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Letter: Resident Asks to Sue City Over Unsafe Streets

A frustrated resident explains the difficulty of getting traffic slowing devices installed in her neighborhood.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
The following letter to the editor was sent in by reader Deborah McDonald.

For many years, the residents on Calle Alcala and Via Burriana have asked the City to implement some safety measures to slow speeders on our two neighborhood streets. People use our two streets as cut-throughs between Alicia, Trabuco, and Los Alisos to avoid the long light at Alicia and Trabuco.

We've requested speed humps, a three way stop sign at a fairly dangerous intersection, and even a traffic cop. The city, time and time again, says no. We have had numerous accidents, people crashing into front yards, cars, our trash cans.

There are five developmentally disabled children living at the corner of Via Burriana and Calle Alcala who could at any time misjudge the speed of a car and run out. Yet the city ignores the requests of the residents.

The city attorney went so far as to say that the city isn't responsible if a child gets hit and killed by a car, but is responsible if a speeding motorcyclist dies after crashing over a speed hump. Seriously? 

After much arguing, we requested a three-way stop at the corner of Via Burriana and Calle Alcala. There isn't one now and it would at least make an attempt to slow traffic. One of the traffic engineers, Philip N., states that stop signs are not intended to slow traffic, but to give right-of-way and, therefore, would not be appropriate at this three way intersection—even though we've had numerous accidents there. (The city doesn't believe it because the people are obviously not turning them into the police or insurance). And obviously the right of way is not crystal clear for some people.

Now Philip has decided that since he did a parking study during the middle of the day (when everyone was at work and the neighborhood was relatively quiet), painting the curb red for no parking will somehow eliminate people speeding and therefore make it impossible to have any more unsafe near-misses at that intersection. They are voting to do this today at 3 p.m., conveniently when everyone is at work and cannot attend the meeting. He and the rest of the team refuse to listen to the needs of the residents and put in some real safety measures.

Painting a curb red punishes the residents by now making it impossible for us to have any guests at our property and allowing them to bring a car. Second, it clears the road for speeders to not have anything in their way, thus an increased ability to "rail" that corner like some NASCAR driver. And, lastly, now the family who lives on that corner, one with a disable child, cannot safely back out of their driveway without the risk of having their car t-boned, which already has had numerous near misses, too many to even keep track of.

We hear screeching on that corner daily. They currently do not park in their driveway for that particular reason and have a special side fence where they enter their property. This is the only safe way to enter their property. And the city is fully aware of this. What needs to happen is for a lawsuit for discrimination to take place.

I believe, as do the residents, that an attorney for the disabled needs to represent that particular family and sue the city for discriminating against their child and the safety of his wellbeing.

I have spent numerous hours, along with the other residents, sitting in meetings listening to the city discussing city issues. If they can make money, it is always a 'yes' vote. They don't care if they are putting children next to a bar, if it means money for them, 'yes' is the answer. They don't care in the least if children will be hit by cars, or families who spent half a million dollars on a home have a shred of safety, only if there is money to be made. Somebody needs to call them on this.

