2011-05-12 / Community

Road work high on Oak Park agenda

By Sylvie Belmond


LONG ARM OF THE LAW— Capt. Frank O’Hanlon of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, who will oversee law enforcement operations in Oak Park, was introduced at last week’s Municipal Advisory Council meeting. 
SYLVIE BELMONDAcorn Newspapers LONG ARM OF THE LAW— Capt. Frank O’Hanlon of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, who will oversee law enforcement operations in Oak Park, was introduced at last week’s Municipal Advisory Council meeting. SYLVIE BELMONDAcorn Newspapers School traffic, parking problems, increased graffiti activity and an upcoming road rehabilitation project were among the subjects discussed at the Oak Park Municipal Advisory Council meeting last week.

At the start of the meeting, officials and residents paid tribute to Marie Panec, an Oak Park Unified School District board member and longtime schools advocate who died on May 3 from a brain aneurysm.

“Her loss makes me realize how close-knit a community we are,” said Janna Orkney, a Triunfo Sanitation District board member. “When one thread is pulled, we all feel it. Marie had lots of energy and gave a great deal to the community.”

After public comments, county transportation department director David Fleisch provided an outline of road work in the west Oak Park area. The county is preparing to repave 75 roads. The work will begin in late July and last about four months.

Most roads will be resurfaced with rubberized asphalt, which is smooth and noted for being quiet, but some smaller roads and cul-de-sacs will be repaved with conventional asphalt.

Oak Park has about 33 miles of roads. The county has paved about 13 miles since 2001, and this project will pave about 14, Fleisch said.

Within the next 18 months, county officials also hope to repave Kanan Road from the county line to Oak Hills and sections of Lindero Canyon Road and Conifer Street.

To determine job priority, Fleisch said the county inspected the condition of the roads and used other data, including type of road, traffic volume, types of repair required and last treatment date, to create an overall plan for the 550 miles of county roads.

“We try to spread the work we do across the five supervisorial districts,” Fleisch said.

Two speakers who live in developments that were built more than 20 years ago said the county system is flawed. Neighborhood roads, such as Oak Spring and Aspen View Court, have never been resurfaced and yet these roads are not on the list for the current round of work.

“Roads selected for repaving are in better condition that my street,” one of the speakers said. He added that the county should have consulted with the Municipal Advisory Council before choosing roads and scheduling repairs.

Councilmember Mike Paule suggested that the county and the sanitation district coordinate efforts so that pipeline construction for a new water tank near Oak Canyon Park is completed before the roads are repaved. Paule also wanted a center line added to residential roads to make them safer.

In other matters, California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Hunsaker asked Oak Park officials to review the traffic situation around Medea Creek Middle School.

“There is a big issue with kids being dropped off and picked up. The queue has really become tremendous,” Hunsaker said.

Hurried parents double-park, stop in red zones and block driveways, he said.

“I spent the last few days giving warnings. But enforcement is only a temporary fix. Something needs to be done before something tragic happens,” Hunsaker said, suggesting the school could stagger start and end times to reduce traffic.

Oak Park Unified School board member Jan Iceland said the district is aware of the problem and is working on possible solutions.

According to other speakers, the traffic worsened because the nearby Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, which had allowed parents to use the parking lot for pickups and drop-offs, decided to forbid school traffic on its property.

Paule said council members and the school district will work together in coming weeks to review traffic patterns around schools and solve the problems.

At the meeting, the MAC also voted 4-1 to extend the noparking zone on the south side of Deerhill Road from the fire station to Kanan Road. Councilmember Alon Glickstein cast the opposing vote.

“There is simply no room for people to park cars on that stretch of Deerhill and provide for the safe, smooth flow of traffic turning left and right on Kanan,” said Paule, whose daughter was involved in an accident at the site not long ago.

Concerning graffiti, Councilmember Mike Green said he noticed a significant increase in recent weeks. Vandals have been tagging many public areas, Green said.

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