Initiative Drive Opens to Improve Traffic Situation in Simi Valley

Times Staff Writer

A Simi Valley group announced plans this week to launch an initiative drive that would place a moratorium on all development in congested parts of the city.

Calling themselves FIGHT--Fight Ill-favored Growth and Horrible Traffic--the group will have six months to collect the necessary 3,800 signatures, or 10% of the city's registered voters, to qualify for the November ballot.

"You can't stop development, but you can proceed in a pragmatic, deliberate manner so that the community's support systems expand at a correct pace with the development," group spokesman Paul La Bonte said. "Right now, we don't have that in Simi Valley."

City officials declined comment on the proposal, saying they had not had a chance to study it.

The proposed ordinance would place a moratorium on all development in those parts of the city that are within a 3-mile radius of congested streets or intersections. Development could proceed only if city officials guarantee that road improvements would be made to absorb the impact of any increased traffic.

La Bonte said the effectiveness of those improvements would be judged against a "C" level of traffic circulation, which is derived from a state grading system ranging from "A" to "F" that measures traffic flow. A "C" level signifies fairly fluid traffic, although it allows for moderate congestion, with delays in the range of 15 to 20 seconds per vehicle.

Besides the moratorium, the initiative would call for city officials to prepare a traffic plan to bring traffic circulation throughout Simi Valley up to the "C" level.

La Bonte said he believes that his group has support for such a measure, a feeling that he said was confirmed last weekend when volunteers interviewed more than 3,000 residents and found that about 90% of them believe that traffic in the city had gotten worse.

"I think it's unacceptable," he said. "It denigrates your quality of life."

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