2013-10-10 / Community

Restriping aimed at lowering accident rate

By Anna Bitong


NEW LINES?—Cars drive on Hillcrest Drive between Hodencamp and the 23 Freeway. The city’s public works department wants to repaint the road, changing it from two lanes to one in each direction, with a center turning lane to reduce rear-end collisions and side swipes. 
RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers NEW LINES?—Cars drive on Hillcrest Drive between Hodencamp and the 23 Freeway. The city’s public works department wants to repaint the road, changing it from two lanes to one in each direction, with a center turning lane to reduce rear-end collisions and side swipes. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers Restriping Hillcrest Drive from Hodencamp Road to the 23 Freeway could reduce the number of traffic accidents in that area, according to the city’s Public Works Department.

At a Capital Facilities Committee meeting at City Hall Sept. 25, Jay Spurgin, public works director, compared the proposed project to the 2011 restriping of a 1.25-mile section of Avenida de Los Arboles, between Moorpark Road and the 23 Freeway, changing it from two travel lanes in each direction to one, with a middle turn lane.

“The (traffic) volume (on Hillcrest) is well within the striping criteria,” Spurgin said. “The speeds are very comparable to all the other streets where we’ve done this, including Arboles.”

As with Los Arboles, the idea for Hillcrest is to cut the number of travel lanes in each direction from two to one and add a center turn lane in order to prevent rearend collisions and sideswipes.

The proposed project site has a collision rate of about six accidents per million vehicle-miles (a/mvm), the highest collision rate among 12 comparable city street segments. Avenida de Los Arboles between Moorpark Road and Avenida de Las Plantas, in comparison, has the second-highest collision rate at about 4 a/mvm.

“We want to reduce the accident rate primarily caused by rear-enders and sideswipes, which is exactly what we had on Arboles before we made those changes,” Cliff Finley, deputy director of public works, told the Acorn.

Finley said that having fewer traffic lanes would not slow down traffic. The segment proposed for restriping has fewer than 12,000 vehicles per day. The upper limit for this “calming” strategy is 20,000 per day, according to statistics provided by the city.

“There’s plenty of capacity for reducing the number of lanes,” Finley said. “It shouldn’t have any impact on traffic volume. What it will have an impact on is the number of accidents.”

The plan may move forward with community support. The project would be paid for with Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant funds.

“We want to start by going door to door, have a focused neighborhood meeting and see if there’s support,” Spurgin said.

Restriping the road would also make it safer for pedestrians, who would cross fewer traffic lanes, Spurgin said. And it would provide more space for parking and move vehicle traffic away from people’s driveways, Finley said.

“If people are interested in the project scope, we can expand,” Finley said. “We think this restriping project will benefit other areas. We’ll reach out to those areas as soon as we decide if there’s any value to these folks.”

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