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STREET SMART

Retrofitting Overpasses a Priority Over Widening Bridge

March 21, 1994|SARA CATANIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

The two-lane bridge on California 150 crossing San Antonio Creek on the east side of Ojai is narrow and dangerous.

California 150 is a popular bike riding route from Ojai to Soule (Recreation Area) and on to Santa Paula.

Additionally, this is the most direct route into town for the residents of east Ojai.

Both bicyclists and pedestrians have no choice but the ride/walk in the traffic lanes. To cross the bridge, they are forced to compete with cars traveling 45 to 50 m.p.h.

This creates an extremely dangerous situation, especially with the amount of automobile, bicycle and foot traffic over the bridge.

Can this bridge be widened and a bicycle lane added?

Michael R. Laber, Ojai

Dear Reader:

Right now, there are no plans to widen or change the bridge over San Antonio Creek, says Tony Colella, senior Caltrans engineer.

Although it does sound like there is a safety concern at the bridge, the state Department of Transportation has just embarked on a major bridge retrofitting project to make 45 overpasses in Ventura County--and 1,000 around the state--more earthquake-resistant.

Right now, that project takes top priority, so your bridge widening may have to wait.

*

Dear Street Smart:

How hard would it be to change the left-turn arrows at two consecutive intersections on Telephone Road in Ventura to allow more time for turning?

At both Clinton and Montgomery avenues, drivers are only allowed to turn left on a green arrow. Then the arrow turns red and you have to wait through a full light cycle for another chance to turn left.

Could the red arrow be removed so that drivers could turn left on green? It seems like these intersections are open and wide enough so that drivers can see oncoming traffic and make safe left turns on green.

One place where this works well is the intersection of Telephone and Saticoy Avenue.

Can this change be made?

Timothy J. Troske, Ventura

Dear Reader:

It wouldn't be hard, but it would be expensive to change the two intersections to allow motorists to turn left on a green light.

There have been major changes in state traffic signal regulations since the lights were installed at Clinton and Montgomery avenues.

So removing a red left-turn arrow isn't as simple as replacing it with a new signal.

The left-turn signals now at the two intersections are anchored to the median, a design Caltrans no longer permits.

To switch to left turn on green, new overhead signals, which cost $35,000 apiece, must be installed.

But take heart. Traffic engineer Nazir Lalani agrees that left turns should be permitted on green lights, and the funding is on the city's list of future projects.

*

Dear Street Smart:

I'm writing about a problem that for me is like fingernails on a blackboard.

I'm talking about a pothole.

This isn't just any pothole, but a sneaky little thing that gets me every time I drive down Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley.

The reason it's such a problem is that it's in the left-turn lane right before you get to Madera Road.

There's only one left-turn lane, so if you're turning left, you're bound to hit it. Unless you remember it's there ahead of time, boom, down you go.

Can the city fix this thing before it gets worse?

Kellie Linder, Simi Valley

Dear Reader:

That pothole is history.

Based on your complaint, city workers rushed out and filled the hole, says Traffic Engineer Bill Golubics.

"We try to take care of these problems right away," Golubics said. "But we don't see everything."

If you'd like to see all your pothole problems addressed this efficiently, report the nasty road dips to the Public Works Department by calling 583-0393.

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