Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fulton Street Extension Answer to Traffic Problems?

By Nao Braverman
The line of cars waiting to turn off Bryant Street onto Ojai Avenue at rush hour is getting longer as new developments spring up in the Bryant Street industrial area.
Commuters are frustrated and Bryant Street business owners worry that the increasing traffic has degraded the already-questionable safety of the intersection.
A partial solution is in the works, though some wonder whether it is the most sensible step to alleviating traffic snarls. At tonight’s Planning Commission meeting, commissioners will consider the Fulton Street extension project.
The proposed extension will connect South Fulton Street with Bryant Circle and allow commuters to access Bryant Street by turning onto Fulton.
The extension is just one of several traffic improvements that are to be implemented as Bryant Street developments arise. They include adding a right turn lane, continuing the Fulton Street extension to connect it to Fox Street and Willow Street, and possibly adding a roundabout in the future.
Because each project is partially funded by traffic mitigation fees charged to developers of the Bryant Street area when they apply for building permits, the traffic improvements will occur in conjunction with development proposals. If the building doesn’t happen, neither will the traffic improvements, explained city planner Katrina Schmidt.
For now the only traffic improvement being proposed is the extension of South Fulton Street to connect it to Bryant Circle.
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Lisa Snider said...

When I leave my Pilates class at 7pm from Bryant St., I simply turn right then make a U-turn as it is usually impossible to turn left.

B.B.Dunwoody said...

It seems to me that the obvious solution to the Bryant St/Ojai Ave problem is a traffic light at the intersection, with a left turn lane control. This solution is not mentioned in your article. Is it being considered---and if not, why not???

Anonymous said...

I for one would hate to see another light on Ojai Ave. Lets see, there is one at Fox and O.A.,Signal and O.A., Brystol and O.A., Country Club and O.A., and at the Y. If you are going to put a light there, you should put one on N.Drown, S.Fulton, N.Fulton, Shady Ln.. These streets with the exception of S.Fulton have more traffic than Bryant on any day of the week and it is no easier for those drivers to make their left turns from those same intersections than it is at Bryant.

Dana Wilson

Anonymous said...

Big buildout on Bryant Street
Industrial Plan is the cause
of increased traffic needing extentions. Way out of proportion
and scale to this town, with
all the adjustments made after
the damage is done. Biggest project to hit Ojai, yet is being treated like impact is annoying detail...

Suza Francina said...

Street extensions are NEVER an answer to traffic problems. Study after study shows that anything that makes driving more convenient only encourages people to drive more. I'm all for increasing safety (preferably without more traffic lights) but do not be deluded into thinking this will be an answer to the problem of too many people driving too much in a small town where most destinations are under three-miles .

Suza Francina

Anonymous said...

Ms. Francina has raised a point. It would be interesting to take a poll of all people who work in the industrial area of Bryant Street/Circle to see how many of them travel less than 3 miles to work. There is so much new building going on in the area that it would be my guess that many of them will be coming from Oak View and beyond and would benefit from not having to come through downtown to get to their jobs. To be able to get to the inductrial area without having to mess with downtown would be a treat. One can almost do it now, coming up Creek Road all the way to Montgomery Street BUT they would miss Starbucks. Let's hear it for another Starbucks on the east side of the valley!!! Oops, forgot. Chain store. So, by the way, IS it okay to patronize the existing Starbucks SO LONG as it is not within the city limits? I am never sure, but judging by the number of cars that are always in their parking lot, it is! Hippocritical? ME thinks it is. It sure seems that I see alot of people walking around downtown with Starbucks drinks in their hands!

Suza Francina said...

I hope the bulk of those people walking around town with Starbucks drinks in their hands are tourists who did not realize what cool locally owned coffee shops we have in the heart of town!

Has the bike trail been extended to Bryant Street yet? Are employers giving employees incentives and perks to bike or carpool to work? Is there an "emergency" company car available for employees who bike to work? Is there safe and secure bicycle parking at all the businesses on Bryant street?

Anonymous said...

The Planning Commission projects resulting in the Bryant Street
Industrial Plan represents the worst in community development.The
City is blinded by its ‘maximum build out theory’ of development.The Plan has no
traffic mitigation or EIR except an increase of 300K car trips from Bryant Street. The decisions that are being made by the current Community Development Department, Planning Commission and City Council are extremely detrimental to the City and the valley of
Ojai. The decisions being made by our officials affect our quality of life, raise health and environmental issues, and will continue to increase the amount of
traffic in the valley. All of these issues are being dismissed by the City or in some cases new ordinances are being written
to get around the legal issues which they present. It is important that we stand as a community to express our concerns about how our elected/appointed officials are doing their job. It is about reminding our officials that the true sense of community development is about building an active and sustainable community based on mutual respect. Ojai is
special to each one of us who live here. It is why we live here and it is our responsibility to preserve the unique character of the valley.Real 25 year vision for Ojai? Turning a small town into an unlivable City. SAVE OJAI

Suza Francina said...

Thank you anonymous! The truth of the matter is, we need people on the City Council and Planning Commission who sees this as clearly as you do. As you've rightly pointed out, it is not possible to preserve the unique character of our valley AND have "maximum build out." At the same time, we must recognize that traffic levels are not like the weather, beyond our control. Outdated policies that make cars king of the road and treat bicyclists and pedestrians as second-class citizens are directly responsible for the unacceptable levels of traffic on Ojai Avenue.