Santa Clarita drivers will soon have to change their speeds when behind the wheel on multiple roadways after the City Council voted Tuesday to adjust speed limits based on a city traffic study.
With a unanimous vote by council members, city staff will soon order speed limit signs for fabrication and they will be posted across multiple areas with either increased or decreased changes by at least 5 mph each.
The new speed limits will not go into effect until signs are posted, and law enforcement cannot conduct speed enforcement until all signage is in place, which can occur within the coming months, according to Mark Hunter, city transportation planning analyst, and Carrie Lujan, the city’s communications manager.
A total of 16 road segments will receive adjustments, including portions of Newhall Ranch Road, Copper Hill Drive, Ruether Avenue and Via Princessa. The only street to change by 10 mph, from the posted 35 mph to 45 mph, is Lost Canyon Road from Via Princessa to Medley Ridge Drive, according to city officials.
The city will also establish speed limits for two roadways segments once part of unincorporated Los Angeles County: Canyon Park Boulevard, from Jakes Way to Lost Canyon Road, will have a 45 mph limit, and Fahren Court, between Jakes Way and Sandy Drive, will have signs reading 25 mph.
Changes are recommended via a state-required engineering and traffic survey study, said Hunter. Without it, speeding violations issued by the Sheriff’s Department cannot be approved and deputies could no longer use radar and laser enforcement — a tool local law enforcement says is effective.
“We have seen a significant reduction in overall collisions through enforcement,” said Sgt. Billy Lynch, of the SCV Sheriff’s Station. “We wrote just over 19,000 tickets in 2018, a large uptake from 2015, as a result of the motor program.”
City and sheriff’s officials say the use of radar and laser equipment, part of a gamut of enforcement tools, has helped in the reduction of traffic collisions significantly, including playing a role in having zero pedestrian fatalities over the last two years.
Still, Lynch said: “We’re seeing that traffic accidents are down, but we’re also seeing that speeding is still there. The No. 1 cause for accidents is speed.”
Major speeding still heavily occurs in areas like Golden Valley and Newhall Ranch roads, he said. “You see people go 60 to 65 mph in a heavy, city street, like Newhall Ranch Road. That’s the freeway speed. If you lose control on the freeway, you’ll hit a K-rail, but on Newhall Ranch Road, you’ll hit a tree or person.”
Some residents, including A.B. Hoelscher from Valencia, said these upcoming speed adjustments will not address the speeding problem. He fears “this could be a well-meaning but ineffective effort by the City Council to do something when, in fact, nothing significant will be accomplished.”
Hoelscher suggests the reassigning of additional patrols, more signal lights and traffic monitoring cameras can help in this issue.
Lynch said the Sheriff’s Department has increased the number of deputies and the department’s partnerships with the city, including working on traffic studies, have improved enforcement.