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Montrose street getting safety upgrades

LA CRESCENTA — After months of complaints from residents on a Montrose street infamous for traffic accidents and speeding, Los Angeles County Public Works officials plan to install a number of safety improvements.

Residents who live near the curved intersection of Waltonia Drive and Park Place in a quiet neighborhood say drivers often speed and run stop signs, causing dozens of accidents, many involving parked cars.

"We feel terrorized by these motorists," said resident Julie Buzzelli.

After continued complaints from the neighborhood and the Crescenta Valley Town Council, county Public Works officials in July presented a number of potential changes, including additional street lighting and roadway striping, and a pedestrian island.

"The improvements will channel vehicles into the proper lanes while making the turn movements at this intersection," James Chon, of the county's Traffic and Lighting Division, said in an e-mail.

The work is scheduled to be completed in six months, he said.

Residents had previously petitioned for speed humps, but officials said the street did not meet the necessary criteria. Officials have already reduced the speed limit of Waltonia Drive by 5 mph to 25 mph.

Buzzelli said the neighborhood is anxiously awaiting the additional safety improvements after two more accidents have occurred.

Around 4 p.m. Aug. 19, a female driver under the influence of alcohol and prescription medication crashed into a parked car on Waltonia Drive. It was the third DUI collision in the neighborhood in the past seven months, officials said.

And another collision occurred late Sunday night when a motorist crashing into a parked car, Buzzelli said.

Buzzelli and other residents feel stepped-up law enforcement is needed to bring about any permanent change, she said.

"All of us are just so desperate," she said. "There's got to be something that has to change. I personally would rather see law enforcement here in a much more large profile."

But California Highway Patrol officials say they have already stepped up enforcement in response to community concerns and cited a number of speeders in the area.

"We are there, but we just don't happen to be there when these guys are out on the road," Officer Ming-Yang Hsu, a spokesman for the department, said of the DUI drivers.

Hsu encouraged residents to continue to report suspicious driving behavior.

"We respond to all calls," he said. "We want to hear the calls."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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