SBy Brenda Rees, September 17, 2013
Southbound car on Avenue 64
The wide roadway of Avenue 64
is a well-used commuter route through Garvanza, Highland Park and
Pasadena for drivers either getting onto or coming off the 110 Freeway.
The downward slope from La Loma Road in Pasadena to York Boulevard in
Los Angeles naturally speeds up cars heading southbound. But, now, some
residents in both cities want to slow down traffic and make Avenue 64
“I live on Avenue 64 on the Highland Park side and when we
moved in, we didn’t realize how crazy the traffic was,” said Pilar
Reynaldo. “At first I thought it was me, but talking to neighbors and
people I have met out walking, I discover this is a problem that has
been going on for 45 years. Now is the time to finally fix this for
everyone in Pasadena and Highland Park.”
Reynaldo is a member of
the Avenue 64 Coalition, which made a presentation last week before the
San Rafael Neighborhood Association in Pasadena to garner support for
their effort to make Avenue 64 a safer street. The coalition will be
making a similar presentation to the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood
Council on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the Highland
Park Senior Center, 6152 N. Figueroa St.
Morrissey of the Avenue 64 Coalition led the evening discussion on what
he and his fellow members see as problems and possible solutions
regarding the roadway that bisects the boundaries of Pasadena and Los
A traffic engineer for the City of Santa Monica,
Morrissey worked with the coalition earlier this year to draft a
presentation that outlined issues and offered ways to slow down traffic
and potentially save lives.
“In 15 years, there has been six documented deaths on the street and numerous collisions at the intersection of Avenue 64 and Church Street,”
he said at the San Rafael meeting, citing frequent speeding violations
and unsafe vehicle maneuvers such as passing on the medians and in
Morrissey then described the environment of Avenue
64 which includes homes as well as two community hubs: the Hillsides
School and Church of the Angels; limited parking at both results in
churchgoers and school staff and families parking on the west side of
the street and walking across at Church Street – which has proven to be
The downward slope from La Loma to York and
a confusing stop sign at Church Street has been a problem for years,
Morrissey said. Also, the lack of pedestrian walkways – especially for
the church and school – needs to be addressed.
“As a traffic
engineer, I know that people feel comfortable going fast when the roads
are wide,” he said. “They drive differently when the roads are narrow.”
the road is part of the Avenue 64 Coalition’s solutions, with Morrissey
offering both interim and long term versions. Some ways to narrow the
street would be to repaint lane stripes, add a center, landscaped
median, add more cross walks and install a round-about at Burleigh and
Avenue 64. All in all, Morrissey estimated that the cost could be as
high as $10 million.
Currently, the coalition has support from
Pasadena councilman Steve Madison, whose area includes Avenue 64. This
week, San Rafael area residents are being asked to fill out a
neighborhood traffic survey as part of Pasadena’s Complete Streets
Program which would give officials a better idea on what conditions
exist on area streets. No such plans are in the works to survey Highland
Park residents who live on Avenue 64.
Recently, Pasadena has
earmarked $750,000 in grant money to implement the Avenue 64 Coalition
proposal, but L.A.’s Councilman Jose Huizar “has not made any steps
toward this project,” says coalition member Reynaldo.
July, the coalition made a formal presentation to the Historic Highland
Park Land Use Committee to get their support for the proposal. At the
upcoming Sept. 19 meeting of the general neighborhood council, Reynaldo
hopes to make an impression for action to council members.
“This is a street governed by both cities and one side cannot move without the other,” she said.