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West Valley | VALLEY FOCUS

Battles Lie Ahead on Freeway Corridor Plan

May 30, 1996|HENRY CHU

A proposed comprehensive land-use plan for western Los Angeles County was unveiled Wednesday that confirms the need for alternatives to the Ventura Freeway to ease traffic flow in an ever-growing area.

Culminating three years of study, the proposed Ventura Freeway Corridor Plan also emphasizes preservation of scenic hillsides and woodlands as well as the need for better cooperation between municipalities as they approve new development. A joint effort between Los Angeles County and the young cities of Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Hidden Hills, it is the first such plan since 1981.

Moving traffic smoothly between the county line and downtown Los Angeles remains the most vexing issue of all, planning consultant Lloyd Zola told city and county land-use officials at the County Hall of Administration.

Clearly necessary are alternate routes to the Ventura Freeway, currently the only artery through the heart of the region connecting the hillside communities with Los Angeles. Yet suggestions to extend Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Calabasas Road have already met with opposition, Zola said.

"If there's an accident on the freeway . . . the only way to make your way from Thousand Oaks to Los Angeles would be to go up to the Simi Valley Freeway or down to Mulholland," Zola said.

He added that development along the corridor will probably justify at least two roadways parallel to the freeway, and that no easy formula exists for balancing new building and conservation. There is "a very clear trade-off between moving traffic and environmental protection," Zola said, noting that new development will require more road construction.

A full draft of the plan is scheduled for release in early July, followed by public hearings and votes on whether to approve it by all five jurisdictions involved.

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