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City Transportation Officials Report on Traffic Signal Project

Community Council members receive an update on an upgrade of signal timing and infrastructure along Sunset Boulevard designed to improve traffic flow.

Engineers from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation spoke about the ongoing traffic signal upgrade on Sunset Boulevard at the Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting Thursday.

The council heard a presentation from Manoochehr Adhamiwil, who is in charge of the design and construction of the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control System, or ATSAC.

"Your system in Pacific Palisades consists of 29 intersections along Sunset Boulevard and some other smaller streets," Adhamiwil said.

"ATSAC is a computer-based traffic signal control system that monitors traffic conditions ... selects appropriate signal timing ... strategies, and performs equipment diagnostics and alert functions," according to the city's website.

ATSAC, which originated in 1984, utilizes a network of sensors embedded in city streets that measure the number of vehicles, vehicle speed and the level of congestion presently centered around 4,000 of Los Angeles' more than 4,300 intersections with traffic signals, Adhamiwil said. Computer systems as well as human operators keep an eye on the system's information and adjust signal timing if a traffic jam warrants it.

The ATSAC Operations Center beneath City Hall is the central location for the traffic monitoring system, which also utilizes closed-circuit television cameras to give operators a bird's-eye view of actual traffic conditions. More than 270 cameras have been installed all over Los Angeles.

"The system is designed for us to have control downtown so we can see what's happening throughout the city," Adhamiwil said.

"It's designed not to encourage or discourage speeding, it's basically just to maintain the speed limit that's stated on the street," he added. "So if it's 35 miles per hour, we design the system so that if you do faster than that, you may end up hitting a red light."

Adhamiwil also noted that the traffic signal infrastructure in the Palisades is aging. He said older wiring and poles are not as sturdy and wind-resistant as the new models his project has installed.

The project, which started last summer and is expected to wrap up in July, cost $6 million of state and city funds, Adhamiwil said. Palisades intersections accounted for $3.9 million of a $6 million total cost for the project that came from state and city funds. The remainder covered other parts of what Adhamiwil described as ATSAC's Canyon System.

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