Median barrier dangerous, potentially deadly

By Danna Givot

This letter has been submitted as public comment to:

My family lives on Quail Rock Road. We have lived here since 2001 and been evacuated twice because of fires. We have great concerns about the impact a median barrier would have on our ability to safely flee Ramona in the event of a fire. Getting out of Ramona (heading west “down the hill”) is already challenging given the number of people fleeing the fires and the associated traffic. The fires generally come from the east and the north and there is only one reasonably safe way out of Ramona from where I live, that is heading west on SR-67.

If you were to erect a median barrier down the center of SR-67 in our vicinity, that would require us to drive east, in all likelihood toward an oncoming fire, to make a U-turn somewhere so that we could retrace our steps and head west, back in the direction from which we originally came.

In the event of a fire, it is insane to be forced to drive closer to a fire in an effort to flee the fire. The time and traffic that adds to our journey could mean our lives! If we are forced to do something this outrageous (in the name of “safety,” no less), let this letter record the fact that the California Department of Transportation has been made aware of this problem and that we would hold the decision-making bodies responsible for any personal damage our family might experience due to delays in our evacuation/flight from fire because we were forced to initially drive toward the fire and away from safety and undergo increased traffic delays to turn around and head west to flee the fire.

I read with interest the Sept. 12, 2013, Ramona Sentinel article: “Planners debate pros, cons of SR-67 median barriers.” I note the comment that there are “about 60 driveways off 67 between Archie Moore Road and Highland Valley Road.” While Quail Rock Road is not a driveway, it services approximately a dozen driveways as the access point onto SR-67.

I could not agree more with RCPG Chair Jim Piva and his motion “requesting no barriers from Highland Valley Road west to Quail Rock Road.” Erecting a median barrier in that section of SR-67 would be a death wish for those of us living on the south side of SR-67 in the event of a major fire.

People have already experienced three-hour delays leaving Ramona on SR-67 while trying to get away from the major fires, and that is without the need to add U-turns or some other mechanism for folks on the south side of a barrier, forced to leave by heading east, to interrupt traffic heading west because they have to cross over in some barrier-free section to retrace their tracks and finally head west, away from the fire. This is, of course, a huge safety issue and likely to significantly slow departure from Ramona in the event of a major fire.

To date, the people of Ramona have behaved responsibly and allowed those of us heading west from the south side of SR-67 during evacuations to enter the traffic stream safely. Introducing barriers into the mix will decrease safety and increase traffic problems in the event of fire-related evacuations.

I ask of all individuals and government bodies deliberating these issues to please consider the safety of those people living on the south side of any barrier in the event of a major fire and mandatory evacuation from Ramona. Asking us to drive toward a fire during a mandatory evacuation is dangerous and potentially deadly.

Thank you for your consideration.

Danna Givot is a Ramona resident.

Related posts:

  1. Caltrans studies concrete barriers for State Route 67
  2. Caltrans puts Route 67 median options online
  3. Ramona planners debate pros, cons of SR-67 median barriers
  4. Caltrans seeks public opinions on SR-67 medians
  5. State Route 67: Options to consider

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Sep 21 2013. Filed under 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.

9 Comments for “Median barrier dangerous, potentially deadly”

  1. Resident

    Why is it always the obvious that goes unnoticed? SR-67 is an inadequate roadway for the 45,000 residents of Ramona. The ONLY solution is to widen the road, and I don't mean the ridiculous widening the geniuses at Cal-Trans did the last time. I remember being delayed during construction so they could put in shoulders and medians – a few feet wider and they could have built the two lanes each direction we needed in the first place. What a waste of money! It's about time our representatives stood up for us and DEMAND the road get widened NOW. No stupid concrete medians or "headlight zones" with $200 fines. Enough already!

  2. Ally

    The obvious is that people drive too fast or get distracted on the road as well as San Vicente. There is nothing barriers can do about that. Neither road is heavily monitored by law enforcement.

  3. Joe Cahak

    Resident the problem for us in Ramona has been getting to a consensus. While most of us who must commute down the hill for work see the great need for improvmenets to this road, there are many in the community who oppose it. For instance we fount for years to get on the Regional Transportation Plan at Sandag. Just after we got on the list, Dutch Vanderendonk as RCPG chair went down and spoke at SANDAG and told them, "Ramona does not want this road improved". I was at that meeting and watched him do it. We started our recall Dutch effort just afterwards for his failing to represent the community and we pressed him out of office finally. It is an ALL uphill battle to get this road improved. Now the evacuation for wild fires finally got us some attention at SANDAG. Now they are considering to improve our road again. To get it we have to all work and stick together and continue to demand improvements. We have to be persistent like I was to finally get the San Vicente Road improvements by constantly keeping the attention and pressure on it for 15 years. it will take more champions of the community to help gather support in the same way.

  4. Bob Loblaw

    Extend Scripps-Poway Parkway to San Vicente Road / Wildcat Canyon intersection. It's approximately six miles as the crow flies. Older maps show it going all the way through to the estates.

    • Mike

      I think that would be awesome, a real game changer. But I wonder if the road would be impeded by the Iron Mountain Trails area? Maybe someone who hikes that area would know. Also, I wonder how the Barona Indian Tribe would feel about this and if they would support or oppose the progress.

  5. Joe Cahak

    Mike and Bob, that plan was looked at years ago and rejected. There are several issues environmental is one, geology is another, funding is the most restrictive. There are a couple of solid granite ridges that the road would have to cut thru, funding isn't there and won't be as it did not conform to Federal guidelines for funding without a lot of political work.
    So this was seriously considered, but rejected for a number of good reasons. Hwy 67 improvements and the South Bypass Dye Road conversion would negate the need for the other route. We are much more likely to get funding for those improvements than the other. I was present at the meeting with those discussion with State and County personnel involved with us in the discussions.

    • Mike

      I was afraid of that. I knew the environment impact would be hard to offset and the terrain being so hard and rocky would equal a larger cost per mile to create. In the end, it would also create a need for WCC to be widened to four lanes….like anyone is ever going to spend the money needed to plow the mountain let alone two mountains!!!

  6. Joe Cahak

    I understand Mike. Barona was part of the discussion as well by the way. They had asked for the exploration using tribal money, federal highway and state money all pooled. I consider myself a responsible environmentalist, the cost and impact matters. The county has made this region around Hwy 67 as not just a sensitive habitat, but much more importantly, as a wildlife corridor. So this is very important to wildlife. Barona stopped the pursuit and the idea dropped quickly. CalTrans wasn't crazy about it because of all the geology to overcome in the short few miles. I've been over and around it. It is rugged country.

  7. MainStreet Media

    More coming!

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