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FAQ

How do I report a Traffic Signal concern?

To report a concern related to traffic signals, please contact Public Works Operations at (323) 722-4805 Ext. 4451.  Since the City contracts with more than one agency to provide signal maintenance service and repairs, please provide an accurate description of the intersection and an explicit description of the problem will assist City Staff to quickly determine the proper servicing agency to be notified. 


Can we have a Traffic Signal installed?

Each year, the City receives many inquiries concerning the operation and installation of traffic signals within the City.  Before installing a traffic signal at an intersection, established minimum criteria must be satisfied.  A traffic engineering study would have to be performed to review the volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, accident history, and other special conditions.  Based on the results of the study, staff will make a recommendation to the City’s Traffic Commission for consideration.

What do I do when I see a Traffic Signal flashing red?

According to the California Vehicle Code, when a red lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent red flashes, a driver shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. The driver may proceed, subject to the rules applicable to making a stop at a four-way stop controlled intersection.

What do I do when I see a Traffic Signal that is dark?

When a traffic signal has gone dark, due to power failure, it is considered to function the same way as a four-way controlled intersection. A driver must stop before entering the intersection.  The driver may proceed, subject to the rules applicable to making a stop at a four-way stop controlled intersection.

What is a crosswalk?

Crosswalks can be either "marked" or "unmarked." The California Vehicle Code defines a "crosswalk" as the portion of a roadway at an intersection, which is an extension of the curb and property lines of the intersecting street, or is any other portion of a roadway which is marked as a pedestrian crossing location by painted lines.

A "marked crosswalk" is any crosswalk which is delineated by white or yellow painted markings placed on the pavement. All other crosswalk locations are therefore "unmarked."

How are crosswalks used?

At any crosswalk (marked or unmarked), drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Crosswalks are marked mainly to encourage pedestrians to use a particular crossing. 

Studies conducted on the relative safety of crosswalks support minimal installation of marked crosswalks.  The City of San Diego studied intersections at which there were both marked and unmarked crosswalks. The results were surprising. Although 2.5 times as many people used the marked crosswalks, six times as many accidents occurred in the marked crosswalks. A pedestrian safety study in Long Beach reported eight times as many accidents in marked crosswalks compared to unmarked crosswalks. Similar studies in other cities have confirmed these results.

Such research suggests that a marked crosswalk can give pedestrians a false sense of security. At all crosswalks, both unmarked and marked, it is the pedestrians' responsibility to be cautious and alert while crossing.

Where are crosswalks normally marked?

Crosswalks are marked at intersections where there is substantial conflict between vehicle and pedestrian movements, where significant pedestrian concentrations occur, where pedestrians could not otherwise recognize the proper place to cross, and where traffic movements are controlled. Examples of such locations are:

  • Approved school crossings.
  • Signalized and four-way stop intersections where there is significant pedestrian traffic and one or more crossing locations have been prohibited.
These examples follow the philosophy of marking crosswalks as a form of encouragement. In the first case, we are encouraging school children to use a crossing which is normally being monitored. In the second case, we are encouraging all pedestrians to avoid a prohibited crossing.  It is the City's policy not to paint crosswalks at mid-block locations where traffic is not controlled by stop signs or traffic signals. Painted crosswalks should only be used where necessary to direct pedestrians along the safest route.

Can we have a Marked Crosswalk installed?

Each year, the City receives many requests to install marked crosswalks. Although such requests reflect a concern for pedestrians' welfare, we have found that marked crosswalks do not necessarily result in increased pedestrian safety.  Studies indicate that pedestrians are twice as likely to be struck in marked crosswalks as opposed to unmarked crosswalks.


Unfortunately, some pedestrians assume that the motorist will always stop.  Even under the best of conditions, motorists do not always see a crosswalk until it is too late to stop for pedestrians. Under the illusion that drivers will yield, pedestrians often enter the crosswalk believing that they are safe, which can have tragic results for the pedestrian.

Whether or not a painted crosswalk is present, pedestrians must be aware of two safety rules:

  • Stop and look before crossing the street.
  • Do not start crossing until you know that the motorist can see you and is stopping.
To request a crosswalk, please address a letter to the Public Works and Development Services Department, ATTN: Traffic Liaison, 2535 Commerce Way, Commerce, CA 90040.  Staff will evaluate the request and conduct the necessary traffic engineering studies to determine if a crosswalk is warranted at the location.  In instances where City staff does not have the resources to perform the engineering work, the applicant will be required to procure and provide the required studies at their own cost.  If it is determined that the crosswalk is warranted, the request will be forwarded to the Traffic Commission for further consideration. At such time that the Traffic Commission approves the request, it will be forwarded to the City Council for final approval or denial.

What is special about school crosswalks?


If a marked crosswalk has been established adjacent to a school building or school grounds, it is painted yellow if it is within 600 feet from a school building or grounds, and is known as a school crosswalk.

Crosswalks should be marked at all intersections on the "suggested route to school", available from your local school. They should also be marked where there is high conflict between vehicles and students (while crossing), where students are permitted to cross between intersections, or where students could not otherwise cross.

