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TRAFFIC TALK / Questions and Answers About Your Commute

Engineers Agree Street Needs Work


Dear Traffic Talk:

Has any thought been given to resurfacing the washboard area of Canoga Avenue, one block north of Roscoe Boulevard in Canoga Park?

That area is especially rough.

Thank you for your assistance.

Norman Hirsch,

Canoga Park


Dear Norman:

The Bureau of Street Maintenance thanks you for bringing this particular area of Canoga Avenue, bordered by Roscoe Boulevard and Schoenborn Street, to its attention.

City engineers have evaluated the situation there and recommended the area for inclusion in the bureau's resurfacing program, said Richard Evans, superintendent of West Valley Street Maintenance, which handles street repair work in areas west of the San Diego Freeway.

However, Evans cautions that a recommendation does not necessarily mean that this particular area will be selected.

The resurfacing program is carried out on a citywide basis from data provided by the Bureau of Engineering, the Bureau of Street Services and the Standards Section of the Department of General Services, Evans said. The streets submitted for consideration are evaluated and selected based on age, pavement defects, drainage, traffic counts, deflection tests, soil samples and riding quality, he added.

Evans stressed that the number of projects is limited by the funds budgeted for this purpose.


Dear Traffic Talk:

Recently, I was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend of mine. My driving privileges had been suspended for driving under the influence.

While driving on the freeway, my friend complained of a problem with her health and pulled over. She explained to me that she couldn't drive for fear of causing a traffic accident and asked me to drive her to a hospital.

My question is, for those who find themselves in these types of situations, should a person with a suspended license take the matter into his (or her) own hands by driving him (or her) to a safe location when an emergency arises?

Or, should a person follow the letter of the law and wait for authorities to assist, even if it's a life or death situation?

Gary Hunt,



Dear Gary:

The best thing to do in this situation would be to pull over and use a call box or a cell phone to contact emergency services (911), which include the California Highway Patrol, the paramedics or an ambulance service, said Lou Aviles, public affairs officer for the CHP.

A person with a suspended license cannot drive legally, Aviles said. By driving with a suspended license, even in a dire emergency situation, you're violating the law, he said.

Avila understands your situation in that it's "instinctive" to take the matter into your own hands by driving your friend to a hospital. However, Avila said it's more prudent to step back and look at the entire situation.

"If I was in this situation, I'd rather wait for paramedics to arrive, rather than taking a chance of getting into an accident or getting stuck in a traffic jam," he said.

Avila also recommends that people who are under stress or duress should not be operating vehicles.


Traffic Talk appears Fridays in The Times Valley Edition. Readers may submit comments and questions about traffic in the Valley to Traffic Talk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311. Include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited, and no anonymous letters will be accepted. To record your comments, call (818) 772-3303. Fax letters to (818) 772-3385. E-mail questions to

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