Reminding LW residents about driving rules is not enough

In Sun Newspaper (Feb. 8, 2024) SBPD Capt. Nick Nicholas responds to a question about vehicles turning right into Leisure World Main Gate from the middle traffic lane on Seal Beach Boulevard. His message is “It’s dangerous and illegal”.

My question is: Why are drivers violating rules and putting in danger their and other peoples’ lives? The answers are simple:

This dangerous situation was created by GRF management, who on January 17, 2024, started a new RFID Gate Access system. On January 24, 2023, GRF Board approved $423,485 “New Gate Access System”, which GRF tried to present as some IT project, which it is not. It is a major modification of the Leisure World Gates entrances. Administration presented to the Board unprepared project, they do not listen to Board Directors and GRF members concerns regarding that unnecessary and very expensive project.

Leisure World was developed in the early 1960s, when Building Codes were different, and traffic at Seal Beach Blvd and Saint Andrews Dr. was much smaller.

Like any project this one must start with Engineering Study, but not with GRF current management. In my comments at GRF Board meeting I said that this Project is going to repeat mistakes of many past Projects, such as Globe, North Gate, Telecommunication, Street Paving and more. The difference is that all past projects suffered big financial losses paid by GRF members and nobody was held accountable. The current Project, in addition to financial losses, could create a disaster at the Main Gate entrance, at Seal Beach Boulevard traffic and OC and Long Beach Buses traffic.

On April 23, 2023, I sent A Letter to City Seal Beach Manager Jill R. Ingram regarding concern with that project and asked City to request that GRF to comply with Orange County Fire Authority Standard B-09. The requirements are: (quote) “Plans shall be provided to demonstrate compliance with all codes and other regulations governing water availability for firefighting and emergency access”.

GRF planned Under the Project to install electronic operated permanent barriers, kiosks, the way vehicles will enter the community to be changed. Will be the new system available to manage existing traffic, are the shapes of turns comply with standards and codes requirements, where unauthorized vehicles will make U-turn, and many more questions must be answered by the Master Plan. It should be approved by Orange County Fire authority.

In response I received a Letter, dated April 27, 2023, and signed by “GRF Management Team”, part of which I would like to quote: “OCFA Fire Marshall Inspectors checked the gates, and they are complaint.” I agree with it. Today millions of houses and Master Plans of communities do not in compliance with current codes and Standards, but Building Inspectors and Fire Marshalls will not require homeowners to comply with. Everything will change when you decide to remodel your house or reshape, as in Leisure World, the Gates Entrance System – Compliance with OCFA Standard B-09 will be mandatory.

Only after City Seal Beach Manager request, on July 2023, six months after the Project was approved, the GRF Board hired Urban Crossroad (quote) “to complete a traffic study and provide solutions to the Main gate entry.”

This very expensive and dangerous Project must be immediately stopped. Authorities should not wait until accidents take place. The question is not will it happens. The question is when.

Mark Pogrebinsky

Leisure World