Bad Vibrations Strike Goleta

Road Grinding Transmitting Much Farther than Anticipated

Photo Credit: Mike Takeuchi
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Construction of Goleta's new Class I bike path had been roaring in his neighborhood for about a week before Mike Takeuchi couldn't take it any more. "There's something about the road surface," city spokesperson Valerie Kushnerov said. "The speculation is that the old 101 under there allows vibrations to conduct further." Whatever the cause, Takeuchi fired off an email to city staff at 2:33 a.m. on Tuesday since he was wide awake and plenty upset.

"In all of my years living in this area," Takeuchi wrote, "I can’t recall such an utter disregard for residents of the upper Hollister area with the middle-of-the-night road construction that began on October 8." The grinding and pounding keeping him up at night is due to the bike path being placed along Hollister Avenue between Pacific Oaks to across from Ellwood Elementary School.

Takeuchi said the equipment was reaching more than 80 decibels, and it was not only keeping him and his neighbors up but causing "near miss accidents and dangerous driving."

He'll have to endure several more nights of the din unfortunately. The city was able to adjust the schedule for Wednesday and Thursday nights, said Kushnerov, but not Tuesday night. Work should now begin when school gets out and cease at midnight or 12:30 a.m. The city knew there would be noise and vibration, she said, but this level of impact was not anticipated. It's caused by road-surface grinding going on to bring the intersections level with the roadway, Kushnerov explained, and contractor Granite Construction is also compacting the road.

According to Kushnerov, so many school children pass through the area during the day that operating the big equipment then is too risky. Had they worked around the school schedule in an on-and-off way during the day, that part of the project would have taken weeks, she said. Currently, the night work continues through Thursday this week, and maybe one more night in the next two weeks. Road signs, Nextdoor alerts, and email text notifications will continue to let residents know when that will be, she said.

By December, this stretch of Hollister should have a brand new Class I bike lane, which means the cyclists and pedestrians will be separated by a planted strip from vehicles. A cyclist himself, Takeuchi said he was generally for the bike lane and understood the problem with the school being in session. The need for the separated lane, however, he thought was due to the area growing into "Orange County North."

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