Speed limits lowered at major LA freeway intersection

A red light seems to be flashing for miles and miles for people living and working in Pasadena.

Four hundred of them, that is.

Residents of the Southern California community in 2017 paid more than $143,000 in traffic fines at one signal, according to data from Pasadena city coffers — about $1,200 for each violation.

To put that into perspective, the city took in more than $1.8 million from traffic fines overall in 2017.

On Friday, though, residents of Pasadena were told they were finally getting a relief valve on that fiery traffic.

The speed limit at the long-fractured intersection of Mission Boulevard and California Boulevard will be lowered to 25 mph, at least at night, according to the Pasadena Daily News.

The move will mean a decrease in speed for those who travel the busy stretch of freeway, and means the reduction of hours for drivers to fall back on the signal after it turns red.

“We’ve been working for a year and a half to put something in place to give them a reasonable break in traffic,” Assistant City Manager Eric Buschow told the Daily News.

Buschow said the daytime speed limit, which is 25 mph now, had never been enforced, and as a result, local residents reported driving their cars by the slow-moving green light at night and enduring taunting stares from drivers at the red signal.

Meanwhile, the two cities that would typically collect the speed camera fines, Pasadena and Los Angeles, have been unable to agree on an arrangement because of a legal loophole that applies only to infractions that occur within city limits, according to the Daily News.

That works against neighborhoods such as Pasadena’s, which count many residents who live out of town in large, sprawling housing tracts.

In July, Pasadena officials moved to attempt to close the gate, by sending letters informing residents they could either take the ticket to court or pay it and receive a code that would prevent a future ticket in their name.

But Buschow and others who work on traffic signal improvements say a step in the right direction wasn’t nearly enough.

“It was definitely a step in the right direction, but we didn’t get it,” Buschow said of the code residents were sent.

Police officials stressed that the low-speed rule would be in place even at night and no tickets would be issued, and that the specific move was based on a software glitch at the signal.

Those working on the signal improvement, such as traffic engineer Tim Murck and traffic engineer Bob Lauritsen, sought a way to make the change so residents could still work around the signal, without going to court.

“This was based on anecdotal feedback from residents that evening, which is why they received letters from us before the change came into effect,” Murck said.

Murck said the city and the private company that owns the signal — Research In Motion, which also operates the signal at LAX — would sit down soon to review all procedures and remove the need for the software glitch.

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