Dear Street Smart:
Entering into the new year, one of my resolutions was to write to Street Smart about a problem that's been bugging me, so here goes.
Everybody knows the Victoria Avenue-Ventura Freeway interchange is a mess, but a quick fix on a nearby roadway might help.
At the eastbound intersection of Valentine Road and Victoria, traffic always seems to be backed up.
One of the main problems is that most traffic turns left, but there is no left-turn arrow.
Most oncoming traffic turns right, but not everybody uses their turn signal. So cars sit there waiting to turn left when they could be moving if there were a left-turn signal.
Installing a left-turn arrow would help. Can it be done?
Mike Jansen, Ventura
There is a congestion problem at Victoria and Valentine, but a left-turn arrow would only make it worse, Ventura Associate Traffic Engineer Robert Yalda says.
The timing of signal lights at Valentine and Victoria is tricky, Yalda says, because of heavy traffic generated by the nearby Ventura Freeway access ramps.
Ventura traffic regulations allow a maximum of 110 seconds each for red and green lights. Extra green time for a left-turn arrow on Valentine would require a longer red light for cars on Victoria, which would cause additional backups, Yalda says.
If you are patient, however, you will be rewarded with a completely overhauled roadway.
As part of a major highway improvement project, city officials are meeting with the state Department of Transportation to redesign the off-ramps and nearby roadways.
The project should be underway within three years, Yalda says.
Dear Street Smart:
Now that the connector between the Simi Valley and Moorpark freeways is open, it seems like it would be a good idea to make some improvements on the Moorpark Freeway.
Right now, between Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, the freeway is only two lanes in each direction. Traffic can get pretty backed up during rush hour. Are there any plans to widen the freeway?
Ron Miller, Thousand Oaks
The good news is that there are plans to widen the Moorpark Freeway.
The bad news? It probably won't happen for another 10 years, says Chris Stevens, spokesman for the Ventura County Transportation Commission.
After about half a dozen years of waiting, the $19-million widening project is now No. 2 on the commission's list of unfunded projects--right behind the plan to widen the Simi Valley Freeway from Tapo Canyon Road to the Los Angeles County line.
When it does receive funding, the Moorpark Freeway project calls for paving the median, which would double the number of lanes from four to eight.
Dear Street Smart:
My car and I have a problem with speed humps in Simi Valley.
It seems like there's a hump, bump or lump in the middle of every parking lot in town.
There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to these roadblocks. They come in all sizes. Some are painted yellow, some white. But the worst ones aren't painted at all. You can't see them coming, and they make for a rude surprise.
Are there any city laws regulating speed humps? Shouldn't drivers at least be warned that the humps are there?
Bea Johnson, Simi Valley
Whether it's a speed hump, concrete barrier or a row of metal spikes to punch holes in your tires, the city has no control over what property owners put in their parking lots.
"It would be like the city telling you what color to paint your house," Traffic Engineer Bill Golubics said. "These are operations improvements that are up to the property owners to install and maintain."
When it comes to city streets, however, there are strict rules on what speed humps should look like and where they can be installed.
The city has installed black-and-white-striped humps on 17 streets in Simi Valley, and all of them are three inches high and 12 feet wide.
"These humps are gradual undulations in the pavement, not the abrupt bumps you find in many parking lots," Golubics said.
Disabled Ventura County residents who want to use public transportation can get priority service through the county's Dial-A-Ride van program.
Residents who qualify will receive a special card showing that they have been certified for the door-to-door service.
Call (800) 438-1112 for information.