Traffic Engineering

Traffic Engineering has a host of responsibilities. Its main purpose is to provide and maintain safe and efficient movement for vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic throughout the City. Contact Public Works with any questions.

All reported accidents in the city are logged and are then used for planning of project and traffic studies.These studies include, but are not limited to: all-way stop and traffic signal warrant analysis, review of sight distance and installation of traffic control devices.

Traffic Warrant Study

Warrant Study for TRAFFIC SIGNAL

The primary function of the traffic signal is to assign right-of-way at an intersection.Through the assignment of time, each movement enters the intersection without conflict. When a signal is properly timed, it can increase intersection capacity and is a valuable device for enhancing the safety and efficiency of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic and may reduce certain types of accidents, most notably, right-angle (broadside) collisions.

To determine if a traffic signal is warranted, evaluation is performed utilizing nationally accepted warrants for traffic signal from both the State of California and Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device (MUTCD). The warrants analyze the following factors:

  1. Minimum Vehicular Volumes Warrant
  2. Interruption of Continuous Traffic Warrant
  3. Minimum Pedestrian Volume Warrant
  4. School Crossing Warrant
  5. Progression movement Warrant
  6. Accident Experience Warrant
  7. System Warrant
  8. Peak Hour Delay Warrant
  9. Peak Hour Volume Warrant

Special Signal Functions

1. Flashing Red

According to the California Vehicle Codes, when the red indication on the signal head is flashing, a driver shall 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.

2. Flashing Yellow

When the yellow indication on the signal head is flashing, a driver may proceed into the intersection with caution.

3. Dark Signal

When the signal indications have gone dark due to power failure or other factors then the intersection is to function the same way as an all-way stop intersection. A driver must stop before entering the intersection.

4. Pedestrian Signals

  1. “Walk” or the "walking person" indication means that pedestrians facing the signal may start to walk across the street after checking to see that cross traffic has stopped.
  2. “Flashing Don’t Walk” means that the pedestrian should not start to cross the street. For pedestrians who already began crossing (in the crosswalk) there will be sufficient time for the pedestrians to complete crossing the street before opposing traffic enters the intersection.
  3. “Don’t Walk” steady mode, means that a pedestrian should not enter the roadway/crosswalk because the signal is about to change and there won’t be enough time for the pedestrian to clear the intersection.

Warrant Study for Stop Signs

Stop sign requests are one of the more popular requests we get each year. Usually, the stop sign request is to reduce accidents and speeding. Studies have shown that other measures are often more effective than adding more stop signs. For instance, our experience has shown that simply improving the intersection visibility is often more effective in reducing traffic accidents. Improving sight visibility at intersections often reduces the need to install more restrictive intersection control.

Warrants for Stop Signs Installation

The Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices dictates the size, shape and color of all traffic signs. This manual has guidelines for sign installation and therefore sets uniformity between states and cities.The State of California has similar guidelines as the Federal and these are followed by the City of Hawthorne.

Traffic Impact Review

The review process works closely with developers and residents to ensure that the General Plan Circulation Element and zoning codes are met by the new development. If the development generates any significant impacts, it must mitigate its impact on the City’s street network system. The process also reviews the development’s on-site circulation, pedestrian amenities, driveway locations/access points and parking evaluation.

Traffic Impact Studies included:

  1. Century Business Center (located on Jack Northrop between Crenshaw Blvd. and Prairie Ave.).
  2. Central Park Specific Plan (Lee’s Homes located at the southwest corner of 120th Street and Van Ness Ave.).  The development consists of a Target Store and residential development.
  3. 360 William Lyon Homes (located at the southeast corner of Aviation Blvd. and El Segundo Blvd.-residential development).
  4. Primavera Courts Specific Plan (located on Hawthorne Blvd. between 138th and 141stStreet – mix-used development of commercial and residential).
  5. Ocean Park Village Specific Plan (Hawthorne mall – mix use of commercial and residential development.

Speed Humps Policy
Adopted February 2001

It is the policy of the City of Hawthorne to consider requests for speed humps as outlined below.

1)   Speed Humps on streets adjacent to schools.

Speed humps on streets adjacent to schools will be considered for installation upon request from the School District Superintendent.  The Police Department Traffic Bureau and the Public Works Department Engineering Division will confer on these requests and make recommendations to the City Manager.  Upon approval by the City Council of specific speed hump installations adjacent to schools, it will be the policy of the City to pay for their installation.

2)  Speed Humps on streets in residential areas not adjacent to schools.

Residents may request the City to investigate specific streets for speed hump installation. When such a request is made the following procedure will be followed.

a.)  A Petition is Required. 

Before the City will consider such requests, the residents making such a request must submit to the City Clerk a petition signed by at least 2/3rds of the residents on each city block where speed hump installation is requested.

      b.)  If Standard City Criteria for Speed Humps are met.

Upon receipt and verification of a petition by the City Clerk’s office, the verified petition will be forwarded to the Engineering Division of Public Works for study and report to the City Council.  The Engineering Division report will determine whether the subject street meets the City’s standard criteria for speed hump installation.  These standard criteria are as follows:

i)    Traffic volume on the subject street of between 500 to 2000 vehicles per day.

ii)    85% of vehicles are 7 mph or more over the speed limit.

iii)   The street is a residential street not over 40 feet in width.

iv)   The gradient of the street does not exceed 2.5%.

If upon investigation the Engineering Division determines that the street meets all of the above criteria, this will be reported to the City Council with the recommendation that a speed hump be installed at City expense.

c.)  If Standard City Criteria for Speed Humps are not met.

In the event that the criteria outlined in paragraph 2 b) are not met, the Engineering Division will report this to the City Council.  In this event, the City Council may direct that the speed hump will:

 i)    Not be installed.  In this case the residents will be informed of the City Council’s decision or ….

 ii)   The City Council will direct the installation of the speed hump pending collection and deposit of funds sufficient to install the speed hump and appurtenant signs and striping.  The Engineering Division will supply the petitioning residents with the approximate costs of the speed hump installation, and it will be the resident’s sole responsibility to obtain the necessary funds from the residents on the affected street.

Policy for Granting an on-street Handicapped Parking Space

1. The City only grants permits for on-street handicapped parking spaces, if there is no area on the private property for loading and unloading of handicapped persons.

2. The person residing at the location uses the space on a daily basis.

3. The request for disabled parking shall be accompanied by an original physician’s verification including the following information:

· Type of disability
· Status of disability as to permanent or temporary duration
· Physician’s telephone number for verification

4. If location is determined to be possible, and is in a residential neighborhood, a petition will be required and signed by adjacent residents and the three (3) residents directly on the opposite side of the street.

5. If approved, an installation fee of $200.00 is required.

6. Applications can be obtained from Public Works counter at City Hall. Call for additional information.