The 1.5-mile stretch from Lost Hills Road to Agoura Road now has two traffic lanes in each direction to accommodate the additional cars and trucks from several new development projects along Las Virgenes.
Robert Yalda, Calabasas director of public works, said the road improvement has been part of the city’s master plan since 1998.
The city used $5.7 million dollars in Los Angeles County Measure R funds to pay for the job. The project was approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and construction began early last year.
Measure R is a 2008 ballot measure that added a half-cent sales tax to Los Angeles county retail purchases. The money is being put toward transportation projects and improvements throughout the region.
The Calabasas job also includes new sidewalks and two new traffic signals at Willow Glen Road and Oak Glen Street.
“The critical element was we didn’t have continuous sidewalk,” Yalda said. “The children from A.E. Wright Middle School were walking toward the McDonald’s and there was no sidewalk, so they were using private property or walking on the street.”
Other highlights are a new 5-foot bicycle lane, a raised landscaped median, and a crosswalk to give pedestrians safer access to the middle school and the Calabasas Bark Park.
A small section of the road improvement around Las Virgenes Road and Oak Glen Street was paid for by Calabasas Blue, the developer of the 78-home Paxton neighborhood that is under construction on the east side of Las Virgenes.
Joanne Suwara, a Calabasas resident and a member of the Calabasas Coalition citizens group, has been critical of the housing, retail and hotel development along the Las Virgenes corridor, and called the recent road-widening a “moot point.”
“It doesn’t really help anything. It’s the freeway that’s crowded,” Suwara said. “People exit the freeway and use side streets and Las Virgenes as a shortcut. There’s no great improvement in traffic even though it’s widened because it all comes to a bottleneck at the freeway.”
Suwara’s coalition monitors all development in the city. She said its aim is not to stop growth in Calabasas but to make sure the city’s limited available land is put to the best use.