If that corner family gets in an accident because of a speeding car, I want an attorney to sue the ever-loving pants off of the city because they have been made aware of the danger and refuse to be anything other than negligent.
Desi Kiss January 28, 2014 at 03:41 PM
POINT WELL TAKEN about the UNSAFE Streets in MV! With the political season just around the corner here is a bit of news for Deborah McDoland, about the 2014 City of Mission Viejo Council election: With Mayor Trish Kelley being termed out there are 5 candidates to date running for the 3 available seats on the Mission Viejo City Council in the November 4, 2014 election: Incumbents: Dave Leckness & Rhonda Reardon as well as candidates: Desi Joseph Kiss, Wendy Bucknum and Ed Sachs. For those who plan to vote in the next election please inform yourselves about the candidates, their background, education, experience, integrity, openness, commitment to the community and please stop electing and re-electing self-serving incompetents , since in the addition to the 5 candidates above there will be plenty of other candidates on the November 4, 2014 ballot for the MV City Council. Thank you. To learn more please visit: http://djk4mv.wordpress.com/ BTW just last summer I brought up the UNSAFE situation on Jeronimo Rd. It was patched a bit but the issue still persists because they just stopped short of repairing the area in question since it is scheduled sometime this year!
Shripathi Kamath January 28, 2014 at 05:39 PM
Mr. Kiss, what would be your approach to above situation? Considering you have a background in civil engineering (seems related?) would you be in favor of installing speed bumps, stop signs, more patrolling, some combination of the above, or something else?
Desi Kiss January 28, 2014 at 06:32 PM
Mr. Kamath thank you for your kind comment. That is correct I'm not a licensed traffic engineer and thank you for the question. As you probably may know in California the civil engineering license under the law may go a long way (civil/structural engineering, surveying etc) I may say this: In the past I've addressed several traffic issues with the City of MV such as: the Oso intersection with Marguerite Pkwy for road safety, Jeronimo b/w Sileros and Arbolitos for road damage, poor quality of road repair & re-surfacing, and other safety matters, traffic signals and other road safety issues street signs vandalism and the reply and repair implementation that I got from City Staff or Department Managers was NOT always satisfactory, not to mention that the City Manager Mr. Dennis Wilberg never bothered to reply to any messages left with regards to such important safety issues in the City. It seems to me from what Deborah McDonald is reporting that I certainly would be in favor of installing speed bumps and a three way stop sign at a fairly dangerous intersection. In addition to those mentioned perhaps a camera and appropriate monitoring to come up with a more practical solution. I also would like to mention that the City Attorney's comments as reported in this article with regards to this matter are highly irresponsible. It is also interesting that the City Council has decided to retain Mr. Curley as the "Consultant" City Attorney after he decided to change Law Firms and work for a firm that specializes in education rather than government, and this new Law Firm had no prior contract agreement with the City of Mission Viejo. In other words the City has never placed the City Attorney's "Consultant" position out for competitive bidding!
Kathy DeLucio January 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM
I completely empathize with you. We live on a downhill street that is posted at 25 mph but cars regularly drive at 50-55 mph. Backing out of our driveway into a "freeway" of aggressive downhill speeders is terrifying. Even though we have attempted on many occasions to obtain safer streets through the City of Mission Viejo, we have been told that no options are available to us. Very frustrating.
Dan Avery January 29, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Cars also hurtle down our side street. I've often wondered if the speed limits on the main streets are not to blame. Back in St. Paul every street had a 30 mph limit so there wasn't a problem with speeding on side streets. When one gets used to going 45 or 50 mph on main streets, I think, that just transfers over to side streets. Perhaps the way to fix this problem is to lower all speed limits to 30 mph and then re-educate by over policing and writing tickets on every speeder until it stops.
Josephina January 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM
What is even more frustrating is the incompetence of the City's council members, who are wasting our taxpayers $ on a video about crows ! Dave Leckness how about a video about the traffic problems in the City? What are you doing to tackle the traffic issues in the City and presented by this blog? Same question goes out to Rhonda Reardon. We love to hear your views.
S Dennis January 29, 2014 at 12:23 PM
My sympathies regarding this situation in your neighborhood and many others like it throughout the city. As mentioned in your post, many of these miscreants are cutting through your neighborhood to avoid the lights on Alicia/Trabuco/Los Alisos. The solution is simple...the city should coordinate the lights on the major streets so that motorists who drive at the posted speed limits can travel along these roads without stopping for every light. Alicia is a prime example. If one drives from Marguerite to the freeway, there are 10 lights. A motorist can expect to get stopped for at least 5 of them, and sometimes as many as 7 (this is not only during rush hour, but during all times of the day/evening). It is nearly impossible NOT to get stopped at Trabuco (not to mention Via Burgos, Via Linda, Jeronimo, Fabricante, Muirlands, etc.). Pick any other main street and the same thing happens. Drivers become incredibly frustrated (and I'm talking about reasonable law-abiding drivers, not just the crackpots) and resort to taking "short cuts". In addition, there are numerous environmental reasons that continual stopping/starting and idling at lights is detrimental to our city and its residents. (This problem isn't unique to MV. It seems that all cities in South OC have the same philosophy, or lack thereof.) While there will always be some people who will continue to cause havoc in quiet neighborhoods with their inappropriate driving habits, coordinating the lights in our city would be a simple and quick solution to the majority of the problems caused by this issue.
Joe Promedio January 29, 2014 at 02:28 PM
Dan Avery's suggestion to make all streets 30 mph is unreasonable. 50 years ago maybe. Most cars today have excellent stopping distances. I am pretty sure the city doesn't install speed bumps for legal reasons. Most speed bumps are on private streets like those controlled by HOA's. I believe a stop signs should be installed at the intersection mentioned. Synchronizing the signal lights on major streets would make a huge difference on this situation. Many Cities have done this. The problem is it costs money. I feel for the residents of this neighborhood though. Since 1980 I have lived on a street that is between Saddleback College and Capo High School. Every morning and afternoon, M-F, we have all the parents dropping off or picking up their kids. Plus all the students that are leaving school after parking illegally on our street. Some just refuse to obey the traffic and parking laws. 40 Mph is common on our 25 Mph street. We have a 3-way intersection without stop signs also. Drivers seem unaware that the first car to the intersection has the right of way and will just blow right through it. I can't tell you how many times I have almost been hit. Now I expect it and am ready for it. Bottom line is I don't blame drivers trying to use a short cut if they obey the law. Speeding really doesn't get you to your destination that much sooner. We have grown into a community with a large number of drivers. As we keep building more homes the problem is only going to get worse.

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