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Local News in Brief : West Hills Gets Link to Ventura Freeway

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joy Picus officially opened a milelong stretch of Valley Circle Boulevard on Sunday, giving the newly named community of West Hills direct access to the Ventura Freeway.

Responsibility for constructing the missing link between Stagg Street and Bell Canyon Boulevard fell to Urban West Communities, a major residential developer in the area.

The city required Urban West to complete the $1-million, four-lane road in exchange for permits to build The Estate Collection, a group of 175 homes priced between $415,000 and $538,000 near Valley Circle Boulevard.

“This certainly is going to improve the quality of life in West Hills,” Picus said at a dedication ceremony, attended by about 20 residents.

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Until now, many West San Fernando Valley residents had to use neighborhood streets to reach the freeway, adding time to already long trips to work. The new section of Valley Circle Boulevard will reduce congestion and improve safety by routing traffic off the local streets, Picus said.

But last week, city traffic engineers removed two stop signs along Valley Circle at Ingomar Street, explaining that they were no longer needed because the roadway is now a major thoroughfare. That action prompted complaints from some homeowners who said removing the signs creates a hazard.

“Someone will pull out and expect the cross traffic to stop, and there will be a bad accident,” Lou Velardi, chief financial officer for the West Hills Property Owners Assn., told Picus at the dedication. “They use Valley Circle as a speedway.”

Motorists simply will have to be more careful, Picus responded.

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