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STREET SMART

Burning Tree's Traffic Not Hot Enough for Speed Bumps

September 30, 1996|JEFF McDONALD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dear Street Smart:

Burning Tree Drive, or Indy West, as we residents on this street refer to it, is used as a shortcut to the Moorpark Freeway (23) and nearby shopping strips.

These are residents from other neighborhoods who are too lazy or too inconvenienced to take Pedersen to Erbes to Arboles, major thoroughfares, to the 23 and local shopping strips.

It's not that we are an unfriendly group of people on Burning Tree, we just want people to slow down so that we can get in and out of our driveways without risking our lives.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 2, 1996 Ventura County Edition Metro Part B Page 5 Zones Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Wrong number--The Street Smart column Monday incorrectly reported the number of cars that use Burning Tree Drive in Thousand Oaks. About 1,500 cars use the street every day.

Even though there are 25-mph signs posted as well as painted on the road, these racers pay no heed. As a matter of fact, I was told by a county sheriff that they will not write a ticket unless the speeder is traveling faster than 35 mph because the judge will throw the case out of court.

Is there anything the city can do to help the residents of Burning Tree Drive, or is it something that the residents have to initiate themselves? We need help.

Peter May, Thousand Oaks

Dear Reader:

Engineers in Thousand Oaks are very familiar with your concerns, having heard them on numerous occasions over the years.

The trouble is, Burning Tree Drive does not qualify for potential remedies such as speed bumps because the problem is not as severe as you imagine, according to traffic analyst Jeff Knowles.

"We have a huge list of streets where we've gotten these complaints," Knowles said. "So we have adopted standards that we look at so everyone gets the same treatment.

"There are other streets with higher volumes and faster speeds that have been denied speed bumps," he said.

The standard traffic count for installing speed bumps on a residential street is 2,500 cars an hour. At last count, Burning Tree Drive was luring only 1,500 cars an hour, Knowles said.

****

Dear Street Smart:

As a new resident of Ventura County, I have a question that has no doubt been raised before but that still puzzles me.

Why is it that the northbound Ventura Freeway narrows to just two lanes between Wagon Wheel Road and the Pacific Coast Highway? The corresponding southbound lanes hold steady at three lanes throughout the junction.

Carmichael A. Smith-Low, Ventura

Dear Reader:

The state Department of Transportation is well aware of the congestion that backs up at the Pacific Coast Highway-Ventura Freeway interchange every day.

Unfortunately, they designed just two northbound lanes at the junction due to safety reasons.

"The reason for the lane reduction at this location is due to the short weaving and merging distances between the Vineyard Avenue onramp and the Wagon Wheel on- and offramps," Caltrans spokeswoman Pat Reid said.

State engineers have designed a $57-million widening project at the interchange. But the bad news is that funding for that project has been delayed due to seismic upgrading being done throughout California.

"Any construction is not anticipated to begin until 1999 to 2000, at the earliest," Reid said.

By the way, engineers cannot simply restripe the roadway because it is not wide enough for three lanes.

****

Dear Street Smart:

There is an accident just waiting to happen on northbound Madera Road near Cochran Street in Simi Valley. I have seen untold numbers of near-misses and unsafe lane changes because of lane striping.

Northbound Madera, as it passes Easy Street and continues north over the railroad viaduct, has two lanes. Near the top of the grade at the Cochran Street intersection, in an area of poor lane visibility, a new lane forms on the right, and traffic bound for the freeway onramp is expected to move one lane to the right.

If traffic in the right-hand lane decides not to move to the right--and that is frequently the case in this age of Me First--the traffic in the left-hand lane has no access to the onramp.

It would seem to be a simple matter to keep the northbound lanes going to the onramp, in deference to the majority of traffic, and add the lane on the left-hand side of Madera.

Kermit Heid, Moorpark

Dear Reader:

Simi Valley traffic engineers already have studied the lane configuration along that section of Madera Road.

Conclusion: It is safest and most logical the way it is.

"This pattern of lane markings is required so that northbound motorists on the two-lane section of Madera Road, especially strangers to the area, are not forced to enter the freeway," said Bill Golubics, Simi Valley's top traffic analyst.

The best advice is to prepare early to change lanes to enter the Ronald Reagan Freeway--and watch out for others not so prepared.

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