Neighborhood addresses speeders head on

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Recently, during a bicycle tour from Ventura north to San Francisco, I was passing through Rio del Mar. While riding on Rio del Mar Boulevard, I observed a significant number of hand made signs which indicated the neighborhood's displeasure with people speeding in their cars through there. Of course, the collective request was simply, follow the speed limit of 25 mph, it was my guess that most never do, thus the residential protest. I agree and support the sentiment of this neighborhood as excessive speed in my book isn't that different from excessive amounts of alcohol. In truth, I have never seen this kind of grass roots campaign to address cars speeding in a residential neighborhood. To your knowledge, is there a background to this as a result of an accident, number of accidents or is it just an effort to avoid one from occurring? Is this a countywide problem in general? Full disclosure, I live in Los Angeles and am constantly exposed to some of the worst drivers in the nation. I am working on safe bicycle routes that pass through these kind of areas in order to provide useful information to those who don't want to end up in as statistical data. Your reply would be appreciated. Brian Murray, Los Angeles A: The road you were on with all the homemade speed signs was Sumner Avenue, where residents started a grassroots effort to curb speeding about three months ago. "Speeding on Sumner Avenue is a big issue with us residents," said JoAnn Revoir, the 18 year resident who spearheaded it all. "I've seen it all. I've seen dogs get hit; cats get hit. We can't get out of our driveways. I'm retired now and home more often and I'm fed up with it." The problem area is along Sumner between Doris Avenue and Los Altos Drive, where there is a straight away. "That's right in front of my house," she continued, adding that the scofflaws are residents of the surrounding neighborhood not tourists, as Sumner is an arterial road used by commuters. "People think that's a wide open space and think 'Let's hit it.'" Out of pure "exasperation," Revoir shared her concerns with her neighbors across the street, who had children. Together, they rallied the rest of the neighborhood to put up signs. While some made their own signs, others bought $10 cardboard signs from They also hosted meetings with Sup. Zach Friend, the CHP, county public works and the sheriff's office, which were helpful in explaining the process, as well as what can and can't be done, she said. First, a speed trailer displays drivers speed was set up, but that made people go faster, Revoir said. After the neighborhood signs went up, everyone slowed down. "We did see a reduction for awhile. Everyone was paying attention," she said. "Then, after awhile, people don't see things when they see them all the time. Some people really have changed their speed but, right now, the signs are about 25 percent effective." Now, while the neighborhood waits to see if Sup. Friend can get approval for a solar powered sign that displays passing motorists speed, the neighbors are trying to pinpoint a weekend in which "all of us will be out there, including the kids, on the street waving our 'Drive Like Your Kid Lives Here' signs, just like the tax and pizza guys do." Increased bike, pedestrian traffic Thursday, Oct. 10 Thursday, Oct. 10 is Bike to Work Day. Many folks will be leaving their cars at home to walk or ride their bikes to work and/or school. Be safe everyone.
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