White Privilege in Ojai, the Active Transportation Program (ATP) Application for Maricopa Hwy lane reduction

By Jeffrey Weinstein
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Rather than examine another traffic intersection impacted by lane reduction, lets examine the difference between what City Council members and supporters of lane reduction ‘say’ about the project versus what the project plans and documents actually say.  We learned last week that despite no mention ever being made in any public pronouncement, the westbound lane of Ojai Ave at the “Y” shall be eliminated to prevent passing slower-moving vehicles, the only opportunity from Santa Paula 30+ minutes away. This impactful lane reduction on Ojai Ave at the “Y” is not part of the Demonstration Project (please see attached above “Exhibit A, Scope of Work, Demonstration Project”), which the City Council is still intending to install with no Nordhoff HS classes in session.
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During City Council sessions, a City Council member repeatedly claimed that 30 to 40% more high school students are predicted to start riding their bikes to school after lane reduction.  Exhibit A indicates a 10% increase in students riding their bikes to Nordhoff HS.  Current enrollment at NHS is 729 students in the 2017-2018 school year (a loss of 1500 students over the previous 10 years due to lack of housing in Ojai.)  If there was a 30-40% or even 10% improvement that would be admirable.  But, take a look at the actual application and user statistics on page 5 (“Exhibit B” attached above) of the ATP Application.  The City Council actually predicts that ridership by students will increase 1%, from 2% of existing students to 3% of future students will ride their bikes to school.  Not 30-40% as claimed by a certain City Council member, not 10% per the goals of the Demonstration Project, but just 1% or 7.3 (1% of 729 total students currently enrolled) more students are actually predicted to ride their bikes to school as a result of lane reduction! 

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

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The total grant funding amount from the State of $2.6 million (not including City of Ojai’s expenses), divided by 7.3 added students riding their bikes, equals a cost of $356,000 per each additional student riding their bike to NHS.  That same $2.6 million could permanently build 10- 2 bedroom/2 bath family-style apartments (for 40 persons), or house nearly 220 homeless persons annually (at a cost of $1,000 per month each).  Instead, the City of Ojai is eliminating vehicle lanes to create separated bike lanes for 7 additional high school students riding their bikes to school.  This effort increasingly sounds like “white privilege”.
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Now, lets more closely examine the City Council (and Ojai Valley News) claim that “The City of Ojai ranks 2nd worst out of 75 cities of similar size (population 2501-10,000) in speed-related fatal and injury collisions” in 2012 (see Exhibit C).  First of all, we shouldn’t be spending $2.6 million based on data from 2012.  Does your doctor operate based on x-rays that are 8 year old, would you buy a computer using 8-year old technology, so why are we designing roads based on obsolete information.  But, take a close look at the actual statistics from 2012 (please see attached above “Exhibit D”).  The City of Ojai ranks near the top on both pedestrian safety (54th out of 75 similar-sized cities) and bicyclist safety (62nd out of 75 cities) for all those persons less than 15 years of age.  In other words, we are in the 70th percentile for pedestrian safety and 80th percentile for bicyclist safety!

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

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But this fact from 2012 does not fit neatly into the City Council’s (and Ojai Valley News’) narrative, so it is conveniently omitted.  Lane reduction on Maricopa Hwy is all about ideology over engineering, just as COVID-19 is all about politics over science.  Are we prepared to allow obsolete data to support an ideology that engineering clearly demonstrates does not work?  Finally, for a bit of humor, please see Exhibit E attached above.  The City’s consultants are planning to use these “gizmos” or “thingamajigs” along our Maricopa Hwy where lane reduction, curb extensions, parking in the middle of the street between trees, crosswalks and widespread striping is not enough.  Should the City Council have its way, Maricopa Hwy will be littered with these contraptions to separate and slow traffic, marring the view and turning Maricopa Hwy into an obstacle course.

Exhibit E

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With this explanation of why the current ATP plans for Maricopa Hwy are so objectionable, along with my 2 prior emails below, you may begin to see why I and many others (SaveMaricopaHwy.com has 400+ members) are so vehemently opposed to this traffic engineering fiasco, that is so wrong and inappropriate for the Ojai Valley.
Jeffery Weinstein is a Ventura County resident and architect 

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Joe C
Joe C
2 months ago

White Privilege Matters

Joe
Joe
2 months ago

How in the world is this white privilege?