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STREET SMART

Yield Signs, Though Odd, Necessary for Odd Intersection

October 24, 1994|SARA CATANIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

I'm confused about who has the right of way at Via Baja and Via Plaza in Ventura.

This intersection is unusual, because instead of stop signs there are yield signs on each corner. These signs seem to confuse just about everybody who drives through.

Why this odd signage, and who has the right of way?

Norm Hoff, Ventura

Dear Reader:

The signage is odd, admits traffic engineer Nazir Lalani. But it is the best way the city has figured out to deal with the T-shaped intersection.

Traffic workers tried installing a stop sign on Via Plaza, but the road is so short--just a few hundred feet--that cars sometimes had a hard time coming to a complete stop by the time they got to the intersection.

The traffic flow has increased dramatically at this intersection in recent months, probably because cars are seeking an alternate route to Kimball Road, which has been closed intermittently for major repairs, Lalani says.

He promises that once the Kimball Road repairs are completed, the city will reassess traffic at Via Baja and Via Plaza and decide if the signage should be changed.

Regarding protocol at yield signs, it's the same as at stop signs: Whoever gets to the intersection first has the right of way.

The only difference is that, unlike intersections with stop signs, if no other cars are present at the yield sign intersection, vehicles can pass through without stopping.

*

Dear Street Smart:

I appreciate your response to my question in the Sept. 19 Street Smart column concerning the very long red light at Telephone Road and Johnson Drive.

However, I was not entirely satisfied with the response.

You quote a traffic engineer who says that the signal stays red for so long because of heavy traffic, which he claims lasts from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

I find it hard to believe that the traffic flow remains at a high volume for that entire 13-hour period.

Does this same theory apply to other major intersections around the city?

Also, the city traffic engineer insists that at no time during the signal cycle is traffic in all four directions at a complete standstill.

I disagree. I suggest you check this intersection for yourself, and you will find that all traffic does come to a stop.

This might do away with glib non-answers, although they are probably good enough for government work.

James M. Crosser, Ventura

Dear Reader:

Ventura traffic engineer Nazir Lalani says he is sorry if he seemed glib in his response to your question.

The fact remains, however, that traffic does stay heavy for most of the day at major intersections throughout Ventura, Lalani says. That is why signals operate on cycles that are nearly two minutes long during the day.

As for the pause in the traffic flow, you are right. All traffic does come to a complete halt for two seconds out of every 110-second signal cycle, Lalani says.

The reason?

"We've all seen the crazy drivers who speed through the intersection after the light has turned red," Lalani says. "Adding a two-second pause before the light turns green for cross traffic helps cut down on accidents."

*

Dear Street Smart:

Each Sunday I check the Road Work box provided by The Times to find out if I need to alter my regular commute from Moorpark to Simi Valley to avoid delays.

I also make frequent trips to Thousand Oaks. But to my dismay that city is never listed in the box, even when there is major road work going on around town.

I lived in Thousand Oaks for 15 years, so I'm very much aware that it is not a little town.

Please tell me, why isn't Thousand Oaks included in the list?

Krista Muhe, Moorpark

Dear Reader:

Street Smart wants your driving experience to be as painless as possible and is pleased to learn that you find the Road Work box a helpful guide.

Regarding the omission of Thousand Oaks from the list, traffic engineer John Helliwell says he will begin alerting Street Smart of major road projects, so that his city can be included in the Road Work list.

In the coming months, expect major road work on Thousand Oaks Boulevard and on Erbes Road.

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