Questions and Answers About Your Commute : Valley Circle Potholes Make for Rough Ride


Dear Traffic Talk:

Can something be done about the many big potholes on Valley Circle Boulevard between Roscoe Boulevard and Plummer Street? The long and narrow street is well traveled and you have to go over the lane markings to avoid dropping into these large holes.

Patricia Peskin


Dear Patricia:

The city Bureau of Street Maintenance fills in potholes. To report one--or several--call (818) 756-8121, Ext. 4855661. One reason that parts of Valley Circle are in poor condition is that some sections of the residential and commercial development occurred before the city instituted current street-building codes, according to bureau director Patrick Howard.

Dear Traffic Talk:

Traffic at the intersection of Van Nuys and Ventura boulevards in Sherman Oaks is a nightmare. Southbound traffic on Van Nuys can't cross Ventura when it has the green light because of eastbound cars on Ventura turning right. We need a sign facing eastbound motorists that prohibits them from turning right on red between 7 and 9 a.m.

Bunny Wilk

Sherman Oaks

Dear Bunny:

According to city transportation engineer Irwin Chodash, the problem doesn't happen frequently enough to warrant a no-right-turn sign, which he said would impede traffic circulation. He added that there are already signs on that corner that prohibit motorists from blocking the intersection, which they are doing if they are preventing southbound drivers with the right of way from driving through the intersection.

Dear Traffic Talk:

It is unfair for insured drivers to have to pay extra to protect themselves against uninsured drivers. Would it be a good idea for all people to get the basic insurance coverage by being taxed at the gas pumps? With the basic universal insurance coverage in hand, most people would elect to buy additional coverage to suit their needs. Has this been considered before and will this work to the advantage of people who carry insurance, or would they end up being penalized further?

Jean Sears


Dear Jean:

Richard Wiebe, a state deputy insurance commissioner, said that the idea has been proposed before in the state Legislature and by financial writer and author Andrew Tobias. The main problem with the idea, Wiebe said, is that it imposes a huge additional tax on motorists that would raise the price of gas by 50%, according to some estimates. There is also concern that the tax would unfairly burden people in rural areas who tend to drive greater distances, but on relatively safe roads.

Under the system that you're suggesting, the state government would be the insurance company for California drivers. According to Wiebe, if revenues did not cover payments--due to squeamish politicians balking at imposing the necessary taxes--then the system could go broke.

"When they put pencil to paper and found out how much they should have to raise the gas tax, they shelved the idea," Wiebe said of state lawmakers. "No politicians wanted that on their record."

Traffic Talk appears Fridays in The Times Valley Edition. Readers may submit comments and questions about traffic in the Valley to Traffic Talk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 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. Fax letters to (818) 772-3385.

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