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Long Wait for Signal Keeps Cyclist Spinning Her Wheels

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dear Street Smart:

I bicycle to the beach on my lunch hour and have discovered a problem near the new high school in Oxnard.

When I ride north on Patterson Road and want to take a left onto Gonzales Road, I press the crosswalk button at the signal. Since there is very little traffic on Patterson at that time, I usually have to wait a minute or so for the light to change.

When it does change, however, the light goes red for cars on Gonzales but also stays red for Patterson. Then the Patterson light blips yellow for a second and back to red.

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I’ve sat through a couple of rounds with this silly signal at different times, and unless a car comes along Patterson, I will never see green. Any way to fix the signal and allow some green time for bicyclists and pedestrians?

Diana James, Oxnard

Dear Reader:

Your question stumped traffic officials in Oxnard.

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City Traffic Engineer Joe Genovese said he personally checked the intersection, and found that all pedestrian push buttons are working properly.

Pedestrians “may not be aware that when going northbound on Patterson Road at Gonzales Road, there are two push buttons on the corner--one to cross Patterson Road and one to cross Gonzales Road,” Genovese said.

“Arrows on the push-button sign indicate which crossing the button applies to,” he said.

Nonetheless, Genovese added, the city welcomes questions and concerns.

“Any traffic signal malfunction can be reported directly to the city at 385-7866,” he said.

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Dear Street Smart:

When turning left from the southbound lane on Westlake Boulevard, there is not enough time for all the cars to turn.

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The green arrow turns red for the southbound lane even though the northbound cars continue to turn left onto the westbound lanes of Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

When this happens, the cars in the northbound lanes of Westlake Boulevard are allowed to go straight across as well.

Since Westlake Boulevard was opened to Avenida de los Arboles, there is enough southbound traffic to allow the same amount of time for turning left as the northbound traffic. Also, there are two left-turn lanes for the northbound traffic and only one for the southbound traffic, which can back things up.

Virginia Poorman, Thousand Oaks

Dear Reader:

City traffic planners are way ahead of you on this one.

Due to increased traffic in the area, Thousand Oaks traffic officials already are working to improve the intersection of Thousand Oaks and Westlake boulevards.

“When this project is finished, Westlake Boulevard north of Thousand Oaks Boulevard will be restriped to provide two southbound left-turn lanes, two through lanes and one right-turn lane,” Traffic Analyst Jeff Knowles said.

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New traffic poles already have been erected and contractors are reconstructing the medians in the intersection, Knowles said.

“We’re hoping to be done before school starts,” he said. “So within a month and a half, there should be a second southbound left-turn lane.”

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Dear Street Smart:

What are the plans, if any, to try to alleviate the problems that are already present when the large housing project at Oxnard Boulevard and Gonzales Road is finished?

I understand there will be outlets to both streets. However, even now I often sit through three or four light changes because there is no right-turn lane onto Oxnard Boulevard.

It will only get worse. Is there a chance they will make a right-turn-only lane there? That way, there would be left-turn, straight and right-turn lanes.

I see no chance of widening this street, but when they did the widening the first time they may have been able to squeeze in another lane. As the situation is now, with no change it will be a horrible mess when those housing units are complete.

William F. Langley, Oxnard

Dear Reader:

Your wish is the city of Oxnard’s command.

Traffic official David Denton said plans already are in the works to widen Gonzales Road around Oxnard Boulevard.

“We’re in the process now of getting the permits from Caltrans and Southern Pacific,” Denton said. “Also, northbound Oxnard Boulevard onto Gonzales is also going to have a right-turn lane.”

Denton said new development in the area has prompted his office to redesign the intersection, which will become one of the city’s busiest corners.

“With that development going in there and the Shopping at the Rose project, there has become a problem at Gonzales Road,” he said.


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