I hate traffic! Actually, everyone does. That's what is so appealing about the title of a new initiative circulating in Oxnard named "The Oxnard Traffic Initiative." Unfortunately, this initiative is really a no growth measure and offers nothing to improve traffic. Last Thursday, Penny Boehm and Nancy Lindholm, both representing "Citizens for a Safe and Prosperous Oxnard", shared with the Local Government Relations Committee of the Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS (VCCAR) why they oppose this measure and feel it would create more harm than good.
Before, I go on, let me disclose that this article is not intended to be an impartial analysis. I'm biased and no admirer of Tim Flynn, the Oxnard City Councilman who is a major proponent of this measure. In my opinion, though well-intentioned, Tim's combative style of leadership is divisive and he is quick to resort to bullying and displays of temper to get his way. I have seen him in action more than once. Of course, none of that has any bearing on whether this initiative is good thing for the City of Oxnard. (It's not.)
Here's a video of Tim Flynn talking about the Oxnard Traffic Initiative.
Penny shared with us that the current initiative is the second attempt to get this measure on the ballot. The first time backers were unable to get enough signatures to qualify. The new petition circulating is nearly the same but has some minor changes.
The object of this initiative is to require that no residential project of 5 (or more) homes, or a commercial project of 10,000 feet (or more) could be built if any intersection within 5 miles of the project was or would drop below the letter grade C* even if for only one hour during peak traffic in the preceding year. According to the out-of-date traffic study the supporters are using, nearly the entire city is subject to these restrictions. Any project over these limits would have to be approved by the voters of the city. It would require developers to upgrade those intersections to build even a modest project. The Catch-22 is that if any of the intersections involved a State Highway such as Oxnard Boulevard (State Route 1), Vineyard Avenue (State Route 232), Fifth Street (State Route 34), only the state can upgrade it.
Here are some of the key points "Citizens for a Safe and Prosperous Oxnard" would like us to consider.
The new Oxnard Traffic Initiative is flawed and misleading. It's not the solution to the issues facing Oxnard. Residents put concerns about public safety, access to health-care, educating our youth, open space, quality housing and jobs before traffic. When you consider traffic issue, they are not limited to just intersections. They include competing priorities like quality roadways and they include regional issues such as freeway delays; areas over which the City of Oxnard has limited control.
This initiative does not provide one cent towards making traffic improvements. It is full of double talk designed to hide it real purpose. (No growth.)
The flaws and negative side-effects and the flaws of the proposed initiative are many.
- By requiring a citywide vote on almost every private project over five units or 10,000 square feet it will make it unfeasible for small contractors to build in our city and that will hurt our economy and cost jobs.
- It will make it more difficult to address blighted areas and the need for affordable housing in our community.
- It will be more difficult to fund important services in our community or even have the resources to address traffic needs due to a potential loss of City revenue of over $129 million in one time traffic improvement funds and over $11 million per year in on-going funds.
There is more information at their website: http://www.stoptheoti.com/.
To hear what the supporters have to say, visit: www.oxnardtrafficinitiative.org/. Just don't read the copy of the initiative they have posted on their website. It varies in some significant ways from the actual text submitted to the Oxnard City Clerk. You can see the correct document here.
*Level C is defined in initiative as "Stable and acceptable flow but speed and maneuverability somewhat restricted due to higher volumes. Motorists intermittently wait through more than one signal. Occasional backups behind left turning vehicles.