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Sound Walls Near Freeway Urged

SIMI VALLEY | EAST VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS

September 17, 1996|DAVID R. BAKER

Tired of the constant, grinding noise of traffic on the 118 Freeway, residents who live near the thoroughfare asked the City Council on Monday to help find money to build sound walls along the road.

For several months, homeowners who want the sound walls have met with city and state officials, trying in vain to find funding for the idea. So at Monday night's council meeting, about 10 residents of the neighborhoods near the Ronald Reagan Freeway asked the council to get involved.

"Right now, there is no mandate given to the city manager's office [to help], and without that, nothing is going to happen," said Dave Timms, who lives on North Parkdale Avenue.

Council members stopped short of directing city staff to work on the project. But Mayor Greg Stratton suggested that the city's four neighborhood councils hold a joint meeting to solicit more citizen input. And Councilman Bill Davis suggested that the Ventura County Transportation Commission could help locate funding for the walls.

Residents want to place the 10-foot-high walls between the freeway and the neighborhoods adjacent to it on the north and south, leaving commercial areas near the road unscreened. But in meetings with Councilwoman Barbara Williamson, California Department of Transportation representatives and aides to state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley), homeowners and officials have been unable to find a way to pay for the barriers.

A state program that finances sound wall construction, for example, would only pay for walls adjacent to neighborhoods that were built before the freeway was created. And that program's waiting list could be up to nine years long.

Some residents had floated the idea of creating an assessment district that would raise money from homeowners near the freeway.

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