TOOLING AROUND BRENTWOOD


[I have been waiting for a quiet Sunday night to do this one. Tonight was the night.]

We know (most of us do, anyway) that Heidstra saw Simpson in his white Bronco turn right from Dorothy Street, and proceed fast down Bundy. Very shortly later, Shively almost collided with him when he attempted to roar through the intersection of Bundy and San Vicente, against a red light, with his own headlights turned off. We have all wondered (haven't we?) just how long it would take Simpson to travel from where Heidstra saw him to where Shively saw him. I have always used the figure of two minutes for this, even though the direct route, if Simpson had made a left turn at
Dorothy and Bundy would have taken less than a minute.

THE SITUATION: There are a number of routes that one could take from south on Bundy at Dorothy to north on Bundy at San Vicente. I considered the three most obvious and direct routes:

South on Bundy to-

1. (left on) Darlington/(left on) Westgate/(left on) Gorham/(right
on) Bundy/San Vicente
2. (left on) Mayfield/(left on) Westgate/(left on) Gorham/(right on)
Bundy/San Vicente
3. (right on) Mayfield/(right on) Gretna Green/(right on)
Montana/(left on) Bundy/San Vicente

Except for the portion of these routes that is on Bundy or Montana, all of them are on typical residential streets, here solidly lined with parked cars leaving enough room that when two cars pass, they can do it with a little care, but safely at about 15 mph. Otherwise, a speed of about 25
mph is as fast as one can go without imperiling loose pets. In most places I traveled near 25mph.

TRIALS: I visited the area between 7:55pm and 8:12 on Sunday, November 29, 1998. Traffic on Bundy was light: a bunch of six to eight cars in a span of a minute going north, and a similar bunch going south; only very occasional cars occurred between bunches. In all of the trials
described here I only encountered one car on a residential street, that was a car going in the opposite direction on Gretna Green on Route 3. I was slightly slowed by being behind other traffic at Bundy just before San Vicente on Route 2; I did not make adjustment for that. There were two
causes for slowing in the whole exercise, both on Route 2: 5 seconds for pedestrians crossing Gorham at Westgate, and an 8 second stop for through traffic on Bundy at Gorham. As a result, 13 seconds has been deducted from the observed time of Route 2 to produce the "Actual" time reported below. Not once in three trials was it necessary to stop for the signal at Bundy
and Montana; "rolling stops" were used for boulevard stops where possible.

There was one other type of obstacle encountered: road contours. There is a vicious dip on Westgate at the north side of Darlington. There are also three speed bumps on Gretna Green.

The results of traversing these three routes are-

ROUTE DIST ACTUAL ADJUSTED SPEED
1 0.8 mi. 2:02 min. 1:50 @ 90% 26.2mph
2 0.9 mi. 2:22 min. 2:08 @ 90% 25.3mph
3 0.7 mi. 1:52 min 1:35 @ 85% 26.5mph

Distances were measured with the car's trip odometer, times with a stopwatch. The actual time is the raw value shown by the stopwatch, except for Route 2 which has been reduced by 13 second. I assume that Simpson drove faster than I did, and his assumed time is tabulated as "Adjusted" as a specified fraction of the "Actual" time. The average speed based on the "Adjusted" time is also shown.

All in all, I consider these results are a reasonable approximation to the real possibilities of Simpson's travel between the points in question. I shall continue to use a nominal value of 2 minutes for this.

OTHER: For a motorist stopped facing east on Dorothy at Bundy, the illumination of the place where Heidstra was - at Dorothy and the east alley - is fairly well illuminated by the light at the corner. The light is on the same corner and there are no intervening trees or buildings. I could see a dark car parked just beyond the alley, even though a dip in the street caused my own headlights to shine on the Bundy pavement. I believe that Simpson could have seen Heidstra, and think that such a realization could cause him to chose to turn right, rather than proceed across Bundy. (He did not turn left because he knew that if he did he would encounter his own dog wandering in forlorn confusion in the street.)

I was a little confused by the bright lights of the city, but I think the following is true: the Mezzaluna has been replaced by a restaurant called "Universal Pasta," and the Westward Ho Market has been replaced by a market called, "Whole Foods."

Dick Wagner ( Van Nuys, CA (11/29/98) NG_488

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