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Simi Police Defend Aggressive Tactics to Catch Speeders

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dear Street Smart:

My son received two tickets from a motorcycle officer who was parked on the sidewalk on Bennett Street, and I have seen the officer there myself.

But the last couple of times, he was not parked in the open. He was parked in front of a recreational vehicle so that he could ticket drivers who were going faster than 25 m.p.h.

I think that is gross. This is not the right thing for police to do. I thought it was illegal for a motorcycle to be parked on the sidewalk.

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I would appreciate someone checking into this.

Pauline Trapasso, Simi Valley

Dear Reader:

Police officials in your city said they are not “staking out” potential violators. But they do have an aggressive traffic enforcement team, whose members often scan traffic for lead-footed and errant drivers.

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“If an officer needs somewhere to park, he’ll park there,” said Simi Valley Police Sgt. Bob Gardner, referring to the sidewalk. “We do traffic enforcement.”

Fast drivers will get no sympathy from the police.

“If people are speeding, they should get a ticket,” Gardner said. “If they’re not speeding, they’re not going to get a ticket.”

Gardner was quick to say that speeders are responsible for many tragic accidents. “They’re the most dangerous,” he said.

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Dear Street Smart:

I am writing in regard to the safety warning buttons embedded in the road on both sides of the crosswalk in the 1300 block of Petit Avenue.

The way they are configured so close together, they cause a rumbling noise like a motor every time a car or big truck passes over these things--all day and night.

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I was wondering if we can get some action on this.

Walter Sullivan, Ventura

Dear Reader:

Yours is not the first complaint the city of Ventura has heard since workers embedded the round, white safety devices in the streets in front of most of the city’s elementary schools. The same dots are used to divide lanes throughout California’s freeway system.

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Engineers know that when cars drive over the circular buttons, there is a distinct noise. But they are more concerned with the safety of schoolchildren.

“Drivers are simply not slowing down when the crossing guards go out there,” said Nazir Lalani, Ventura’s traffic engineer. “We’re talking about children who are very young and they need all the protection we can give them.”

City engineers, however, are not insensitive to your dilemma. In fact, Lalani said many of the crossings, including the one you referred to, have been adjusted to minimize the noise to nearby residents.

“What we’ve done in some cases is reduce the number of buttons, so the noise levels are reduced,” he said. “But it still gives a rumble to the driver to let them know to slow down.

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“We don’t want to eliminate them completely because we do feel they serve a function,” he added.

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Dear Street Smart:

There is a problem with a sign at Madera Road and Wood Ranch Parkway in Simi Valley.

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When making a left turn from westbound Madera Road and waiting in mid-intersection for oncoming traffic to clear, the view of oncoming traffic is obscured. This is due to a white sign in the center of the median with an arrow pointing out the lanes ahead.

This is even more of a problem since the stoplight was changed to allow left turns on a green light as well as on a left green arrow. This condition is very unsafe and the sign should either be eliminated or moved to the right by five or 10 feet.

Milton E. Radant, Simi Valley

Dear Reader:

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Your letter has prompted an official review of the sign situation at the intersection of Madera Road and Wood Ranch Parkway.

Traffic engineer Jim Brunner said that by the time you read this, his crew will have performed the inspection, and that if changes are warranted the sign will be moved.

“If it’s true that the sign obstructs the view, we will shift it or do something to eliminate that problem,” he said. “Signs are important, but of course safety is our No. 1 concern.”

Brunner added that without inquiries such as yours, he and his co-workers would not always be aware of such situations.

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