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Teens, Ignore Rumors: Legal Driving Age Is Still Sweet 16

STREET SMART

January 24, 1994|CAROLINE LEMKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

We would like to know what's going on with a law that we've heard about that supposedly says that if you were born in 1980, you cannot drive until you're 18 years of age. We have heard many different rumors saying both that the law has passed, and that it hasn't passed.

We want to know the truth. Is this actually a law, or is it only an urban myth?

The Eighth Grade Print Media Class St. Margaret's School San Juan Capistrano It's a myth. You can begin driving as early as age 15 1/2 if you meet the requirements to obtain a driver's learning permit and drive with someone who is 18 or older.

You can get a full-fledged driver's license at age 16 if you pass written and road tests, said Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Bill Madison.

Dear Street Smart:

When will Barranca Parkway in Irvine be open from Sand Canyon Avenue to Jeffrey Road?

Donald E. Nordstrom Laguna Hills Construction on the 1.6-mile extension of Barranca Parkway will begin in February, 1996, and should be completed by October of that year, said Timor Rafiq, principal transportation analyst for Irvine. The project is now in the design and funding phases.

Linking Sand Canyon and Jeffrey was not a priority until recently, when development began burgeoning in the area, Rafiq said. The practice in Irvine, as in many cities, is not to construct a street until developers begin to build in the area.

When it's done, Barranca's missing link will include two lanes in each direction, bicycle lanes, graded shoulders and landscaping, Rafiq said.

Dear Street Smart:

At Lambert Road and the Orange Freeway there is a park and ride. Access to it is easy if one is coming from the freeway or westbound on Lambert. However, for anyone who is trying to enter it coming from the west or south, a U-turn at the freeway is the only solution.

Also, to get back on the freeway in either direction is an exercise in courage and determination. You have to cross three lanes of traffic and then make a U-turn. Isn't there a safer way?

Peggy Markson Fullerton Caltrans spokeswoman Rose Orem says when the freeway interchange was originally designed, it provided for safe traffic flow to and from the freeway, but did not allow for any park-and-ride lots. The lot at Lambert Road was added years later by the Orange County Transportation Authority, she said.

Even though the park-and-ride lot does have some drawbacks, it is the only available site in the area for that purpose, Orem said.

On the strength of your letter, Caltrans will explore possible improvements. Any plans would have to involve the OCTA, the county and the city of Brea, where the lot is located, she said. Meanwhile, Caltrans suggests to cross the three lanes of traffic safely, you may have to give yourself more time and continue to the next intersection before completing the U-turn.

Dear Street Smart:

I'm writing about the feasibility of making a second left-turn lane from Camino del Avion onto Del Obispo Street in San Juan Capistrano.

During the school year, the left-turn lane is stacked two blocks at times. The option of looping around on Camino del Avion via Alipaz Street back to Del Obispo isn't that popular. I don't use it because it is longer and requires a longer wait trying to get back onto Del Obispo.

Camino del Avion has three southbound lanes. Why can't the middle lane be an optional left/straight lane since there are two lanes available and much fewer cars using it to proceed directly ahead?

Mae T. Nikaido South Laguna San Juan Capistrano's traffic engineer Bud Vokoun said your letter is the first time the city has been made aware of this situation. City traffic engineers will study the area and if, throughout the day, traffic seems to back up consistently, they may consider your suggestion to re-stripe the lanes, or implement another plan.

You are welcome to call Vokoun at (714) 493-1171, Ext. 200, in about two months to find out the results of the investigation.

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