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SIMI VALLEY : Traffic Light Near Metrolink Proposed

The Simi Valley City Council on Monday will consider installing a traffic light at an intersection near the Metrolink station where a police cruiser slammed into a nurse’s car two weeks ago and caused injuries that left her in a coma.

Peggy Sphar, 45, suffered severe head injuries when she was thrown from her car after it was broadsided by a cruiser driven by Simi Valley Officer Rick Rinehart, who was not injured. On Friday, Sphar was still in a coma at Simi Valley Hospital, a relative said.

Sphar, a nurse at the hospital, was driving out of the Metrolink station’s parking lot when her station wagon was struck by Rinehart’s cruiser as it traveled along Los Angeles Avenue. Police are still investigating who was at fault, Sgt. Gary Collins said.

City engineers this week gave the City Council a list of sites for proposed new traffic lights and signal upgrades--topped by the intersection at the Metrolink entrance.

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In addition to that signal, engineers proposed installing a light at Alamo Street and Texas Avenue and improving signals at half a dozen other crossroads around the city.

The engineers estimate that 19,700 cars move through the Metrolink intersection in a 24-hour period and that the light will cost $100,000 to install--$11,500 of which will be paid by the city and $88,500 by federal gas taxes.

The light was recommended long before the accident because increased ridership on Metrolink was expected to boost the number of vehicles traveling in and out of the station’s parking lot, said Bill Golubics, Simi Valley traffic engineer.

“Until this recent accident, we have not had any report of collisions at L. A. Avenue and the driveway since the station opened,” Golubics said.

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