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October 24, 1994

Dear Street Smart: The junction of the Ventura and Hollywood freeways in Studio City at Tujunga Avenue presents a treacherous--often fatal--choice for drivers who do not have adequate warning of the freeway split. Confusion is created when the Ventura suddenly becomes the 134 while the 101 continues south as the Hollywood.

To compensate for the confusion, drivers often quickly change lanes, cutting each other off, resulting in sickening collisions.

Even though signage appears a mile back, it is imperative that drivers must be alerted to the upcoming split. Perhaps an overhead computerized board could be posted for greater awareness. Something must be done.

Can you help?

Lois Weiss, Studio City

Dear Reader: We took your question to Caltrans spokeswoman Pat Reid, who said engineers repeatedly survey freeway conditions to ensure motorist safety. But, she said, there are no plans to increase signs at the Ventura-Hollywood split.

"We think the split is well-signed," Reid said, adding that the roadway is also marked with stripes indicating the upcoming interchange.

The problem may be with the people driving the freeway. Most crashes are the result of driver error. Street Smart always encourages people to drive carefully and defensively. Although it sounds cliche, it works.


Dear Street Smart: After reading a recent column about the repairing of surface streets, I have to bring up the question of Balboa Boulevard.

Since the earthquake destroyed our street north of Rinaldi Street we have felt abandoned, left to deal with potholes and rough streets since they reopened Balboa.

When will it ever be paved?

Laurie Kazmer, Granada Hills

Dear Reader: Watch for street crews to patch any potholes in your neighborhood within the next couple of days--if they have not already. Neil Spiva of the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Maintenance said last week that he would dispatch workers as soon as possible.

As to your larger problem of rough streets, though, a remedy may still be months away. Spiva explained that the Northridge earthquake did a lot of damage under ground as well as above. Many sewer pipes and other utilities are still awaiting repair.

Until those repairs are made, Spiva said, crews can not resurface streets because it makes little sense to repave a road, then tear it up to fix the utilities and then repave it again.

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