Press Release: Irvine Transportation Commission Adopts Councilmember Melissa Fox’s Initiative for Comprehensive “Stop Sign Compliance Study” to Increase Safety of Irvine’s Streets

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Allison Binder 949-724-6226

IRVINE TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION ADOPTS COUNCILMEMBER MELISSA FOX’S INITIATIVE FOR COMPREHENSIVE “STOP SIGN COMPLIANCE STUDY” TO INCREASE SAFETY OF IRVINE’S STREETS

Irvine, CA – On December 4, 2018, the Irvine Transportation Commission unanimously adopted Councilmember Melissa Fox’s initiative for a comprehensive “Stop Sign Compliance Study” for the purpose of increasing the safety of Irvine streets.

Based on the motion of Councilmember Melissa Fox’s appointee, Commissioner Ken Montgomery, the Transportation Commission voted 5-0 to support Councilmember Fox’s request to direct the staff to conduct a comprehensive “Stop Sign Compliance Study.”

Several members of the public spoke at the meeting to support Councilmember Fox’s request for this intensive study. They spoke of accidents and near misses caused by people running stop signs. The individual Transportation Commissioners all had personal experiences with stop sign runners causing accidents and even fatalities in their neighborhoods.

Irvine Police Department (IPD) Officer Brian Smith told the Commission that IPD issued 2000 stop sign violation citations this year-to-date; there have been 139 vehicular collisions involving stop-sign noncompliance; five of these collisions have resulted in an injury; IPD conducts high-visibility enforcement in areas during rush hour; and that high-visibility enforcement can net 50-55 citations over a two hour morning rush period.

City staff was directed to study how extensive “rolling stops” are at stop signs in Irvine; how many accidents result from “failure to yield” violations at stop controlled intersections; determine whether electronic enhancements to stop signs, like flashing beacons, improves compliance; review the current and best thinking from the nation’s police, traffic engineers, and public safety professionals on increasing stop sign compliance and traffic safety; determine whether other cities are achieving better stop sign compliance and, if so, what are they doing differently from Irvine; and to work with the Irvine Police and Public Safety to determine whether the current strategies used for stop signs compliance are as effective as can be.

City staff will determine whether the study can be performed in-house or whether an outside consultant familiar with this type of work is needed to do the study.  When the study is completed, the Transportation Commission will develop recommendations for the City Council.

“Residents of Irvine are very concerned — and rightfully so — about their safety and the safety of their children because of the consistent failure of drivers to come to a full and complete stop at our stop signs,” Councilmember Fox said. “Irvine is world-famous as a safe place to live and raise our families. But it won’t stay that way unless Irvine’s motorists obey the stop signs and respect pedestrians’ right-of-way. It’s not just our reputation as America’s safest city that is on the line. Our lives, and the lives of our children, are at stake.”

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Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox Puts Stop Sign Safety on the Next Transportation Commission Agenda

Residents of Irvine are very concerned — and rightfully so — about their safety and the safety of their children because of the consistent failure of drivers to come to a full and complete stop at our stop signs. 

Many of you have expressed your concerns to me and I have read what you have posted on social media.

I share you concerns.

As I’ve said before, Irvine is world-famous as a safe place to live and raise our families. But it won’t stay that way unless all Irvine’s motorists obey the stop signs and respect pedestrians’ right-of-way.

It’s not just our reputation as America’s safest city that is on the line.  Our lives, and the lives of our children, are at stake.

In response to these concerns, my appointee to the Transportation Commission, Ken Montgomery, has placed the lack of compliance with stop signs in Irvine on the agenda of the next Transportation Commission meeting on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at 5:30 PM at the Conference and Training Center Room, One Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, California 92606

Please attend!

Commissioner Montgomery has also asked that our Irvine Transportation Director Mark Linsenmayer and City staff be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • How widespread is the problem of drivers not stopping at stop signs in Irvine?
  • Are there any visibility problems with our stop signs?
  • Would center-mounted stop signs help with compliance?
  • Would advanced warning stop signs help with compliance?
  • Would lights around stop signs, or flashing beacons, increase compliance and public safety?
  • Are other local cities seeing better stop sign compliance?  If so, what are they doing differently from Irvine?
  • What measures have the Irvine Police Department undertaken to increase stop sign compliance, and what recommendations does the Irvine Police Department have to increase stop sign compliance and better driver behavior?
  • What is the current and best thinking from the nation’s police, traffic engineers and public safety professionals on increasing stop sign compliance and traffic safety?

Of course, you may bring your own questions and suggestions for the Commissioners and City staff to the meeting.

You can also contact Transportation Commissioner Ken Montgomery with your concerns, questions, and suggestions.  Send him an email at kenmontgomery@cityofirvine.org.

