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STREET SMART

Plan in the Works to Beautify Westlake Freeway Ramps

August 07, 1995|JEFF McDONALD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dear Street Smart:

Can you shed light on why the northbound and southbound freeway ramps to the Ventura Freeway at Westlake Boulevard have never been landscaped--especially at the signals?

It is an unsightly gateway to the city, compared to other local ramps.

Shermma Ellis, Westlake

Dear Reader:

Landscapers for the city of Thousand Oaks are way ahead of you.

Transportation analyst Jeff Knowles said a project is under way to beautify the Westlake Boulevard freeway ramps. "They will be planted with shrubs, trees and other miscellaneous landscaping," Knowles said.

That work is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.

City officials also plan to rebuild the traffic signals at Westlake Boulevard and Townsgate Road and at Westlake and Thousand Oaks boulevards, lengthening the left-turn lanes and landscaping the medians to the off-ramps.

But the beautification plans end where the overpass begins, Knowles said.

"We would have to create a raised planter to make room for something to grow," he said. "We'd also have to water over the freeway, and Caltrans wouldn't want that."

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Dear Street Smart:

I am the last person who would want to cut down a tree, but actually that is what needs to be done at the Ventura Freeway on-ramp on Petit Street in Camarillo, heading toward Los Angeles.

Due to the interference of the trees planted there, it is only in the last two or three seconds that the traffic on Petit Street can be seen.

It is lucky that there has been nothing but close calls there, as far as I know. Perhaps if the bushes and trees were trimmed, that would do the job.

Mary Anderson, Camarillo

Dear Reader:

Caltrans officials say they are not aware of any visibility problem at the Lewis Road on-ramp to the Ventura Freeway. But they will look into it.

"There are bushes there and if they're causing a sight problem, we can certainly give them a haircut," said David Servais, chief maintenance manager for Caltrans in Ventura County.

"We have crews that are responsible for certain areas and they routinely take care of things," he said. "But sometimes those shrubs grow faster than we anticipate and we don't realize it's a problem until people call in."

Servais said he would have a crew on scene this week and that the overgrown trees and landscaping should be trimmed by Friday, if necessary.

"We want to eliminate any hazards that are out there," he said.

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Dear Street Smart:

The sensor device on Via Merida turning onto Thousand Oaks Boulevard southbound is very slow to react to cars approaching. This especially is true when one is in the left-turn lane.

Dick Womack, Westlake

Dear Reader:

According to those who plan traffic circulation in Thousand Oaks, the length of a wait at any particular signal varies due to several conditions--most notably, the time of day. The intersection of Via Merida and Thousand Oaks Boulevard is no exception.

At any given stoplight, the average delay is about 45 seconds. But, transportation analyst Jeff Knowles said, in no case should the wait be longer than 90 seconds.

Although the sensors are designed to take care of themselves, they do not always respond.

"They're self-tuning, but they're interacting with the computer that runs the whole intersection," Knowles said. "If they ever wait more than 90 seconds, then I know something is wrong."

In those cases, he said, technicians are dispatched to the signal for minor adjustments. Knowles said he would check the intersection you asked about.

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