Story by Charlotte Dekle
Photo by Erin Lee
The City Council voted to approve a resolution to install an all-way stop sign at the intersection of Meridian Ave and Oak St. at its meeting on Wednesday, July 21. This resolution was part of a larger movement to implement all-way stop signs at three high-traffic intersections of Meridian Ave.: Meridian Ave. and Oak St., Meridian Ave. and Maple St., and Meridian Ave. and Pine St..
This action came to the City Council after the creation of a petition with 133 resident signatures by Save Meridian Avenue for its Residents Together (SMART) Families. SMART Families and their decades-long advocacy focus on increasing safety measures for pedestrians on Meridian Ave. The proximity of the Meridian Ave. intersections to three educational facilities (South Pasadena High School, South Pasadena Middle School, and Holy Family School) is the main subject of concern among SMART Families members.
The resolution was also in conjunction with an authorization of an amendment to design Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFB) on Meridian Ave. and Oak St. While installing RRFBs along Meridian Ave. was considered by the City Council, an all-way stop sign was ultimately chosen.
Throughout the meeting, supporters of the resolution cited a study by transportation consultant Rock Miller, as justification for a stop sign or light at Meridian Ave. and Oak St.
“Based upon the unique intersection geometrics, the marked crosswalk, and the street usage further to the east, there is ample justification to conclude that all-way stops are appropriate for this location,” Miller said in the study.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, members of SMART Families expressed their support of the resolution and its potential to save lives.
“Stop signs are the solution to the long-standing risks and fears of crossing our very own street. Flashing lights whether above ground or below still give substantial deference to driver’s decision making,” South Pasadena resident Delaine Shane said. “Reckless speeding drivers have only one thing in mind and it is not pedestrian or bicycle safety at crosswalks. Crossing the streets safely is a right and not a privilege.”
Other supporters of the resolution presented an emotional argument to the council regarding personal safety as a pedestrian.
“I don’t ride [my bike] on the street because you’re taking your life in your hands. As evidenced by two car crashes, one on June 18 and another one on July 1. So, yeah it’s emotional.” South Pasadena resident Sean Teer said.
When discussing the other two intersections: Meridian-Maple and Meridian-Pine, the council voted to delay any action until the Mobility and Transportation Infrastructure Commission and its review of the intersections are conclusive.
More information and plans for the installation of the four-way stop sign at the Meridian-Oak intersection are still unknown but will likely be discussed by the council in the coming months.