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June 18th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
After a member of the community expressed concern for the safety of patrons dining on the sidewalk on north Baldwin Ave, the Sierra Madre City Council was presented a report by Director Bruce Inman of Public Works at the Regular City Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2009. The department staff contacted the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (JPIA), a traffic engineer, the police, and other cities. JPIA said that they “did not believe [sidewalk dining] is an inherently dangerous practice.”
The city’s traffic engineer reported that a standard curb is generally considered an acceptable barrier to prevent accidents, especially when vehicles are travelling at speeds typical to urban areas. The police had no record of accidents involving sidewalk-dining patrons and vehicles, and the majority of other cities contacted said that a minimum setback from the street was adequate. Sierra Madre currently requires an 18-inch setback from the street.
While the given report did not recommend any necessary action, it did investigate bollards, which could potentially be used to prevent vehicles from injuring patrons. The bollards would be installed at each parking stall, with the total cost being $41,000. However, it was unclear whether the bollards would actually provide protection, or pose another possible hazard. Additionally, it could further reduce the already-limited sidewalk space.
The Sierra Madre City Council decided to receive and file the report, given that there was no present need and the sidewalk was not actually deemed unsafe. The council requested enforcement of the 18-inch setback by walking police officers, and agreed to revisit the item if it became an issue.
By Morgan Carpenter