After weeks of discussion, the Ojai City Council abandoned a 14-month-old plan to install a controversial, complex and expensive traffic light to improve safety at the confusing dog-leg intersection of Ojai Avenue and Montgomery Street.
Instead, the council voted unanimously Tuesday night to pursue the Ojai Avenue signal one block to the east, at Fox Street.
“I feel at this point a signal at Fox Street is a good compromise and a step in the right direction,” Councilwoman Suza Francina said.
City Manager Andy Belknap acknowledged that a Fox Street signal may not be the “total solution” to the traffic problems plaguing the tourist town’s main drag, also known as California 150.
But the stoplight will be simpler and less expensive than the elaborate $180,000 configuration planned for Montgomery Street.
The Fox Street light is intended to slow traffic farther away from downtown and leave open the possibility of using pedestrian-friendly techniques such as raised mid-block crosswalks later, officials said.
Although the state Department of Transportation’s approval of the new proposal is likely, it is not assured, Belknap said, and final light installation is at least eight months away.
The latest plan appeared to placate the vociferous anti-Montgomery Street signal light activists who turned out to protest the plan in the past.
“I am saddened and disappointed another light is going in without trying one of the myriad alternatives,” resident Leonard Klaif said.