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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Newbury Park

Road Extension Is Quietly Opened

September 07, 2000|MAIJA-LIISA NAGARAJAN and NEWBURY PARK

The opening of the Borchard Road extension passed with little fanfare Wednesday morning.

The extension had been one of the most divisive topics in Thousand Oaks in recent years because a portion of the street is now graded at 12%, which many nearby residents complained was too steep and unsafe.

"I was shocked they opened it," said Alice Cohen, who lives two houses from the Borchard intersection on Los Vientos Drive. "We were surprised they never put a sign up for a 12% grade. It makes people more aware and cautious with a sign."

The road, which will serve as a second access road to the 2,350-home Dos Vientos Ranch development, was originally scheduled to open last month. But because of shipping delays for crosswalk equipment, it took additional time, said city Public Works Director Don Nelson.

"The really important thing is the value of the road," Nelson said. "It will be an access for hundreds of homes in Dos Vientos. It's a safety issue."

Responding to residents' concerns, the City Council in January approved $500,000 in safety improvements, including a traffic light and crosswalk. The traffic light will not turn green for vehicles traveling faster than the posted 45 mph. The signal includes a camera that detects how fast a car is traveling, officials said.

John Helliwell, the city's traffic engineer, has been inspecting the safety of the road during the past few weeks.

"We have meters out there measuring the speed of cars, the number of vehicles and how well traffic goes through," Helliwell said. "We'll retrieve the data once a week for the first few weeks. . . . With all the improvements we've done, the general public won't have a problem accepting it."

Lawsuits have surrounded the extension for years. A coalition of residents has a pending $661-million lawsuit against the developers. They contend that the developers were dishonest about the road's safety when they presented the project to the city.

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