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How About Installing a Turn Lane on Confusion Corner?

October 17, 1994|SARA CATANIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

I've been following the letters concerning the need for a traffic signal or stop sign at Westlake Boulevard and Bridgegate Street in Thousand Oaks.

There is a relatively inexpensive partial fix that I think could help. Most of the drivers going south on Westlake and turning right onto Bridgegate fail to use their turn signals. If a right-turn-only lane with a raised divider were installed, turning cars could use this lane. This would improve the traffic flow and end the confusion for pedestrians and motorists waiting to cross the intersection.

I hope the traffic engineers don't take a "not invented here" attitude on this suggestion, as they seem to do on other good ideas they don't come up with themselves.

James Litman

Westlake Village

Dear Reader:

Your attempt to address concerns of residents over the lack of a traffic signal at the Westlake-Bridgegate intersection is admirable, but it would create a hazard at the intersection, traffic engineer Jeff Knowles says.

The problem, he says, is that if you turn part of a straight-ahead lane into a turning lane, drivers will get confused.

Those who do not want to turn will continue going straight, creating a hazard for all the motorists who thought everybody in the right lane would be turning.

These lanes, called "trap lanes," are used only in extreme cases where they help alleviate some other major traffic problem, Knowles says.

Even if the city did install the right-turn lane, he says, it would not address the majority of concerns he has heard from residents about this intersection.

"What they are asking for is for us to make it easier to get across the street," Knowles says. "But if you compare it to other streets in the city, this is really not a problem intersection."

Some readers disagree, as the next letter indicates.

Dear Street Smart:

I read Street Smart every Monday, so I've been following the requests for some type of traffic control for pedestrians at Westlake and Bridgegate.

The fact that the city turned down the request, saying it doesn't meet their criteria, is a cop-out.

If the above is a valid reason for denying that request, then I think the manner in which a four-way stop sign was erected at the intersection of Pederson Road and Radcliffe Street bears closer scrutiny.

I learned from the crossing guard there that a city official's grandchild was almost run down by a car at that intersection.

A few days later the stop signs were up.

There was no waiting for someone to get hit by a car or to meet some specious criteria for such control.

I guess if you are "somebody" in the city hierarchy, you can get things done just by saying so.

What about the rest of us?

Harry Norkin

Thousand Oaks

Dear Reader:

Actually, city records show that the request for a stop sign at Pederson and Radcliffe came from the school district.

Although the intersection does not meet state guidelines for a four-way stop, a study by the city's traffic department showed that a curve on Pederson created a visibility problem for cars and pedestrians.

After 10 years of pleading by the school district, the city agreed to install the stop signs in 1990.

There is no record of a complaint from a city official or anyone else about a near-accident at the intersection, traffic engineer Jeff Knowles says.

Dear Street Smart:

The traffic light at Rose and Wooley in Oxnard has a left-turn arrow directing traffic toward Rose that functions inconsistently.

Sometimes traffic is forced to wait a whole cycle before the arrow kicks in.

This can be extremely frustrating. Can anything be done about this?

Karen M. Murphy

Oxnard

Dear Reader:

Something is being done, and that is the source of the problem.

You may have noticed some county maintenance workers in the area. They are doing roadwork that has caused traffic delays, Oxnard traffic engineer Joe Genovese says.

As a result of the roadwork, some of the detectors that control the timing of the lights have been out of service, but they should be up and running in a matter of days, Genovese says.

Residents who notice any signal timing problems can contact the Oxnard traffic department directly at 385-7866.

Write to Street Smart, The Times Ventura County Edition, 5200 Valentine Road, Suite 140, Ventura 93003. You may enclose a simple sketch if it will help Street Smart understand your traffic questions. Or call our Sound Off Line, 658-5546. Whether writing or calling, include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers. No anonymous queries will be accepted, and letters are subject to editing.

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