2005-06-02 / Columns

By Michael Picarella pic@theacorn.com
The location: Eastbound Borchard Road between Los Vientos and San Antonio Place in Newbury Park The problem: Motorists aren’t given proper warning of the pedestrian crosswalk area, according to critics. One of the pedestrian warning lights, which are located on both sides of the road before the crosswalk, is partially obscured by trees.

The ground lights at the crosswalk aren’t sufficiently noticeable, according to those who are complaining. Some pedestrians said they feel unsafe at the location.

Possible solutions: A stoplight at the location might slow down motorists.

Immediate action: Thousand Oaks city engineers will visit the location and examine it for possible action, including tree trimming, said T.O. Senior Civil Engineer Jim Mashiko.

HARD TO SEE?––Some people complain this crosswalk on Borchard and San Antonio is hard to see and for that reason is unsafe for pedestrians. A Thousand Oaks traffic official doesn’t see it that wayHARD TO SEE?––Some people complain this crosswalk on Borchard and San Antonio is hard to see and for that reason is unsafe for pedestrians. A Thousand Oaks traffic official doesn’t see it that way“San Antonio Place is one of the three locations in the city where we have pedestrian-illuminated crosswalks,” Mashiko said. “It’s a crosswalk that’s not controlled by a signal, but it has enhanced features to help pedestrians cross the street.” The crosswalk device is called a Smart Crosswalk and it’s geared toward pedestrian safety. It uses a series of signal heads with lightemitting diodes (LEDs) that are embedded in the road at the crosswalk. The LEDs flash as pedestrians go through the crosswalk.

Sensor posts on either side of the street detect pedestrians when they step into the crosswalk and the lights are activated.

The two warning lights, which are placed on both sides of the road before the crosswalk, are additional safety devices to warn motorists of pedestrian crossing. The city installed the Smart Crosswalk and the crosswalk warning lights in the summer of 2000, according to Mashiko.

These are features that typical pedestrian crossing locations don’t have, Mashiko said. He was unaware of complaints at city hall.

In the past 40 months, according to Mashiko, not one pedestrianrelated accident was reported at the location. Five auto collisions were reported there. Four of those were rear-end accidents.

A traffic signal probably wasn’t considered at this location because there isn’t a great deal of cross traffic coming out of San Antonio, Mashiko said. Signals are usually situated at intersections of busy streets.

According to Mashiko, traffic signal lights control vehicles. The city would install a traffic signal for pedestrian traffic only in the case of significant pedestrian volume— a factor the city determines—for any location.

This crosswalk (on Borchard Road) is like any other crosswalk, Mashiko said. Pedestrians still must decide when it’s safe to walk.

The city tests the Smart Crosswalk equipment, warning lights and all other traffic signals on a monthly basis, according to Mashiko.

“We’ll also check out (the systems) if we get a call from the public saying (the systems) aren’t working,” Mashiko said.

For questions or comments about Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park traffic issues, call the Thousand Oaks Public Works Department at (805) 449-2400.

Have a traffic-related question or concern?

Send it to “Ask Mr. Traffic” in care of the address on page 4 or by e-mail to pic@theacorn.com. We’ll try to respond as soon as possible.

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