Traffic dominated the agenda as elected officials from Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Culver City and Santa Monica met last week for their second Westside regional summit.
The summits are designed to be a forum for developing solutions to problems that cannot be confined to city limits. Thursday's gathering found the leaders exploring ways to unofficially promote cooperation and coordination on such traffic problems as lane closures, synchronized traffic signals and efficient management of through traffic on major arteries.
At a working lunch in the Beverly Hills City Council chambers, the representatives agreed that shared information could be one of the meetings' most useful products.
Los Angeles Councilman Mike Woo reported that his absent colleague, Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, was planning to introduce an ordinance to expand Los Angeles' existing ban on lane closures by utility crews in the downtown area during peak traffic hours. Noting that the proposal was partly a result of ideas raised at the previous summit in February, Woo offered to send the other officials copies of Yaroslavsky's proposal, which he said would cover a wider area of the city.
When Santa Monica Mayor Dennis Zane, a first-time summit participant, learned that West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles last year jointly launched a major traffic study, he said: "Our city would be interested in joining the process."
But discussion of what the summit could and could not do took up considerable time. "I wouldn't feel comfortable with this group taking official action without a clear understanding of who the 'we' is," said Los Angeles Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, also attending for the first time. "We (each) can't commit an entire City Council."
Nevertheless, the group agreed to meet every other month and to have their staffs meet regularly.
In addition to Woo, Zane and Galanter, those attending the regional summit were Councilman John Ferraro of Los Angeles; David Finkel, mayor pro tem of Santa Monica; Mayor Abbe Land and Councilman John Heilman of West Hollywood; Councilwoman Jozelle Smith of Culver City; Vice-Mayor Vicki Reynolds of Beverly Hills, who initiated the summit, and Beverly Hills Councilman Bernard J. Hecht.