Questions and Answers About Your Commute : Push Once for Walk, Twice for Impatience


Dear Readers:

Every week we go through our correspondence and try to choose the traffic quandaries that really push people's buttons. Traffic Talk wouldn't dream of ignoring the hot-button issues that everyone is talking about. Consider the following letters.

Dear Traffic Talk:

Does it do any good for pedestrians to repeatedly press the "walk" button to get the traffic light to change?

Stuart L. Watson

Studio City

Dear Stuart:

"Only as therapy," said Brian Gallagher, a transportation engineer with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. A person need only push the button once to get the signal light to react, just as when you want an elevator, Gallagher said.

But, if it makes you feel better to push the button five times, go right ahead.

Dear Traffic Talk:

I drive from Calabasas to Van Nuys and back at least three times a week. Traffic on the Ventura Freeway, especially west of Tarzana, travels at faster than 70 m.p.h. Vehicles towing trailers are in all lanes except the slow lanes. Some cars are weaving in and out without signaling.

California Highway Patrol officers are conspicuous by their absence. Where are they?

Robert S. Ellyn


Dear Robert:

According to CHP spokesman Ernie Garcia, vehicles pulling trailers are allowed to drive in the two right lanes when they are on a four-lane freeway. But in answer to your immediate question, Garcia said that eight CHP cars patrol that stretch every day, although it is doubtful that you would see all of them out there at once.

Asked whether the CHP could assign more officers to the portion of the freeway with which you're concerned, Garcia said it is unlikely, given budgetary facts of life and the fact that speeding and unsafe driving are no worse there than on most other freeways in the city.

Dear Traffic Talk:

Is there any way to get someone from the city to coordinate the traffic lights on Reseda Boulevard north to the Simi Valley Freeway? At 6:30 in the morning when I go to work, traffic gets stopped at every light. It's not that the light is red when you get to the intersection, it turns red just in time to make you stop. I can make friends with other drivers who join me at Plummer Street because they will also be sitting with me at the Simi Valley Freeway and every light in between.

Myron Baker


Dear Myron:

City transportation engineer Gallagher said that it is difficult to synchronize the traffic lights in both directions on Reseda at that time because of the distance between signals and because of the 40 m.p.h. speed limit on that stretch.

Where synchronization is possible, priority is given to the southbound traffic in the morning, which is heavier than the northbound flow (partly due to Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita residents driving to their San Fernando Valley jobs).

Gallagher said: "We'd be happy to go out and look at it to see if we can fine-tune it a bit."


Traffic Talk appears Fridays in The Times Valley Edition. Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about traffic in the Valley. Please write to Traffic Talk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, Calif. 91311. Include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers. Letters may be edited, and no anonymous letters will be accepted. To record your comments, call (818) 772-3303. Send fax letters to (818) 772-3385.

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