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Lack of Right-Turn Lane Leaves Many With a Problem

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

There is a problem with cars turning right onto Valentine Road from southbound Victoria Avenue in Ventura.

The existing right lane is very wide, but people rarely keep to the right side of the lane to make the turn.

Consequently, traffic backs up often during rush hour as cars slow down to turn right.

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It would help a lot if the existing lane were re-striped as two lanes: one for right-turning traffic and one for through traffic.

Can anything be done to improve this stretch of roadway?

Mike Nelson, Oxnard

Dear Reader:

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Your problem will be resolved, but not immediately, says Nazir Lalani, Ventura traffic engineer.

It is true that the right-hand lane at Victoria and Valentine is wider than normal, but it is too narrow to split in two, Lalani says.

“The cars would be too close together,” Lalani said. “It would not be safe.”

However, the city of Ventura is planning a $7-million overhaul of Victoria Avenue near the Ventura Freeway. The plan calls for a separate right-turn lane at the Valentine Road intersection.

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But the project is not scheduled to get under way until at least 1996.

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Dear Street Smart:

In recent months, I’ve noticed that some of the streets in Simi Valley are falling into disrepair.

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This especially seems to be a problem on the city’s east end. The streets there suffered rain damage a couple of years ago and the Jan. 17 earthquake just made it worse.

I’m getting a little tired of driving over the bumps and cracks. If something isn’t done soon, this could turn into a real problem.

Any plans to fix the roads?

George Myers, Simi Valley

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Dear Reader:

Take heart! Smoother roads in Simi Valley are on the way.

Over the past few months, the city has pieced together a repair plan for its battered streets.

The result?

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More than $2 million in pothole-patching and road-paving projects to be launched this summer and into the fall, says Alice Stoner, principal civil engineer.

Projects include stripping and repaving roadways and repairing damaged curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

The city has applied for an additional $4 million in federal emergency relief aid to further address the problem.

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Dear Street Smart:

I’m concerned about a safety problem with the bike lanes on Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark.

Ever since Los Angeles Avenue was widened for the new K mart, cars have been using the bike lane as a second lane.

This is very dangerous because people are trying to make a right turn from the regular lane while cars in the bike lane are trying to go straight.

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Can anything be done to clear up this problem?

Gloria Shaffer, Moorpark

Dear Reader:

Actually, the lanes you refer to on Los Angeles Avenue are not technically bike lanes.

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They are merely sidelines painted a few feet from the curb to help funnel traffic toward the center of the road, says Ken Gilbert, Moorpark’s public works director.

It is not illegal for cars to drive over the sidelines when turning right, Gilbert says. But they should not cross them if they are merely continuing to go straight.

“The purpose of the sidelines is to help channel the flow of traffic, but they are more of a suggestion that a rule,” Gilbert said.

Motorists should use extra caution when turning right if there is a car in the sideline area, he says.

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SPEEDERS BEWARE

Today through Thursday, the county is planting a radar trailer on California 33 in Oak View.

As motorists drive by, their speed will flash on a large digital board.

The radar is part of the “Courtesy on 33" campaign intended to persuade motorists to slow down along heavily populated stretches of the roadway.

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