Commissioner Ken MontgomeryTraffic is a retired Civil Engineer with more than 40 years of experience in managing public works and traffic and transportation issues as Director of Public Works for three Southern California Cities: Norwalk, Redondo Beach, and Laguna Niguel.  Ken retired from the City of Laguna Niguel in 2009 after 18 years as that City’s first Director of Public Works/City Engineer.  He holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Ken and his wife Judy have resided in Irvine for 39 years and have lived in the same Woodbridge home since 1980.  He been closely following transportation issues in Irvine for decades and was appointed to the Irvine Transportation Commission by Councilmember Melissa Fox in May 2017.

He is looking forward to seeing you and hearing from you at the Transportation Commission meeting!

What:  Stop Sign Safety Discussion at Irvine Transportation Commission Meeting

When: Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at 5:30 PM

Where: Conference and Training Center Room, One Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, California 92606

Have a Safe, Happy, and Crime-Free Holiday: Crime Prevention Tips from the Irvine Police Department!

As your Irvine City Councilmember, it is important to me that you and your family have a safe, happy, and crime-free holiday season.

Here are some Holiday Crime Prevention Tips from the Irvine Police Department to help ensure that your holidays are safe, happy, and crime-free: 

  • If you’re out shopping for holiday meals or gifts, be sure to lock your car and roll up your windows.
  • Don’t leave your purse, wallet, cellphone or other valuables in your vehicle in plain view.
  • When possible, keep your purchases on you while shopping instead of leaving them in your car. If you need to leave these things in your car, the best place is in a secure, locked trunk.
  • If you are having packages sent to your home, bring them inside as soon as possible. If you won’t be home to receive your deliveries, consider having items delivered to your workplace, or ask a friend or trusted neighbor to pick it up for you. Use tracking numbers and delivery notifications to track your shipments.
  • Be mindful when displaying gifts at home. Try not to leave them in places where they will be visible from the outside.
  • After holiday dinners and parties, always make sure you have a sober, safe ride home.
  • If you are traveling out of town, make sure your house appears occupied by using timers on lights and televisions, and exterior motion detectors outside. Ask a friend or trusted neighbor to check on your house and collect your mail and newspaper.
  • Be careful what you post on social media. Avoid posting your holiday travel plans or pictures of you and your family while you’re away, so that your absence isn’t exploited by untrusted social media followers.

Important Telephone Numbers for the Irvine Police Department:

  • Non-Emergency:  949-724-7000
  • Emergency:  Dial 9-1-1 for Emergencies and crimes in progress.

 

 

Remembering Traffic Victims — and Preventing Them in Irvine

Sunday, November 18, 2018, is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

This day is dedicated to remembering those killed or injured in road crashes, as well as to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police, fire and medical professionals who daily deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury.

Unfortunately, this Day of Remembrance has increasing significance for the City of Irvine.

At our most recent City Council meeting, residents told us about witnessing extremely dangerous driving behavior and very close calls involving their children.

I am sure you also witnessed close calls or have heard similar frightening stories from your neighbors.

I am very concerned — as are others — that we will see an increase in serious injuries and deaths in Irvine because a motorist did not obey a stop sign, respect a pedestrian’s right of way, or pay attention.

I have set a meeting with our Chief of Police to step up traffic enforcement and to make sure that our police have every resource they need to ensure that our city is safe for children, other pedestrians, and bicycle riders.

I will be discussing numerous ways to increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety, especially for children, including stepped-up enforcement, more illumination of crosswalks, and better lighting and visibility at stop signs. Your suggestions are invited.

The truth is, we can greatly improve the safety of our streets simply by being better and more respectful drivers, and by all of us — drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians — following the rules of the road.

The most common cause of vehicular accidents is driver behavior, especially distracted driving.  In fact, distracted driving accounts for an astonishing 95 percent of all auto collisions.  According to the National Safety Council,  using a mobile phone while driving now the most prevalent cause of a traffic collisions.

Globally, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people aged 15-29 and claim more than 1.25 million lives each year. In the United States, motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of accidental death among teenagers, representing over one-third of all teenager deaths.

As I have said, Irvine is world-famous as a safe place to live and raise our families, but it won’t stay that way unless Irvine motorists make a conscious decision to reject distracted driving, obey stop signs, and respect pedestrians’ right-of-way.

It’s not just our reputation as America’s safest city that is on the line.  Our lives, and the lives of our children, are at stake.

Irvine Police Respond Quickly to Anti-Semitic Graffiti and Other Hate Vandalism at Irvine Valley College

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Two days ago I learned that restrooms at Irvine Valley College had recently been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti (swastikas).

I immediately relayed this information to Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel.

Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel

Chief Hamel assured me that the Irvine Police Department would investigate and get back to me ASAP.

Here is the email about the incident that the Irvine Police Department sent today to the Mayor and the City Council:

Mayor and City Council,

Recently, the Irvine Police Department became aware of an incident at Irvine Valley College (IVC) in which anti-Jewish sentiments were the subject of graffiti on campus. Additionally, there was an incident in which fliers for a Muslim group were defaced.

