A campaign by some Agoura Hills homeowners to close a road they say brings a daily stream of annoying and dangerous truck traffic through their bucolic neighborhood has hit a dead end, at least for this year.
After hearing more than four hours of emotional testimony from residents who want Medfield Street closed and from business owners who want it to remain open, the Agoura Hills City Council voted unanimously to postpone action until January to give it more time to study the matter.
More than 100 people packed City Council chambers for a public hearing, which lasted until 12:30 a.m. Thursday. Later, a half dozen bleary-eyed residents went to an all-night coffee shop to consider suing the city in an attempt to close the road.
No Action Taken
But the residents took no action, said Diane Venable, head of a group called Committee to Close Medfield, made up of about 50 Old Agoura residents.
"The ball is rolling now and we are not going to stop until the road is closed," Venable said later Thursday. "We're just not sure, right at this minute, what the best approach would be."
Venable told the council that traffic traveling along Medfield Street to and from a nearby Agoura Hills commercial district endangers children and other residents.
The road, only a few blocks long, cuts through the south side of Old Agoura, an area of about 1,500 homes. It was built as a private dirt road by a developer about five years ago, shortly before the city was incorporated. Even though residents contend that the road is illegal because it was put in without county approval, the city allowed the developer to pave it and has kept it open to ease the area's acute traffic problems.
About 3,000 vehicles a day use the street to avoid the intersection of Kanan Road and Canwood Street, which officials describe as one of the city's most congested and dangerous.
Traffic frequently grinds to a halt at the congested intersection, which has the highest accident rate in the city, said Vince Mastrosimone, public works director. City officials oppose the closing of Medfield Street, saying it would funnel even more traffic into the Kanan-Canwood area.
Road Called Essential
Some speakers told the council they consider the road essential to their businesses.
"My employees are fearful at that intersection, and they said they would have major doubts about working for me if that street is closed," said Lora Moody, owner of an insurance firm in the area. Speakers chided the council for allowing new businesses to set up in an area with inadequate roads, and other speakers said the city could face lawsuits if a child is killed or injured because of the road.
A city engineer's report has recommended making Medfield Street one-way running east, a step that could ease traffic by reducing truck use by about 41%, Mastrosimone said.