Reasons for supporting San Vicente Road project

By Mike Loranger

I’m not expecting everyone’s agreement, but only asking for an open-minded look at a different point of view.

Not one to air San Diego Country Estates Association dirty laundry for all of Ramona to see, but for whatever reason, a “Petition to Oppose the San Vicente Road Relocation and Improvements” was sent to all the SDCE homeowners in an official SDCEA mailing, leading me to conclude that somehow and for some reason our association has taken a stance against improvements to a very public thoroughfare in Ramona.

I enjoy and respect the steps the SDCEA has shown over the years to support and protect the rights of homeowners, but feel in this instance they have put their noses where they do not belong. If a group, including the SDCEA Board of Directors, opposes improvements outside the SDCE, they have every right to act privately, in which case I feel they should use neither SDCEA official mailings, nor collection resources, to their benefit.

The SDCEA petition itself dumbfounds me. I understand that we as Californians seem to sometimes defy all logic when we make decisions, but the arguments I have been exposed to as to why San Vicente Road (SVR) should be left “as is” make my head spin. These are the reasons that are stated in the petition (followed by my comments):

•The proposed new road would not eliminate the major causes of accidents on the road: excessive speed, driving under the influence and inexperienced drivers. (These are the three main causes of mishaps on ANY road. While “elimination” is a worthy goal, “reduction” is a realistic goal.)

•The proposed new road, with the same 50 mph speed limit, would only encourage people to drive faster, therefore less safe. (So an improved road will be in fact less safe? I can’t follow this logic. It is beyond my comprehension.)

•Horseback riders would not ride on a trail a few feet from 50+ mph traffic. (There is currently NO horse trail on SVR. If the equestrian community desires a safe trail, I ask they get involved in the planning process and lobby for the safety measures that will meet their needs, not stop the project.)

•The $40 million plus cost of the project ($10 million per mile) is excessive for the project and not wanted by the community it is to serve. (Although I tend to agree that the cost seems excessive, this is the cost of doing business in the State of California. That said, I can’t think of better use for our road taxes. To further state in a petition signed by a subset of individuals that these improvements are not wanted by the entire community is at best disingenuous.)

•We like the rural tree lined nature of the present road. (Take a good look at those trees when next you travel SVR. Many are scarred with the marks of automobiles that have been embedded into their trunks over and over again; also of note, damaged guardrails inches from travel lanes, automobile body parts and glass littering the road, jagged rocks inches from the pavement, blind curves without sufficient shoulder areas for emergency parking, SVR homeowners making left turns over double yellow lines, and the always fresh supply of skid marks departing the roadway heading off into bushes, trees, rocks, power poles, etc.; the list of extreme hazards on SVR is long.)

•The project would require the removal of 145 native California Live Oak trees. (There is no need to argue the aesthetics of these trees, but by law it is mandatory at least one new tree be replanted for each tree removed, and that private property owners be compensated.)

•A bike lane could be added to the current road. (A bike lane could be added, but the road would need to be widened, straightened, and trees removed. This leads us back to the beginning.)

On the morning of Saturday, April 14, 2012, my daughter, 17 years old at the time, was westbound on SVR, heading into Ramona High School for an activity. SVR road was wet, and on-scene witnesses confirmed my daughter was traveling well BELOW the speed limit; the tires on the truck were new, and all the equipment was in perfect working order.

She was rounding a curve, one of many curves on SVR where the grade of the road tilts both incorrectly and dangerously against and away from the radius of the turn, when suddenly and without warning the back end of her vehicle began to slide into the eastbound lane; she corrected to the right, and as the tires again gained traction, she departed the roadway. Leaving the roadway, she hit one of those “beautiful” trees about five feet behind the driver’s door with such impact it smashed the bed of the truck almost in half and flipped the vehicle; a split second later, she ended up about 30 feet off the road, down in a deep ditch, the truck on its side.

A passerby who witnessed the mishap climbed up on the vehicle, forced open a door and pulled my daughter from the wreckage. By the grace of God, she walked away shaken, but without a scratch.

My family was blessed that day, but countless others have not been so fortunate, and I do mean countless; this is not rhetoric, it is fact! Again I state, this is not rhetoric! This same scenario plays out over and over and over again; year after year after year after year; inexperienced driver? Yes. So what?

Again I ask the question: My daughter was an inexperienced driver. So what?

