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NO MORE 'HANDS OFF' FOR SPEEDERS CHP WILL ENFORCE LAW IN NEW TRACTS.

Byline: Nicholas Grudin Staff Writer

Speeders are no longer safe from tickets on streets within unfinished subdivisions - the California Highway Patrol recently expanded its jurisdiction to include developments awaiting county acceptance, officials said Wednesday.

According to residents of Stevenson Ranch and other unfinished subdivisions outside Santa Clarita city limits, unpatrolled neighborhoods have been terrorized by rushed commuters with no enforced speed limits.

``It's horrible the way people drive here - it's basically a nightmare. We live in a residential zone, which should be 25 mph, and I get people going 50, 60 mph,'' said Jim Goldstein, who lives in the Lowridge subdivision in Saugus, where two of his neighbor's dogs were recently killed by speeding drivers.

``Should I be afraid to go into the street to get a ball after paying the price that I paid for my house? We're already looking to move anywhere but here,'' said Kathy Goldstein, Jim Goldstein's wife, who doesn't let her two young daughters play in the front yard.

Kathy Goldstein brought the issue to the attention of county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who put a motion before the board May 20 seeking more information about the CHP's jurisdiction over roadways yet to be turned over to the county by the developers who own the land.

According to Millie Jones, a senior deputy for Antonovich, county and law enforcement officials had been working under the assumption that the roads yet to be accepted by the county could not be patrolled.

Several speeding tickets were even rescinded after being challenged in traffic courts, Jones said.

``This has been an ongoing problem in Stevenson Ranch for years. Until the roads are (accepted), the CHP does not have the authority to issue citations on the roads,'' said Paul Ash, president of the West Ranch Town Council, which covers Stevenson Ranch and several other developments.

But after researching laws already on the books, the CHP discovered an obscure 1966 law from Santa Barbara County that states that privately owned land can be subject to traffic laws under the current circumstances around Santa Clarita.

``The attorney general formed an opinion in 1966 that the CHP does have the responsibility to enforce all roads under question,'' said Byron Wong, spokesman for the Newhall area CHP.

Wong said the new traffic enforcement is already taking place, although no speed-limit signs have yet been erected.

``Most areas will either be categorized as residential zones, where the speed limit is 25 mph, or as highway, where the speed limit will be 55 mph,'' said Dennis Hunter, principal civil engineer for the county.

The 25 mph and 55 mph speed limits will be enforced without any signage, according to Hunter, who says the maximum speed limits for areas are listed in the state Vehicle Code.

Nicholas Grudin, (661) 257-5255

nicholas.grudin(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 5, 2003
Words:469
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