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San Jon Exit Considered Poor Alternative to Seaward

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

Has anyone from the Ventura Planning Department or Caltrans ever suggested redirecting beach traffic from the Seaward Avenue off-ramp to the San Jon Road off-ramp?

It would seem that with a few properly worded and placed signs, the traffic backups on Seaward could be avoided. This would provide a low-cost alternative to widening the Seaward-Ventura Freeway interchange.

It’s probably the concept of “low cost” that scares people in both organizations.

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Greg Millerd, Pierpont

Dear Reader:

Caltrans Engineer Bob Houle says redirecting traffic from Seaward to San Jon would cause more problems that it would solve.

Why? Because the exit for San Jon takes motorists on a circuitous, sometimes treacherous route that begins at the freeway, winds briefly down Vista del Mar Drive and crosses Harbor Boulevard before finally getting to San Jon.

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In addition, Houle says, the roads are narrow and unsuited to the heavy traffic that flows through the Seaward interchange.

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Dear Street Smart:

Recently, I got a flat tire on the Simi Valley Freeway and discovered a very unsafe condition.

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I got the flat as I was driving east, just before the Stearns Street exit. I was in the far left lane, but when I tried to pull over to the shoulder, I discovered that there was very little paved shoulder to pull onto--only about two feet worth.

Beyond that, the median turned into a dusty gravel pit that looked unsafe to drive on.

I ended up having to drive across three lanes of traffic to the right shoulder--a very dangerous thing to do with a flat tire.

Why is the left shoulder so narrow? Is there any chance that it could be widened?

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June Masterson, Moorpark

Dear Reader:

There are nearly as many shoulder widths as there are roads, state Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Bob Houle says.

Sure, Caltrans has some rough guidelines to follow, but those parameters change every few years and there are many, many exceptions.

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Take, for example, portions of the Ventura Freeway in Hollywood and other parts of Los Angeles.

Have you noticed that there is no left-hand shoulder at all?

They were removed to make room for more traffic lanes.

The situation on the Simi Valley Freeway isn’t nearly as grim. Although the paved shoulder is narrow, it is perfectly safe to cross over it and drive on the gravel median, which has space enough to accommodate a semi.

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Dear Street Smart:

Are there any plans for traffic signals at Rockfield and Bowfield streets where they cross Lindero Canyon Road?

Without the signals, these are dangerous crossings for the many residents who live along the side streets as they try to get onto Lindero.

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Elisa Kernochan, Thousand Oaks

Dear Reader:

There are plans to install a signal at Rockfield, but you’ll have to wait for Thousand Oaks and the county to resolve a dispute over who should pay for the project.

Lindero falls on the border between Thousand Oaks and the county, and while both agree that a traffic signal is needed, neither wants to pay the nearly quarter-of-a-million-dollar cost of installing and maintaining it.

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The county argues that most of the intersection actually falls within Thousand Oaks, so the city should pay most of the cost. The city points out that most of the traffic at the intersection is generated by motorists on their way to or from areas on county land.

Concerning safety, the intersection may seem unsafe, but it is not the worst intersection without a signal, Thousand Oaks Assistant Traffic Engineer Jeff Knowles says.

Each year, Thousand Oaks compiles a long list of intersections waiting for signals, based on the traffic volume and number of accidents, Knowles says. And each year, the city funds about five new signals. The Lindero-Rockfield intersection is about 15th on the list.

“We will eventually install a signal at that intersection,” Knowles said. “It’s just a question of when.”

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