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Retrofit Work May Not Be Visible, but It's Progressing


Dear Street Smart:

Regarding the transition lane from the Moorpark Freeway onto the southbound Ventura Freeway in Thousand Oaks:

The double-line transition has been squeezed into one lane as cars make the curve onto the Ventura Freeway. There seems to be work proceeding slowly underneath, but this is a dangerous curve at 55 m.p.h. or faster.

Raynold L. Kinseth, Simi Valley

Dear Reader:

Although you cannot see it, retrofitting work is progressing at the interchange between the Ventura and Moorpark freeways, which at 80,000 vehicles a day is the busiest freeway bridge in the county.

The reason you may not be able to see the work being done is because much of the seismic retrofitting is actually performed from the inside, said Robert Joe, senior construction engineer for the state Department of Transportation.

"What they have to do is enter the inside of the bridge," Joe said. "They cut a hole on top of the bridge, and once they're inside they do the retrofitting on the bridge itself.

"People drive by and they don't see much activity, but our guys are in there," Joe said.

The need to climb inside the bridge from street level also explains the configuration from two lanes to one on the southbound Moorpark Freeway entrance to the Ventura Freeway, Joe said.

"The designers give it a lot of thought as to the best and safest way to do it," he said. "But in this case there was no real other way to do it."

A $1.5-million contract calls for retrofitting of that interchange as well as the Ventura Freeway junctions at Wendy Drive and Borchard Road to be completed by June.


Dear Street Smart:

Months and months ago, a man began to park a 15,000-pound, 10-wheel diesel tractor in front of a house on Atlas Avenue in Thousand Oaks. Besides weighing 15,000 pounds, the truck is enormous and quite out of place in a residential area.

City code clearly prohibits vehicles weighing more than 12,000 pounds from parking on a residential street, even in a private driveway. I contacted the Thousand Oaks police in April with photos and details. The lack of action was profound.

The city put up new signs on Atlas Avenue and Sirius Street cautioning that parking big trucks in a residential area is a no-no. Your assistance on this issue is appreciated.

Bob Kocher, Thousand Oaks

Dear Reader:

Those who work the traffic detail in Thousand Oaks know the street--and the truck--to which you refer. In fact, its owner has been cited for parking an overweight truck on a residential street.

But police say he doesn't park on the street anymore.

"It's an ongoing situation," Deputy Dan Ambarian said. "This gentleman parks his truck outside his house when he's between jobs, but usually it's just overnight. The neighbors have been made aware of the situation."

You may be confused about the law, however. Ambarian said the municipal code clearly allows for the parking of heavy vehicles on one's own property, even in a residential neighborhood.

"The gentleman can park his truck on his own driveway," said Ambarian, who added that the truck in question weighs only about 13,000 pounds.


Dear Street Smart:

How does an out-of-state car get a California handicapped placard?

I was under the impression that when you moved to California, you are obligated to register your car in California. Yet I see cars with out-of-state licenses and blue handicapped placards.

I could understand a temporary red one, but either the DMV is not doing its job or I'm mistaken about the need to register your car within a certain prescribed number of days. Am I mistaken?

William F. Langley, Oxnard

Dear Reader:

You may have uncovered some fraud, or the out-of-state vehicles bearing California handicapped placards could be completely legit.

According to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, California's disabled placards are issued to accompany the disabled person, a DMV official in Sacramento said.

Beginning last Jan. 1, all placards are designed to be hung from a vehicle's rear-view mirror. Disabled veterans, however, are issued license plate frames.

"The placard is issued to the person, which is either the passenger or the driver," spokeswoman Elaine Jennings said. "The placard travels with the person."

Therefore, she said, the blue placard you saw hanging from the rear-view mirror of an out-of-state car is most likely perfectly legal.

By the way, about 1 million Californians have been issued disabled parking placards.

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