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Reopened Highway Is Missing a Lane, but Not for Long

September 23, 1996|JEFF McDONALD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dear Street Smart:

After more than one year's closure, Highway 150 between Ojai and Carpinteria over Casitas Pass was finally reopened, but with one stretch a quarter-mile-long as a single lane controlled by a stop light.

When is this stretch going to get fixed?

There doesn't seem to be any work being done there, and now part of the one lane is beginning to deteriorate badly.

Rev. John P. Pejza

Ojai

Dear Reader:

Caltrans engineers already are drawing up plans to rework that section of California 150.

They plan to advertise the construction contract to repair that section of highway later this month, with further plans to complete the project by early next year.

"It is anticipated that work will start in early October and be completed by January 1997," said Pat Reid, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation.

Dear Street Smart:

That area of Rancho Conejo Boulevard from the Ventura Freeway north to De Havilland Drive in Newbury Park has always had problems.

The roadway narrows and widens for no apparent reason, there are no sidewalks or other provisions for pedestrians and cyclists and the speed limit and traffic signals at Hillcrest Drive are flouted with impunity.

With the advent of Amgen's massive construction efforts, the situation is now disastrous, what with narrow, single lanes, no left turns, concrete and excavation trucks by the score, etc.

Obviously, the construction will end sometime. So, my question is: What will the roadway be like when it's finished, and, most important of all, will Rancho Conejo prove safer for people not in cars?

Mike Kelley

Newbury Park

Dear Reader:

According to traffic officials in Thousand Oaks, the answer is, of course, yes. Improvements along the entire length of Rancho Conejo Boulevard already are planned.

Construction crews will widen sections of the roadway and install bike lanes on both sides, making the road safer for drivers and bicyclists, said Jeff Knowles, the top traffic analyst for the city of Thousand Oaks.

"Between Hillcrest and Camino Dos Rios, there will be three lanes northbound and three lanes southbound, with a center turn lane in the middle," Knowles said.

"North of Camino Dos Rios, there will be two lanes northbound and three lanes southbound for about 400 feet, then north of there it will be two lanes each way," he said.

Crews also are planning to install a new traffic light at Rancho Conejo Boulevard and Camino Dos Rios, with full sidewalks on the east side of the street, but no additional sidewalks on the west side, Knowles said.

As for vehicle speed: "We'll reevaluate the speed limit when the work is done so we can establish a safe speed," he said.

Dear Street Smart:

An acquaintance received a parking ticket and, along with it, a ticket for not having a front license plate. (The old one had fallen off.)

After she got new plates from the Department of Motor Vehicles, she flagged down the same parking enforcement officer who wrote the ticket and asked her to sign off on the fix-it ticket.

The officer said she could not take the time from her rounds, and that my acquaintance would have to go the police station or flag down a regular police officer.

Why is it that the person who gave her the ticket in the first place cannot take a few seconds to fill in a couple of lines saying that she had fixed the problem?

Marc Afifi

Ventura

Dear Reader:

Ventura police officials say there is no reason that a parking enforcement officer cannot sign off on a ticket. But administrators prefer to have sworn officers do the task.

"Typically, we don't have those people sign off those tickets," Lt. Steve Bowman said. "But then they rarely get asked."

Bowman said that officers are on duty at the police station 12 hours a day, ready to sign off on fix-it tickets and answer citizen inquiries.

"Between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. we've got somebody here who can verify these tickets and also we have someone here who's trained to answer any questions." he said.

"We prefer to have the citations verified by an officer."

Write to Street Smart, The Times Ventura County Edition, 93 S. Chestnut St., Ventura 93001. You may enclose a simple sketch if it will help Street Smart understand your traffic questions. Or call our Sound Off Line, 653-7546. Whether writing or calling, include your full name, address, and day and evening phone numbers. No anonymous queries will be accepted, and letters are subject to editing.

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