I can’t count how many times District 3 residents have complained about cut-through and speeding traffic in their residential neighborhoods. In the last ten years, it has been a constant topic of concern at the College Area Community Council, but it’s also been raised several times at meetings of the Measure O Committee, as well as City Council. While other neighborhoods complain about slow traffic, in the College Area, we complain more about how fast it is.
I knew Poinsettia parents who lived three blocks from the campus but drove their children to school, because they didn’t feel safe walking during the morning rush hour. We have residential streets like Wake Forest and Dean Drive where people routinely drive at twice the speed limit as they cut through neighborhoods.
Enforcement helps a little, and the Ventura Police Department has always been quick to respond to requests for traffic enforcement, but a permanent improvement requires the cooperation of the city’s Transportation Division.
The city should guarantee to parents, school staff, and the school district that a Transportation Engineer and an officer from the police department’s Traffic Unit will work with them to find solutions to traffic problems around schools. At Poinsettia, it was difficult to bring everybody to the table, and while we did get several improvements made, problems still persist.
Along residential streets, the city must reinstate the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program. The program gave residents the opportunity to work with the city to find traffic-calming measures — not just speed humps but all sorts of clever ways to reduce speeding and cut-through traffic. It was eliminated as part of the budget cuts in 2008, and while its revival has been discussed several times since, we are still waiting.
Funding the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program is not a big net cost. Traffic calming improvements get made around the city, but they should be implemented as part of a documented process which asks the residents to help decide which solution offers the best bang for the buck. There might be a slight net cost to restarting the NTMP, as it could require more staff time. I don’t know, though, how anybody could object to having a police officer and a transportation engineer meet with residents who are concerned about traffic safety on their street.