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Directional Signs Are Ready and Waiting for Their Turn

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

I’m concerned about the lack of street signs at a confusing intersection in Ventura.

The intersection of Main Street, Thompson Boulevard and Telegraph Road is complicated, but there are no street signs to help guide drivers.

I know of a woman who was so confused, she turned from westbound Main into the oncoming traffic on Thompson.

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Would it be possible to install overhead street signs with arrows to help clear up the confusion?

Sarath Abeyweera, Ventura

Dear Reader:

The signs you ask for are sitting at Ventura City Hall, waiting to be installed.

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Signs for several intersections, including Main-Thompson-Telegraph, arrived at the city several months ago. But a backlog of traffic improvement projects has kept city workers from installing them, Ventura Traffic Engineer Nazir Lalani says.

“We’ve had difficulty getting to it because we’re short on staff,” he said.

To speed up the process, the city will put the sign installation work out to bid. Even so, it may still be another six months to a year before the signs go up.

“Everything has to wait its turn,” Lalani said.

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Dear Street Smart:

Right in front of Ventura City Hall, there’s a stop sign that is regularly ignored.

Every day, I head west on Poli Street to California Street and turn left. And just about every day, cars coming east down Poli ignore the stop sign in front of them and barrel ahead, just as I’m trying to make my turn.

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I’ve had many close calls here, and if something isn’t done to clarify who has the right of way, someone is going to get hit.

A sign could be posted warning drivers to watch out for cars turning left.

Can this be done?

Gary Stammen, Ventura

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Dear Reader:

No such sign exists in the state code of traffic signs.

Creating a special sign for that intersection would require permission from the state’s Traffic Control Devices Committee, says Nazir Lalani, Ventura’s traffic engineer.

The chances of gaining approval would be slim, Lalani says, because the accident level at California and Poli is relatively low.

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“When you’re trying to get permission to do something different, you have to have a really good reason,” he said. “Without a high accident rate, it would be difficult to make a case for a special sign.”

Lalani says he will ask Ventura police to step up patrols of the area, to watch for drivers who go through the intersection without stopping.

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Dear Street Smart:

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Pulling out of the parking lot at the Thousand Oaks post office onto Duesenberg Drive is always a nerve-racking experience.

The constant flow of oncoming traffic makes it difficult and dangerous to turn left onto Duesenberg.

During post office hours, the roadway is jammed, and there is no signal or stop sign to make turning easier. So you end up taking your chances in trying to get across the busy roadway.

Could a traffic signal or stop sign be installed?

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Charleen Cramer, Thousand Oaks

Dear Reader:

Putting a stop sign or stop light at the post office exit would only make things worse, says Jeff Knowles, assistant city traffic engineer.

“It’s just too close to the intersection of Duesenberg and Thousand Oaks Boulevard,” Knowles said. “A signal or stop sign there would cause traffic backups and accidents.”

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The city’s traffic department has studied the impact of widening the roadway to help move traffic along. But such a project would be costly and require chopping down several old trees--not a popular proposition in a city concerned with scenic beautification, Knowles says.

The city is focusing its traffic improvement efforts on several more accident-prone intersections, Knowles says.

“We know there are problems here,” Knowles said. “It’s just not a top priority right now.”

STOP SIGN UPDATE

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Last week, a Ventura reader wrote to complain about a new stop sign at Henderson Road and Emerald Street.

The reader said the sign was too high, too far from the roadway and partly obscured by foliage.

Ventura Traffic Engineer Nazir Lalani checked out the intersection and says the sign is clearly visible and he could find nothing wrong with its placement.

The sign is posted a bit farther back from the road than drivers might be used to so it complies with regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Lalani says.

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According to those regulations, there must be at least four feet of clear walkway.

Regarding the height of the sign, Lalani says it meets state traffic regulations that require signs to be posted seven feet above the ground.

“We’re satisfied that the job was done correctly,” he said.


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