge, drivers have complained about the traffic at the intersection.
The traffic signals installed within a short distance from one another — at ACH and Town Center Drive, Foothill Boulevard and Sport Chalet Drive, and Foothill Boulevard and Chevy Chase Drive — created complications that the city continues to try to improve.
In 2013, consultants from Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. began work on a report that explored improvement ideas that included signal timing improvements as well as turn restrictions.
In recent months, the city has worked with Caltrans to meet criteria allowing for the two through-lanes on that stretch of roadway to measure 11 feet wide instead of the typical 12 feet. That made room for the new right-turn pocket, which is 14 feet across.
In order to do that, the city had to prove that fewer than 250 trucks traveled there per day. It also had to establish a speed limit of 40 mph and Caltrans had to identify the road as a “conventional highway or main street,” Hitti said.
“Our traffic engineers have been working diligently with Caltrans to get that approved,” City Engineer Kris Markarian said. “Hopefully the right-turn pocket will help.”
Council members Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution updating the city’s master schedule of fees and charges.
Following the 2016-17 budget review, council members sought to adjust and update fees for city services such as architectural design review and the processing of multiple planning applications.
Going forward, an architectural design review will include an administrative fee of $750, with a $1,000 deposit. Currently, the application fee for such a service is $500, with a $1,000 deposit.
There will also be a new administrative fee of $270 for director’s determination of zoning codes and a $175 fee for an encroachment agreement issuance.
The city also identified some potential fee reductions, including for dog licenses and applications for Design Commission reviews.
Once the resolution enacting the new fees is signed by Mayor Jonathan Curtis, the complete schedule will be on the city’s website, lcf.ca.gov. It’s available in draft form now and accessible via a link on Tuesday’s agenda.
Richard Grippe appealed to council members to consider installing a senior center in the city, telling them that approximately 5,000 residents qualify as senior citizens.
He listed the many neighboring communities that have centers dedicated solely to serving seniors and said that they’re all popular. He predicted the same would be true in LCF, where he’s heard support for the idea from friends who “hang around drinking coffee at Zeli’s.”
“Seniors who get out of their home, they stay healthier and live longer,” Grippe said.
Curtis suggested that the City Council would be interested in exploring the idea: “One of the areas this council is keenly focused on is seniors and we’re looking at that particular issue.”
Markarian announced Tuesday that she will be leaving her post with the city to become the Pasadena City Engineer. She began her tenure in LCF on February 2015.
Joked Hitti: “She thought she was busy before; she’s really going to be busy now.”
“It’s with a heavy heart that I leave,” Markarian said. “But we will be next-door neighbors, so I’m sure we’ll be working jointly with some projects.”