Commentary | Ventura’s Road Diet Deception

 

 

By Charles Voigtsberger

Unless the Edison right of way has been opened up to bicycle traffic and the barranca somehow bridged, it is impossible to go from Victoria to Kimball along a continuous bicycle path. One can go from Victoria to Kimball, but riding a bicycle from Victoria requires a bicyclist to go down to Telephone just short of the Edison right of way and the barranca. The bicyclist then has to cross Telephone and continue on Telephone to Kimball.

A bicycle path across those obstacles has been in the planning stage for decades but the money to fund such construction just isn’t forthcoming. In this befuddled state it is impossible to build a bike path for only a few thousand dollars. It has to be a prevailing wage contract with hundreds of conditions involved. One can’t just lay down six feet of black top. The bike path has to meet highway standards laid down by the federales and the nincompoops in Krazymento. 

If Mr. Decker considers riding along Telegraph to be a “bike path” his idea of a bike path and mine are at considerable variance. 

There were plans drawn up to make improvements to Telegraph between Hill Road and the first residential street past the orange orchard. Something happened in between the time the bicycle advisory committee reviewed the construction plans and the actual construction. I don’t know what happened, but either I was spaced completely out and totally misunderstood what was proposed or significant changes were made along the way.

As I understood the plans presented to the bicycle advisory committee, the sidewalk was to be extended to cover the then “bicycle lane” which was merely a stripe on the road and the bicycle lane and sidewalk were to be separated but on the same level as the sidewalk. This was to be constructed on both sides of Telegraph from Hill Road eastward. 

It doesn’t take a traffic engineer to realize that is not what happened. I think I forgot the most important part. Part of the orchard was to be acquired. There was a strip that was adjacent to the cyclone fencing on the south side of Telegraph that was not planted. Somehow when the city started negotiation for the acquisition of that land orange trees got planted on what had been vacant land for years. I personally think that was what put the kibosh on the plans as presented to the bicycle advisory committee and the resultant “improvement” did absolutely nothing to improve bicycle safety on Telegraph.

There was one other item that entered into the equation. There was a study done back in some burgs back east that said if traffic lanes were narrowed, traffic would slow down. I don’t know about the validity of that study but what may work in a small congested town in New England does not work on an intercity expressway in California. Telegraph Road is an intercity expressway. I don’t care what traffic engineers call it, that is what it is. It is one of three roads that provide direct access to Santa Paul from Ventura. It is the only road that provides access from the major shopping center in Ventura to downtown Santa Paula. Foothill does not and the freeway does but only indirectly.

So as part of the construction on Telegraph in the area of interest, the lanes were narrowed to force traffic to go slower. Ha ha ha ha. Anyone traveling on Telegraph between Kimball and Victoria knows that the actual speed of most traffic is well in excess of 50 miles per hour. You know, as long as you are only 10 over, it doesn’t count. 

After the construction, I spent some time photographing vehicular traffic on Telegraph in that section. It was interesting to watch folks who were driving in the portion supposedly for bike traffic, suddenly veered into the travel lane when they notice me and my camera. The speed noticeably decelerated too upon noticing the guy on the side of the road with the camera. 

I don’t really know if there is enough bicycle traffic on Telephone to warrant taking out a traffic lane for a bicycle lane. I haven’t seen any studies that said that. I don’t know if any have been done and how they were conducted.  Up until about ten years ago I used to ride a bicycle for any errands I had to do around town. I went grocery shopping on my bicycle. I went to various volunteer work that I did on my bicycle. If my wife wanted to go some place we went on our tandem bicycle. Oftentimes we rode the tandem bicycle to grocery shop. Our van mostly sat in the driveway. I was very familiar with traffic patterns and danger spots for bicyclists Ventura. I had read considerable about urban bicycle riding. Bicycle riders and motorists are equally careless about observing traffic rules and regulations. Neither group has a righteous claim to piety in that regard. Both are equally inconsiderate of other users of the public roadways.

I was amazed to learn that there was zero communication between the city traffic engineer and the road department. The bicycle advisory committee of which I was a member had suggested certain restriping  of Ventura Boulevard along the freeway between Victoria and the freeway onramp. I noticed that the road was being resurfaced and contacted the city traffic engineer about the advisory committee recommendation and the opportunity at hand to institute that restriping recommendation and was amazed to learn that he didn’t know that it was being resurfaced. An opportunity to have that road improved for bicycle traffic to Oxnard over the bike lane beside the freeway was lost due to poor communication between city departments. The old striping which made no sense at all was repainted upon completion of the resurfacing. 

This post could go on and on about motor vehicle operators who refuse to consider that bicyclists are entitled to use publicly paid for streets and bicyclists who continue to confuse their role between being a pedestrian and being a vehicle subject to the same rules of the road as all other vehicles using that road. But nobody wants to read a 50,000 word article on bicycle/motor vehicle interface on the streets of Ventura. 
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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal

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Original Editorial: Ventura’s Road Diet Deception

Charles Voigtsberger is a resident of Ventura County


 

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2 Responses to Commentary | Ventura’s Road Diet Deception

  1. Matt Decker May 17, 2020 at 7:16 am

    Maybe there is a point of confusion here. There is a bike path, paralleling 126 that goes from Victoria to Kimball and vice versa. Only impossible to traverse if you do not acknowledge its existence.

    Reply
  2. Paul Thompson May 17, 2020 at 6:53 am

    When was this written? There hass been a bike path with a bridge over the barranca by Kimball park for a number of years. I’ve ridden it many times. It’s quite nice.

    Reply

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