Rather than rely on hearsay and speculation, I ask you to look into the facts of this project. I spoke with the project manager, Mr. Steve Ron, and he welcome community feedback from all sides of the issue. He made it clear that anyone with an opinion on the project, whether pro, con, or neutral, can contact him at the following address:

Mr. Steve Ron

Project Manager

Department of Public Works

County of San Diego

5500 Overland Avenue, MS O340, Suite 320

San Diego, CA 92123

Phone: 858-694-2567

Email: Steve.Ron@sdcounty.ca.gov

Please send Mr. Ron a note and let him know you support this project, and help him shape it to meet your needs.

Thank you.

Mike Loranger is a Ramona resident.

Related posts:

  1. San Vicente Road project comments due on June 9
  2. County updates planning group on San Vicente Road project
  3. Estates wages campaign against road project
  4. Commission approves map for project near Black Canyon Road
  5. County OKs road agreement with RMWD

Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=20336

Posted by Maureen Robertson on Jan 9 2013. Filed under Archive, Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Comments for “Reasons for supporting San Vicente Road project”

  1. Kari Gonter

    Mike this is excellent. Thanks for writing this.

    • Mike

      Mike your letter is well written but I disagree that the road project is worth doing as it is currently planned. The key point is the cost vs what we are due to end up with in the end. Quite simply, if we do not get more lanes than the plan doesn't get a yes vote from me.
      We aren't asking for too much when we ask for one more lane in each direction. We could even get one lane that is manageable with moveable dividers so that commute traffic gets two lanes during their busy times going in and out of the SDCE area. During emergencies that lane would be set for whichever way needed the extra lane. But leaving the road as is, though crappy for the commute and for emergencies, is a better option than spending money for essentially nothing in the end.
      This whole plan as currently written is like having frosting and candles without first having the cake. Bike and horse lanes are all fine and dandy if the foundation is properly in place. To spend this money now only to go back sometime in the future to spend more money to add a lane or two is crazy. Lets get it done right the first time.

  2. Jim

    Agreed, thanks for putting this out there. Most of us agree that improvements to the road are needed, and it will at the same time allow for the replacement of a pipeline that is very old and will need work soon anyway. The bike lane would be a welcome addition for many cyclists that live in SDCE that have no safe route out of the neighborhood.

  3. Flying Dutchman

    I travel those roads everyday. And so does my wife. I don't see any reason to do any excessive repair between Wild Cat Canyon and Ramona Oaks. However, the twisty roads before that are an accident waiting to happen. Besides the potholes, there is no usable bike lane, yet I still see folks peddling on them. I also believe that repairing the roads will likely lead to higher average speeds – regardless of the posted speed limit. So even though fixed potholes and guardrails seems like an improvement, they may actually make the situation worse. If excessive funds and work are still being contemplated, I would recommended widening the paved shoulders. This would provide additional safety to cyclists, walkers and joggers, while at the same time improving overall driver visibility.

  4. MCB

    Mike, I went to the SDCEA board meeting in December after seeing the proposed agenda. I expressed the same viewpoint as you – almost verbatim. I was not happy that the board had taken a position on the matter as my representative and used SDCEA resources to further their cause. I made an official statement at the meeting in the official prescribed three minute format. I did not take a position on the project in my statement. I only objected to the use of association resources. The published minutes of the meeting did not make any mention of my statement. It was as if I was not there. The board told me point blank after the meeting that they act as a pseudo city council, which I disagree with. One board member approached me after the meeting and stated, "We represent you." They are not elected on election day and are not official government representatives. They have done a good job improving quality of life and facilities out here. I applaud their efforts in that regard. That is what they were elected to do. Lastly, I moved here four years ago and I have known about this project, and many others that are pending, for several years. For the board to claim ignorance is laughable, if not negligent.

  5. Herve Auch-Roy

    Mike,
    I understand your point of view, however, I'm assuming that you have a driving license, and therefore you went to driving lessons.
    I started driving in 1976, and accumulated over 1 million miles driving motorcycles, cars, SUV and trucks, in the USA as well as in western and eastern Europe.
    You are missing a fundamental point in your argument: as a driver in charge of our vehicle, we are supposed to adapt our driving to the road conditions, whether it is curved, tiled "the wrong way", with blind corners, wet and slippery, icy, foggy, crowded, with bicyclists or horse riders on the side, with road construction, you-name-it. Not the other way around.
    It is precisely because roads have been straightened, widened, and titled "the right way" that people lost their ability to operate a vehicle and adapt to the changes in the road conditions, which is inevitable.
    Driving is a full time task: no time for phone, no time for texting, no time for sipping coffee our of our mug, no time for drinking, no time for eating, no time for drugs. Drive, period, end of story. You wanna do something else? Stop your vehicle, do that something else, and once and only once you're done, get back to full time driving.
    Don't ask the government to take over your responsibility as a driver by pouring in millions of tax payers money.

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