Thousand Oaks Lane Reduction – To the VC Star: the support you claim for this “Road Diet” is just not there


SlowlaneOr – Life in the Slow Lane

by Thomas Adams

On Thursday, February 20, the city of Thousand Oaks offered a slideshow and open forum regarding the narrowing of Hillcrest Blvd. Larry Tay – Associate Traffic Engineer and Akbar Alikhan were running the presentation. As for Tay and Alikhan, they seemed to be pawns in a “Delphi” style presentation.  They were two low-level government mouthpieces put in place to insulate the actual decision makers from facing strong factions with opposing preferences. “Appointed” City Councilman Joel Price was there, but he came late and left early… no chance to ask any questions, appropriately enough. The impetus to all this is a $360,000 Grant from the State of California to add bike lanes.

They stated that they really want local feedback so they can follow the will of the people. BALDERDASH!!

In a town of 130,000 people, they send out 1000 fliers per meeting. When pressed why they aren’t letting a greater cross section of our 130,000 residents know, their answer… you’re gonna love this… and officially stated: “It’s really expensive. Maybe YOU can help with social media to get the word out.”  Really? You’re putting it back on us? So, you’re OK with spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to jam up traffic on a major thoroughfare but you can’t take out a newspaper ad? Maybe print up just a few more fliers? E-mails? Smoke signals?

The meeting was held in the “Oak Room.” It sounds nice, until you try to navigate the terrain. If you’re new the civic center, at night it’s a slightly shinier version of the Haunted Mansion. The employees coming out of the Civic Center at 6:PM didn’t know anything about  the “Hillcrest Meeting” or a “Bike Lane” meeting.

The meeting itself was held by two local-Government mouthpieces who were a bit like talking to those “Help” lines you call when you have an issue with some consarned device or service. You get an underpaid representative with a very finite number of answers to a plethora of questions. From the very onset of the Hillcrest meeting, several words kept coming to mind… lip-service… appeasement… insincerity…. agenda… etc. This was made even clearer when the Q & A “officially” began at the end of the presentation. The word “Officially” is in quotation marks because the meeting was a free-for-all from the get-go.

From the very first slide, it was obvious that the majority of the people in the room were against any changes to the configuration of Hillcrest… and pretty irritated at the way this has been handled. They seem to feel like it’s being shoved down their throats. When asked point blank: “How many DOCUMENTED complaints do you have regarding the current configuration?” Alikhan responded with the same cockeyed look you get from a Labrador when you proffer a calculus equation. Tay came back with “Uh… we don’t…um…actually uh…document. We…uh…get calls… we don’t ummm actually count them.”

One of the canned-pitch lines the speakers kept repeating was “This is the public outreach stage. We want your input before the City Council makes the decision.”  THAT brought a moan from the crowd which is all too used to the modus operandi of our council responding to residents with “U-huh… yeah… sure…,” then doing exactly what they had planned all along. In this case, lurching forward with the state subsidy to “Go Green” with extra-wide bike lanes, even if cars out number bikes 10,000 to one over the course of a full week.

Editor’s Note: The Ventura County Star ran an editorial today “Calming traffic drives changes on T.O. streets,” lauding Thousand Oaks for “earning its stripes” (no pun intended?) by “breaking away from the status quo.”  We’ve got news for them: this is the “cookie cutter” approach prefabbed by the “Sustainability” crowd and being cloned nationwide. It IS the status quo. We all know that the goal is making driving as difficult as possible and getting people out of their cars.

Next meeting will be on March 19.  Check back with CJ for news/details.

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Thomas Adams is a West coast Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  He is a resident of Thousand Oaks

 

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One Response to Thousand Oaks Lane Reduction – To the VC Star: the support you claim for this “Road Diet” is just not there

  1. Jenny J February 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    BRAVO! Thanks for shining a light in another dark corner of yet another “If I want your opinion, I will give it to you” type of so-called public out reach government meeting. Another waste of time meeting just like the dog-and-pony show put on by the Post Office before they closed the popular and accessible Newbury Park Post Office on Newbury Road – trading down to the inconvenient, distant new branch office.

    Be warned – the only “sustainable growth” that is going to go on here is the growth in public outcry, opposition and resistance and further tax-paying pubic awareness of these tricks.

    Reply

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