Torn Up Over Beach Boulevard Bus-Pad Construction

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

Would you please enlighten me as to why, after the asphalt was laid down on Beach Boulevard, it was torn up again for a "bus pad"? It looks like they have torn up the new asphalt to put down an area of concrete. There must be more going on with these "bus pads" than what we see on the surface. Art Hemphill Westminster

It's really not as sinister as you make it sound. Those "bus pads" you see on Beach Boulevard are part of the "smart street" improvement project funded by Measure M, and there is method in their madness.

The asphalt is laid first, then a segment the width of a regular lane and 80 to 100 feet long is cut out and a one-foot thickness of concrete is poured in the cut, said Andrew Kerr, supervising construction inspector for the county. This procedure eliminates the bumps a bus would otherwise experience if the concrete slab had been poured first and the asphalt road had been paved to it, he said.

"If we poured the bus pads first and paved to it, you would always get a bump as the bus went on and off the edge of the pad," Kerr said.

Bus pads prevent the road from deteriorating where a bus constantly starts and stops and are designed to last for years, said Kerr. Between the San Diego Freeway and Lincoln Avenue, there are 48 bus pads on Beach Boulevard, he said.

Bus pads are also alternatives to the bus turnout lanes that are separate from regular travel lanes. In the case of Beach Boulevard, it was easier to create bus pads than obtain the right-of-way for another lane because of all the commercial businesses on the boulevard, Kerr said.

Dear Street Smart: I would like to draw your attention to the dangerous situation occurring daily at peak commuting hours at the Weir Canyon/Yorba Linda Boulevard off-ramps from the Riverside Freeway in Yorba Linda. Cars exiting the eastbound Riverside Freeway and attempting to travel south on Weir Canyon are subjected to turning left across two very busy northbound lanes and into two very busy southbound lanes with no more assistance than a stop sign as they exit the ramp. (This is also true of the westbound exit for motorists attempting to travel north.)

Add nighttime with oncoming headlights to the equation and the problems become even more dangerous. The planners saw fit to install a signal at the Santa Ana Canyon/Weir Canyon intersection not 500 feet away from this gross and subsequently dangerous oversight. Are there any plans to correct this situation? Barbara Frame Rancho Cucamonga The Weir Canyon exit from the Riverside Freeway has been under review since last year, said Caltrans spokeswoman Rose Orem. The cities of Anaheim and Yorba Linda and Caltrans have been working jointly on this project, she said.

A consultant for the city of Anaheim has prepared plans, specifications and an estimate for a project to install traffic signals at the east and westbound Riverside Freeway off-ramps at Weir Canyon, Orem said. Caltrans is working on an agreement with Anaheim to pay for this project, and final approval for the funding is anticipated in about two months, she said.

In the meantime, Caltrans will install temporary three-way stop signs at this location within the next six weeks, Orem said.

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It's fair time! Weekend Orange County Fair-goers can avoid traffic problems and the crowded fairgrounds parking lot by using two off-site parking lots and a free Orange County Transportation Authority shuttle service.

If you visit the fair on a Friday evening or during a weekend, you can park for free at the Auto Club of Southern California parking lot at Fairview Road and South Coast Drive or the Skypark lot on the north side of Main Street between MacArthur Boulevard and Red Hill Avenue.

The free shuttle buses provided by OCTA go from 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays and during fair hours, 10 a.m. to midnight, on Saturdays and Sundays.

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