Ojai traffic tops council
by Chris Wilson
Ojai City Council took its votes to the streets Tuesday evening
in a meeting dominated by transportation and traffic concerns.
Bulb-out planters that line North Montgomery Street will have
a deconstruction company take them out within a few weeks. And
for the second meeting in a row, councilman David Bury reiterated
the inaccuracy of using the term "bulb out."
"Every time we call them bulb outs, we're giving a great
calming device a black eye," Bury said. "Nonetheless,
let's move on."
Councilman Joe DeVito apologized to the public for the city's
"goof," but steered clear of pointing direct fingers
during the meeting.
"The decision was made out in the field," DeVito said.
"We didn't foresee the public outcry. I just want to let
the public know we're sorry. This is one of the few projects
the city has taken on that has been a failure."
Public Works Director Stan Hakes asked the council to honor the
request of Earl and Sandy Jones, 307 N. Montgomery St., and retain
a midblock planter in front of their yard. The Joneses have
adopted one of the planters, added trees and flowers, and told
the city they'd care for and water the foliage, Hakes told the
council. A budget amendment of $28,000 will be taken from excess
Transportation Development Act funding to remove the other 22
Leading off the meeting, three fifth-grade school children from
San Antonio Elementary beseeched the council ask the Ventura
County Board of Supervisors to extend the Ojai Trolley route
to the East End. Gina Casteneda, JJ LaSalle, and Tanner Starbord
proved they had done their homework. They told the council they'd
been to an unmet needs hearing in Camarillo, talked with their
neighbors at Thacher School, Boccali's Restaurant and Ojai Valley
School and found everyone supported the extended route.
This would help solve the traffic problems, they said.
"We could catch a ride and lessen pollution," Starbord
said. Casteneda added that with a Trolley to the East End, more
kids could be involved in after school programs.
Teacher Linda McMichaels said her students' request is part of
a Service Learning Project.
City Manager Dan Singer said this was an issue he will spend
some time looking at in the next year. Ojai resident Bill Myly
mentioned that the Trolley gave 131,000 rides in 12 months.
General Services Director Carol Fox got a unanimous approval
to apply for a Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities grant to extend
the Ojai Valley Trail from Bryant Street to Soule Park. If Ojai
is successful in securing the funds, work would begin in fiscal
year 2002-03, after public workshops and consulting from ATA
In other news, the city will bring the sunlight inside at Sarzotti
Park and the City Hall. The low bidder has been called for to
install skylighting in a bathroom, the city clerk's office,
gymnasium and multi-purpose room. The estimated $25,000 needed
for the project will come from the city's equipment replacement
fund, or held over and budgeted in next year.
Prior to the regular meeting the Council met with their lawyer,
Monte L. Widders, in closed chambers, to discuss a lawsuit that's
been brought against the City by the Citizens to Preserve the
Ojai. According to the agenda, they also discussed initiating
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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