Dear Street Smart:
Today I witnessed the aftermath of yet another automobile collision in front of Oxnard Shores on Harbor Boulevard. The major reason for the accident was excessive speed, caused by the city of Oxnard posting an unsafe legal speed limit on this portion of Harbor Boulevard.
The speed limit was always marginal for safe driving when it was 45 m.p.h. Recently, however, it was raised to the unconscionable speed of 50 m.p.h.
I and every one of my neighbors I've spoken to have been involved in a near-accident caused by excessive speed on Harbor Boulevard.
The bottom line is: Harbor Boulevard is an accident waiting to happen because of excessive but legal speed. The truth is, it's not waiting. The accidents are happening today.
What is wrong with the city of Oxnard?
Ted Kuepper, Oxnard
Oxnard officials did indeed raise the speed limit along Harbor Boulevard from 45 m.p.h. to 50 m.p.h. earlier this year.
Traffic engineer Joe Genovese said speed limits were raised on 14 Oxnard streets, along with dozens of others around the county, after appeals judges reconsidered the method by which speed limits are set.
"A 1992 Ventura County appellate court decision led most judges to require strict adherence to the procedures for establishing posted speed limits, or tickets would be canceled," Genovese said.
Nonetheless, "when we compared the accident history for the entire length of Harbor Boulevard . . . we found no increase," he said. "We will monitor the accident rate again after a full year has passed."
Dear Street Smart:
During rush hour it is getting even harder to make a left turn from southbound Ventura Avenue to eastbound Main Street.
Sometimes you have to wait through two green lights to make a left turn, and it is not uncommon for two or three motorists to turn left after the light turns red.
Is it possible to get a left-turn signal installed here?
Sarath Abeyweera, Ventura
Traffic officials in Ventura say yes. Not only that, it already has been planned and should be installed by the end of January.
According to Ventura traffic engineer Nazir Lalani, the final phase of a decade-long traffic improvement project in west Ventura is nearing completion.
Five stoplights along Santa Clara Street and Ventura Avenue will be upgraded, and a new signal will be installed at Santa Clara and Palm streets, Lalani said.
What's more, the intersection at Ventura Avenue and Thompson Boulevard will boast a left-turn green arrow when the project is finished, he said.
Dear Street Smart:
The traffic light timing at 1st Street and Los Angeles Avenue needs to be adjusted to reduce intersection accidents.
Specifically, motorists eastbound on Los Angeles Street turning left on 1st use two left-turn lanes controlled by a turning light. When that light turns red, almost immediately the green light comes on for those traveling west.
There is not enough delay in light timing to allow the intersection to clear before westbound traffic rolls.
Henry and Betty Tanner, Camarillo
Those who monitor traffic patterns in Simi Valley do not agree.
Traffic engineer Bill Golubics said that at smaller intersections, one stoplight will turn green the instant the other light turns red. But virtually all of the major intersections in Simi Valley are equipped with a half-second "extra all-red clearance," he said.
"For that half-second, nobody should be entering the intersection from any direction," he said. "That provides just a little extra safety time for someone who is moving through the intersection to clear it safely."
Golubics said the accident history at the corner of 1st Street and Los Angeles Avenue does not warrant any additional safety measures.