September 26, 2020

SMART Families Responds to September 24 Zoom Meeting with Public Works Department

SMART Families Responds to September 24 Zoom Meeting with Public Works Department

On September 24, SMART Families met virtually with the City of South Pasadena Public Works Department as part of a community call to discuss the concerns about Meridian Avenue and receive feedback and information regarding steps that the city is taking to address these concerns. This meeting resulted in a very productive and collaborative conversation, and it is clear that the city is starting to take action. The following are emails that SMART Families sent to the City Councilmembers and Public Works Department, thanking them for their efforts thus far:

Dear Council Members Schneider and Rossi and MTIC Vice Chair Abelson:

Thank you so much for your participation at Thursday's Zoom meeting with the Public Works Department and representatives from SMART Families. Our residents appreciated the efforts undertaken by Public Works Department in preparing for this meeting, especially Mr. Abbas, hearing our concerns, and working toward collaboratively resolving those issues.

The meeting was the most productive since we began these conversations earlier in the year.  We will be writing a separate thank you email to Mr. Abbas,  Ms. Barakazyan, and Mr. Crawford for their professional and clearly thoughtful presentation.

We are most grateful to Council Member Rossi and Schneider willingness to meet with Mr. Abbas to see if some accommodations are possible to finally resolve the three-way stop system at Meridian/Oak. Vice Chair Abelson’s email to Mr. Abbas was a well thought out strategy that provides a solid foundation for justifying the stop sign system at Meridian and Oak.  We believe that the issue of liability that the City has repeatedly brought up in the past goes both ways should litigation result from an irresponsible driver or a tragically hurt resident.  That intersection is dangerous and we want all pedestrians, especially our children, to be safe when crossing.  Cars turning from Oak and onto Meridian will have a greater opportunity to do so if all cars come to a complete stop.

We do view this as Phase I, recognizing that other enhancements will not be possible until Meridian is repaved.  But with each improvement in the coming weeks and months, we hope to see some differences.  We will keep you apprised as the solutions are implemented along the Meridian Corridor.

All of these recent changes in the Public Works Department are due in no small way to your tenacity and willingness to engage in creative solutions and abilities to get things done.

We so appreciate your time and efforts.

Most sincerely,
SMART Families

Dear Garrett:

It was great to virtually meet you and Tatevik during the community call on September 24, 2020.  We are most optimistic about the positive actions that are moving forward for the Meridian Corridor.  We wanted to touch base on two items on the Meridian Check List that we did not have a chance to discuss, as well as follow up on some additional action items that were put forward on the call. Check List Items

  1. Slow Speed Signage -- (Recommended by Mayor Joe) --  We do think any signage that alerts drivers to slow down are useful.  However, the problem with the signs that were placed were not very official in appearance, and did not coordinate well with areas of the street where they were placed.  For example, there is a sign close to Kendall Avenue going north on Meridian Avenue that warns of pedestrians and bikes, but it was nowhere near an actual crosswalk (e.g., at Meridian/Maple crosswalk).
  2. Slow Streets Signage -- This signage would be most helpful on the side streets crossing Meridian Avenue such as Maple Street, Pine Street, Valley View Road, etc.  Can you give us an update as to funding for this project?

Follow Up Items:

  1. It would really be helpful that before stripping the roadway begins in the areas of the curve (south of Braewood Estates and just before Meridian/Oak), Public Works maintenance staff would go out first and fill in the numerous small pot holes.  That stretch of pavement is really, really bad and the painting might not hold up for long due to the crumbling of the pavement
  2. Coordinate with Police Department and SPUSD regarding the permission to park for special school and community events, such as Football Games, 4th of July Fireworks, etc. on the stretch of road between “x and y” once the curbs have been painted red for the Edge Line Striping.
  3. Install a new “no truck over 3 tons” sign for the intersection of Meridian Avenue and Monterey Road.
  4. Investigate the stretch of red curb on Meridian Avenue between Valley View Road and Bonita Drive to determine if some of that space could be converted back to parking spaces.
  5. Maintain communication regarding the replacement of lights for the crosswalk at Oak Street and Meridian Avenue, and communicate the "back up plan" should these lights no longer be available.
  6. Advise as to the status of hedge trimming at Oak Street and Meridian Avenue and subsequent actions to be taken if noncompliance by October 15, 2020.
  7. Painting the curb red inside existing crosswalk on Meridian Avenue, just north of Maple Street.
  8. Install paddles at crosswalk on Oak Street and Meridian Avenue.

We reached out to Mr. Abbas requesting a copy of the presentation by Tatevik to post on the SMART Families’ website and Facebook pages.   We would appreciate your follow up with our request. Again, we are most appreciative of the cooperation and efforts to work together toward a safer Meridian Corridor for our residents and the entire community.  Thank you.

With kind regards,
SMART Families

Dear Mr. Abbas:

Thank you for your participation in Thursday’s Zoom meeting with representatives from SMART Families. We were pleased to have the opportunity to ‘meet’ Ms. Tatevick Barakazyan, Project Engineer, and Mr. Garrett Crawford, Public Works Operations Manager, and sincerely appreciated the thoughtful, respectful, and a true collaborative conversation about improvements to the Meridian Corridor that were engaged by all.

Ms. Barakazyan gave a thorough and well-documented presentation on the proposed improvements.  We would appreciate receiving a copy of her presentation for distribution to SMART Families, via our internet site and Facebook page, to show the progress beginning to be made.  We truly value this experience in how you and your team were willing to hear us, describe for us what was possible, and work toward reasonable solutions. We also recognize that these near-term measures are useful, but understand that other measures cannot be implemented until the Meridian Corridor is repaved.

We will be following up with Mr. Crawford, who you have assigned to be responsible and responsive to the community. While major issues were discussed in depth during our meeting, a couple of Checklist Items were not mentioned.  We will be contacting Mr. Crawford for an update, as well as to review the additional elements discussed, such as the “no truck over 3 tons” sign for the intersection of Meridian Avenue and Monterey Road.

Please continue to have your staff coordinate directly with SMART Families at

Thank you so much for this positive and productive experience.

SMART Families