The Irvine Police Department is working closely with IVC campus police and administration to investigate these incidents. To address concerns on campus related to these incidents, IVC will release the following statement from Chief Hamel today.

The statement will be distributed to students, faculty and staff.

There have been no media inquiries related to this incident.

The Irvine Police Department has been made aware of recent incidents of graffiti vandalism on campus, as well as the defacing of college club fliers. IPD is working closely with the Irvine Valley College Police Department to thoroughly investigate these incidents. The Irvine Police Department has long supported IVC campus police in the goal of providing a safe campus for staff, students and visitors. As partners in law enforcement, IPD provides additional resources in support of campus police whenever we are called upon, including these recent incidents. 

The Irvine Police Department stands with President Roquemore, the Irvine Valley College Administration, Chief Meyer and IVC campus police in condemning any acts of vandalism or defacement on campus, especially those that may appear to be directed at specific groups.  We recognize that Irvine Valley College is committed to providing an academic and work environment that respects the dignity of all individuals in the spirit of a diverse, vibrant and all-inclusive campus community.

I am committed to continuing IPD’s close collaboration with IVC campus police to maintain the highest levels of safety on campus. Remember that we rely on you, the members of the IVC community, to be our eyes and ears on campus. If you see something suspicious, please immediately report it to campus police at 949-451-5234. You can also call the Irvine Police Department at 949-724-7000. In an emergency, always dial 9-1-1.

 The Irvine Police Department and IVC campus police will provide updates on these incidents in the event of any new developments that we are able to share. If you have further concerns about this case and wish to communicate with IPD directly, please contact Operations Commander Noelle Smiley at 949-724-7025 or nsmiley@cityofirvine.org

Please rest assured that while these recent incidents are disturbing, we are not aware of any imminent danger to the IVC community or the City as a result of this activity.

Yours in partnership,

 Chief Mike Hamel

Irvine Police Department

Contact:

Kim Mohr, Communications Manager, Irvine Police Department

949-724-7112 (o) 949-299-6887 (c) | 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606 | kmohr@cityofirvine.org

Thank you, Chief Hamel and the Irvine Police Department, for your swift response and commitment to keeping all of Irvine safe.

RELATED:

Irvine Will Stand Strong against Intolerance and Stand Up for Our Neighbors

Meet Your Irvine Police Officers at Coffee with a Cop!

Join Irvine Police Department personnel on Thursday, November 8, 2018, for a cup of coffee at Starbucks in the Los Olivos Marketplace.

Our Police Department not only keeps us the Safest City in America, it also helps to keep us among most welcoming to diversity.

As our Police Chief Mike Hamel has said, “One of the best things about Irvine is that we are dynamic and diverse. We are made up of people from cultures and countries all over the world, but this also means that various community groups may have specific and unique needs. We are here to do all we can to help address your needs.  It doesn’t matter where you come from, your lifestyle, what language you speak or what religion you practice, we are your police department and we are here for you.”

“Coffee with a Cop!” is a chance to meet our Irvine police officers and get your public safety questions answered in a relaxed environment.

Kids are welcome! Stop by any time between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

WHAT: Coffee with a Cop!

WHERE: Starbucks in the Los Olivos Marketplace, 8539 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, California 92618.

WHEN: Thursday, November 8, 2018, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  Join us at any time during this two-hour event.

WHO: This is a kid and family-friendly event. All ages are welcome!

COST: Free.

See the “Coffee with a Cop?” Facebook event page here.

Irvine Again is Safest City in America: Thank you Irvine Police!

Irvine, CA  — The city of Irvine has again been named the Safest City in America.

​Each year the FBI ranks the public safety levels of U.S. cities according to population and considers a number of factors including murder, rape, assault, burglary, arson and auto theft.  This is the 13th year in a row Irvine has held the top spot as America’s Safest City among cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Irvine Chief of Police Mike Hamel said, “The safety of our City is truly a collaborative effort. The dedicated men and women of the Irvine Police Department work tirelessly every day to keep our community safe. Our residents and members of the business community partner with IPD to prevent and help solve crime. Our City leaders have always made public safety a top priority, ensuring IPD has the resources necessary to provide only the highest level of service to the public. It is this comprehensive effort that has allowed Irvine to preserve the safety and quality of life our residents have long enjoyed.”

Councilmember Melissa Fox said, “We are America’s safest city because the men and women of the Irvine Police Department continue to perform their duties at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.  Our community knows that our police officers treat everyone with fairness and respect, and are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our residents and defending the Constitution of our country.  Thank you, Irvine Police Department.”

For more information on programs and services provided by the Irvine Police Department, visit irvinepd.org.

To view the FBI report, visit http://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s.