The best safety measure for school-age children is to educate them on how and where to safely cross the street.

Can the City install a Stop Sign at the intersection to slow traffic?

The installation of stop signs is NOT recommended for speed control, and should not be installed without meeting engineering warrants. Stop signs are seldom installed on high volume streets and are not typically installed unless there are accident problems at intersections, or if the traffic volume of the minor and major streets is approximately equal. 

Unwarranted stop signs unnecessarily increase congestion, commute time, fuel consumption, and noise and air pollution. Unwarranted stop signs contribute to the disrespect of stop signs and promotes rolling stops. 

Can the City lower the SPEED LIMIT?

In California, speed limits are governed by the California Vehicle Code (CVC) 22348 through 22413. The CVC allows local authorities to set speed limits between 25 mph and 55 mph on the basis of an engineering and traffic survey. The engineering and traffic survey determines the 85th percentile speed which is defined as the speed at or below which 85 percent of traffic is moving. Speed limits established on this basis conform to the consensus of those who drive on the roadways as to what speed is reasonable and safe, and are not dependent on the judgment of one or a few individuals.

Some widely held misconceptions are that a lowered speed limit reduces vehicle speed, minimizes accidents and increases safety. Before and after studies have shown that there are no significant changes in average speeds after new or revised speed limit signs have been posted. Research has also found no direct relationship between posted speed limits and accident frequency.

Posted speed limits which are not based on actual driving behavior encourage intentional violations, do not reduce vehicle speed, and are not enforceable when challenged in court. 


Are overwieght, commercial vehicles allowed to drive through my residential street?

Municipal Code 10.52.020 has established through-passage heavy truck routes in the city for commercial and all other vehicles exceeding a maximum gross weight limit of six thousand pounds.  It should be noted that overweight vehicles are not prohibited from making pickups or deliveries of goods, merchandise, construction materials (for projects with a building permit), or for any vehicle involved in the repair of a public utility.

The following streets have been identified as designated as truck routes:

(1)         Telegraph Road;

(2)         Washington Boulevard;


(3)         Bandini Boulevard, from Eastern Avenue to Greenwood Avenue;

(4)         Slauson Avenue;

(5)         Atlantic Boulevard;

(6)         Goodrich Boulevard;

(7)         Eastern Avenue south from Atlantic Boulevard to the south city limits at Randolph Street;

(8)         Eastland Avenue from Eastern Avenue to Washington Boulevard;

(9)         Malt Avenue from Telegraph Road to Garfield Avenue;

(10)       Garfield Avenue from Gage Avenue to Telegraph Road and from Ferguson to Malt Avenue;

(11)       Greenwood Avenue;

(12)       Ferguson Drive from Goodrich Boulevard to Gerhard Avenue;

(13)       Gerhart Avenue from Ferguson Drive to Olympic Boulevard;

(14)       Olympic Boulevard from Goodrich Boulevard to the easterly city limits;

(15)       Gage Avenue from Greenwood Avenue to Slauson Avenue;

(16)       Union Pacific Avenue between Goodrich Boulevard and Gerhart Avenue;

(17)       Pine Avenue, Oak Avenue, Elm Avenue, Arrowmill Avenue and Cobb Avenue between Washington Blvd and Pacific Way;

(18)       Pacific Way between Pine Avenue and Elm Avenue;

(19)       Pacific Way between Arrowmill Avenue and Cobb Street;

(20)       Flotilla Street between Saybrook Avenue and Yates Avenue;

(21)       Gayhart Street between Washington Boulevard and Saybrook Avenue;

(22)       Saybrook Avenue between Washington Boulevard and Flotilla Street;

(23)       Yates Avenue between Malt Street and Flotilla Street;

(24)       Garfield Avenue between Malt Avenue and Yates Avenue;

(25)       Corsair Avenue north of Washington Boulevard to its terminus;

(26)       Carrier Avenue north of Telegraph Road to its terminus;

(27)       Camfield Avenue between Telegraph Road and Flotilla Street;

(28)       Hoeffner Avenue between Telegraph Road and Flotilla Street;

(29)       Smithway between Gaspar Avenue and Flotilla Street;

(30)       Sycamore Street between Vail Avenue and the east city limits;

(31)       Vail Avenue between Sycamore Street and the north city limits;

(32)       Canning Avenue between Garfield Avenue and the westerly terminus;

(33)       Boxford Avenue north of Slauson Avenue to its terminus;

(34)       Noakes Avenue between the west city limits and Eastern Avenue;

(35)       Noakes Avenue between Herbert Street and Bonnie Beach Avenue;

(36)       Hicks Avenue, Rowan Avenue, and Eastman Avenue between Noakes Street and the north city limits;

(37)       Herbert Avenue and Noakes Street between the north city limits; and Bonnie Beach Avenue;

(38)       Union Pacific Avenue between Telegraph Road and Marianna Avenue;

(39)       Jillson Street between Eastern Avenue and O'Neill Avenue;