WEST HILLS – Stop signs on a busy corner of Valley Circle Boulevard will be removed today Wednesday despite an outcry from many residents who fear the thoroughfare will turn into a speedway.City transportation officials say the northbound and southbound stop signs on Valley Circle Boulevard at Highlander Road are no longer needed and would create a traffic hazard after a new signal was installed at nearby Bell Canyon Road.But neighbors said the stop signs have been in place for decades and are crucial to help reduce speed in an area where drivers are known to fly by at 60 mph.“The strategy appears to be to make this a street that’s faster and faster,” said Robert Steward, a West Hills resident. “People are going to be dead in the street. We don’t want this to become a mini freeway.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre In April, after adding the traffic signal at Bell Canyon Road, city workers pulled out the stop signs on Valley Circle Boulevard at Highlander Road without notifying the residents or City Council member who represents the area.The traffic signal was necessary because the volume of traffic coming out of Bell Canyon Road is three to four times more than that of Highlander Road, said Alan Willis, principal transportation engineer with the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation.The stop signs were temporarily put back up to appease enraged residents.“We’re up in arms,” said Barry Seybert, West Hills Neighborhood Council Streets and Transportation co-chairman. “There was no formal warning.“DOT isn’t recognizing the citizens’ request. They’re marching to their own drum and don’t give a damn about the residents.” But having a stop sign so close to a stoplight would cause southbound drivers coming over the hill to come to a sudden halt, which could result in a traffic backup and rear-end collisions, Willis said.“With everybody having to stop, only a number of people per hour can get through an intersection,” he said. “It becomes an impediment to moving traffic.”Some West Hills residents side with the city.Jack Bedrossian said he is wearing down his break pads having to stop every time he leaves his house. He hopes removal of the signs will let traffic flow better.“I’m just stopping because I have to, not because someone is crossing or because I’m giving somebody the right of way,” he said. “If it’s a speed problem, it should be addressed another way.”Councilman Dennis Zine, who represents West Hills, said his office will monitor the situation and that if the intersection proves to be dangerous, the neighbors could get a traffic light in the future.“We want to bring a sense of normalcy to this happy, nice community that was disrupted by the lack of planning of the Department of Transportation,” he said. “There was a total lack of communication all across the board. We want to see how this works.”To allay residents’ fears, the Department of Transportation will use a gradual plan beginning next week to get residents familiar with the new traffic pattern on Valley Circle Boulevard.The Department of Transportation has agreed to install two-way left turn lanes to provide a refuge area for motorists coming from Highlander Road to slowly merge into traffic.Traffic control officers will be on hand at Valley Circle Boulevard and Highlander Road beginning today through Friday.Because of neighbors’ concerns over speed, police officers will be enforcing the 45 mph speed limit on Valley Circle Boulevard.The light at Bell Canyon Road will be switched from flashing red, requiring all cars to come to a full stop, to normal operation beginning Monday.“We realized there were too many changes all at once for everyone to grasp,” Willis said.The Department of Transportation will report back to the West Hills Neighborhood Council three months after the removal of the stop signs to determine whether other traffic control devices are necessary.That isn’t enough for some neighbors, who insist that the road is dangerous.“Where is prevention in the guidelines?” asked Ramah Baliber of West Hills. “Why put a light after you have accidents and fatalities? It’s stupid. It’s ridiculous.”For now, neighbors have created a blog to continue their efforts to bring a traffic light at Valley Circle Boulevard and Highlander Road. For more information, visit www.westhillssafety.blogspot.com.“Just give us a stoplight,” said Carol Claflin, a West Hills resident. “It’s a safety [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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