Bike Lanes on Telephone Road Add Safety for All

a glaring gap in our bike network

The City of Ventura is preparing to reconfigure Telephone Road between Victoria and Kimball road to reduce the number of travel lanes to include a buffered bike lane. BikeVentura supports this stride toward a safer street for all. Further, we will ask the City to add a physical barrier, such as bollards or raised curbs, to more clearly delineate and protect people traveling on Telephone. We ask you to tell city council that you support this configuration as well. 

This reconfiguration will make the road safer for everyone using Telephone Road, not just those riding bikes: Road “diets” have been shown to slow traffic speeds, which will reduce the number of crashes and reduce the severity of injuries from crashes. If bollards are included in this treatment, as we recommend, it will create visual “road friction” – the sense of narrowing of the street – that encourages slower speeds. The city’s traffic department receives numerous complaints daily about people speeding in Ventura. What’s more, speed kills, and enforcement is expensive. This treatment presents an opportunity to design out excessive speeds, and make the street safer without relying on enforcement. 

It will make pedestrian crossings safer because they will have fewer lanes to cross on a high speed road. With a mid-block crossing planned near Antelope St, reducing the number of lanes to cross will be key to ensuring the safety of people of all ages and abilities that wish to cross there. It will make using the sidewalk safer for people walking, because they no longer have to share the sidewalk with people biking. It will make social distancing safer, should someone need to step off the sidewalk and into the bike lane to avoid getting close to other pedestrians. 

And, it will make the street much safer for people biking. The current facility for riding a bike on Telephone is a faded stripe on the sidewalk, hardly an instructional facility that does little to discourage wrong-way riding. It creates dangerous instances of passing pedestrians or other cyclists on the sidewalk. To be clear: riding on the sidewalk is dangerous. When bicycle lanes are striped, bicyclists are more visible and motorists know where to look for them, speeds are reduced, and bicycle safety can be improved. The addition of a physical barrier (even bollards), further enhances the comfort of the route and would encourage increased usage.

You can tell Ventura City Council you support this reconfiguration by writing an email, or even more powerful – you can call in to the meeting on Monday, July 13th at 6pm to voice your support. On Monday June 13th, we will be demonstrating how to make public comment in the meeting on our instagram account! The item will almost surely be at the beginning of the meeting, but what is nice is that the meetings are online, and you can do other things while you wait for the item to be called. You can prepare a two to three minute statement on why you support the bike lane, and why you support a physical barrier, and read it to council during the meeting.