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Parking Crunch Makes Strand Life No Day at the Beach


Dear Street Smart:

Parking and traffic on Ocean Drive in Hollywood Beach is becoming an increasing problem.

On a recent Monday morning at 7 a.m., there were seven boat trailers, five large recreational vehicles and nine pickups with camper rigs parked on the street between Channel Islands Boulevard and the jetty.

By 9 a.m., when residents' vehicles were largely gone, commercial vehicles took their place.

There are no sidewalks, and on weekends the bicyclists and pedestrians who use the street, coupled with the residents' vehicles, make Ocean Drive all but impassable.

I thought I had read more than a year ago that on-street parking was to be prohibited and that the area would be appropriately posted.

Is there any change in sight? If not, what can we do about it?

Ried Bridges, Oxnard

Dear Reader:

Unfortunately, a solution to the Hollywood Beach traffic crunch is just about as hard to find as a parking space.

Part of the problem is that Hollywood Beach and neighboring Silver Strand, two unincorporated surf-side communities surrounded by Oxnard and Port Hueneme, were subdivided in the late 1920s for small weekend cottages.

The developers obviously never anticipated modern-day traffic jams when they designed the narrow streets. And they probably didn't expect that residents would expand these cottages into full-size houses and live in them year-round.

Several years ago, a community panel looked at the parking problems. Its recommendations led the county to ban on-pavement parking on roads in Hollywood Beach and Silver Strand that were 20 feet wide or less.

Firefighters said they need the streets clear so they can respond to emergencies.

But Ocean Drive is at least 30 feet wide, so firetrucks should be able to get through. At the same time, some Ocean Drive residents would have no place to put their cars if on-street parking were banned.

Finally, the California Coastal Commission would probably oppose an Ocean Drive parking ban because it would decrease public access to the beach.

For these reasons, the advisory committee did not endorse the parking ban you're seeking, says Gerard Kapuscik, general manager of the Channel Islands Beach Community Services District.

If you still disagree, you'll have to persuade county administrators to revisit the issue.


Dear Street Smart:

I think it's about time the responsible party properly repairs the railroad crossing on California 118, west of Moorpark, between Grimes Canyon and Balcom Canyon roads.

The eastbound shoulder is so full of large holes that it is impossible to ride a bicycle across the tracks without entering the traffic lane. There are enormous holes in the asphalt.

How much longer are they going to wait? This would seem to be a prime candidate for a rubberized railroad crossing.

Kermit Heid, Moorpark

Dear Reader:

Caltrans is aware of the crumbling pavement at this crossing. But to some extent the agency's hands are tied.

State workers are responsible for this highway, but they are supposed to stay several feet away from any railroad crossing. The railroads "frown on anybody other than their people working on their tracks' right-of-way," says Dave Servaes, Caltrans' Ventura County maintenance supervisor.

Roads that are crossed by rail tracks often take a beating from the weight and shaking of each passing train. The problem is, railroad crews have a lot of ground to cover. It often takes them quite a while to get to a particular crossing that needs repairs.

When a safety hazard exists--such as the large holes you described--state and county crews sometimes notify the railroad and do temporary patching themselves. Servaes says this has been done at the crossing you mentioned.

There is more good news. Caltrans agrees that this site is a leading candidate for rubberized crossing materials. This would result in a smoother ride for cars and bicycles.

Caltrans has been trying to get Southern Pacific Transportation Co., owner of this track, to speed up the project.

An installation date is not set. But Servaes says, "I've been assured it's in the very near future."


Dear Street Smart:

I read in your fine column last week about the traffic problems on Wendy Drive--where I live--south of the Ventura Freeway in Newbury Park. A reader proposed a parking ban on part of Wendy Drive so it would be easier for drivers on Alice Drive, a side street, to see oncoming traffic when they turn onto Wendy.

But here's a better idea. The heavy traffic on Wendy Drive would be alleviated really quickly if Reino Road were cut through to the freeway.

Why isn't this being done? It would provide another route to the freeway and reduce traffic on Wendy Drive.

It could be paid for by all the new development in Thousand Oaks. They're adding to the traffic on Wendy Drive.

I don't object to our carrying a fair share of the traffic, but we don't want to carry it all.

Frank Hogya, Newbury Park

Dear Reader:

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