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Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
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Amazon Vans Clog Industrial Center

By ANDREW FOERCH Staff Reporter Officials in Thousand Oaks are investigating the impact of Amazon.com Inc.’s fleet of delivery vans on local roadways after residents filed complaints regarding increased traffic congestion. The complaints revolve around a long backup of vehicles trying to go into the Conejo Spectrum Business Park in Newbury Park, specifically causing bottlenecks for drivers whose offices are near Amazon’s delivery warehouse. According to Thousand Oaks Code Compliance Manager Geoff Ware, who has led an investigation of Amazon’s driving practices since the first complaint was filed in October, the backup has worsened “with the numeric value and types of traffic patterns involved with the Amazon location. … It was just an overload of vehicles trying to access the site.” Amazon established a presence on the Conejo Spectrum campus in 2018 when it transformed a 55,000-square-foot warehouse at 2405 Conejo Spectrum St. into a distribution center for Amazon Prime orders. The business center also houses biotech company Atara Biotherapeutics and Sage Publishing, a publisher of academic journals. Amazon’s warehouse is positioned at the northernmost end of Conejo Spectrum St. where it intersects with Rancho Conejo Boulevard. A bevvy of vans trying to access the site directly from Rancho Conejo – rather than entering the business park from the opposite end and driving the full length of Conejo Spectrum Street – could easily back up traffic for employees of neighboring business park tenants also looking to take the shortest route to their offices. Ware said his team quickly realized the complaints had less to do with municipal code violations and more with vehicle code violations, “which the city doesn’t necessarily enforce, but we were tasked with trying to find a solution.” He added: “There was some concern about vehicle trailers being unhooked in the public right of way, which would be a municipal code violation. … There may have been some vehicle code issues regarding vehicles making particular types of movements because of the added traffic.” Ware said the city has discussed the issue with Amazon, which “has been receptive to altering some of their methodology.” Particularly, “they have changed some of their patterns of loading and unloading which has relieved some of that congestion. We have seen some improvement.” Now, Ware and his team are monitoring traffic activity to see if further action is needed. “Where we go is dictated by the problems we see,” he said. “If they get solved, there’s no problem. If we’re realizing other issues … the city is open to solving those problems.” This isn’t the first time the e-commerce giant has drawn complaints related to its delivery vehicles. Last year, town officials and residents in Milford, Mass. logged their grievances with Amazon vans cluttering up roadways and flouting traffic laws as they came and went from a nearby distribution warehouse. In the Valley, Amazon has another delivery warehouse in Chatsworth.

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