Council Goes Ahead With Transit Center

Hoping to put state and federal grant money to use and complete a stalled project, the City Council has decided to proceed with plans for a transportation center at Rancho Road south of the Ventura Freeway.

Council members voted 5 to 0 Tuesday night to build a small transportation hub at the 20-acre site while continuing to examine other sites for another transit center--a bus transfer facility.

The council also directed city officials to contact the owners of The Oaks and Janss Marketplace malls about sharing parking with a transit center.

Thousand Oaks officials initially proposed building a full, $3.5-million transportation hub at the Rancho Road site, which is being used as a park-and-ride lot. The facility, meant to link different forms of transportation in the Conejo Valley, would have included restrooms, gas station and other amenities.

But residents in the adjacent unincorporated community of Rolling Oaks complained that such a facility would bring undesirables and traffic problems, and did not belong in a residential area.

As a result, council members have decided to, in essence, split the original proposal into two sites.

Concerned that this would jeopardize $1.8 million in state and federal funds that Thousand Oaks has received for a single transit facility, the Ventura County Transportation Commission, which helped the city secure the money, wrote a letter to the council.

However, Don Nelson, the city's public works director, told council members that there is no danger of losing the money. Although the plans have been reduced in scale, the Rancho Road site would still be a "multi-modal" transportation center with shelter for passengers, meeting the state and federal requirements, he said.

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