By Ken Brennecke
The proposed Ramona Street extension is an example of the Ramona Community Planning Group (RCPG) not doing its job. The plan for this segment as well as the proposed Dye Road extension and the entire proposed Southern Bypass are all proposals put forth by the county. They were created by the Department of Public Works (DPW) without a thorough vetting of the implications for the community or soliciting resident input before the plans were drawn. The RCPG was created to safeguard the interests of Ramona from county excess. Instead, it rubber-stamped its approval for these projects. That invited the county into our community to destroy the southern valley with roads and make it suburban instead of rural. Boundary Avenue separates suburban Ramona from rural Ramona in the south and this should remain so.
The traffic on Hanson Lane is inherently bad because three schools are adjacent to one another. The 2008 traffic analysis that accompanies the Ramona Street extension proposal has indicated that traffic on Hanson will increase substantially if the proposed Ramona Street extension is built. Traffic at Warnock Drive and Ramona Street and also at Boundary Avenue and Ramona Street now flow smoothly and without delay. Creating this third road at those intersections will force traffic to make way for one another—increasing delay and congestion.
There are two alternative routes that are possible. However, Citizens for a Rural Ramona (CFARR) doesn’t consider any of these perforations of the rural enclave in the south to be necessary since they will suburbanize the area. And a word about safety: with high school traffic crossing a corridor servicing grade school children, the proposed Ramona Street extension will endanger kids, not make the area safer for them.
The RCPG has not questioned the safety, cost or feasibility on these projects but relied on the DPW to wrestle with these details. Consequently, it is CFARR, not the RCPG, that has held the county’s feet to the fire to stay within their own building standards.
The DPW has developed three inadequate plans (at great expense) for the proposed Ramona Street extension that have been abandoned. Now it appears they are trying to develop a fourth plan to place a road on the hill between Boundary Avenue and Warnock Drive that may prove to be impossible to negotiate. Also, there will be the extremely high cost of moving an aqueduct if this road segment is built. The hill has been avoided for the past 121 years because putting a road there is simply never going to provide enough benefit to justify the very high project cost to all county taxpayers.
In the past three years CFARR has repeatedly invited members of the RCPG out to the proposed Ramona Street extension site to survey the situation. Only one member on one occasion has come and not with the best of intentions. One bouquet that can be thrown to the RCPG is that they did vote down the second county plan when they finally understood how bad the situation was. It took a year and three months for CFARR members to convince the RCPG to seriously consider the problem.
Now what about that botanical garden? The hill that the proposed Ramona Street extension would cross is the only site within the Ramona Valley upon which a high quality botanical garden could be built. This process has already started and is in the 30th year of a 55-year project. The prototype for this garden exists in Vista, Calif., and you can get a glimpse of it by following the link www.thedariangarden.com and clicking on the panoramic views at the bottom of the feature article.
In its rush to develop this road segment the RCPG has not even considered the opportunity it would trade away. A 50-100 acre refuge one mile from Main Street is much more in the best interests of the community than a road that, if built, will look like the top of Scripps Poway Parkway and be out of character with the adjacent area.
CFARR is comprised of your neighbors. CFARR is increasing in strength each week. Membership is beyond those directly affected by these proposed projects because CFARR members value the rural ambience of Ramona.
They are adding their talent, time, and commitment to opposing these projects. There is no need to apply the patterns of urbanization that Poway and Escondido have followed to the Ramona valley.
The DPW has abandoned plan three for the proposed Ramona Street extension. This is the latest plan that RCPG has seen. Now is an appropriate time for the RCPG to place the proposed Ramona Street extension back on the agenda for a presentation by CFARR of new information.
CFARR regularly posts more and more information on its web site www.citizensforaruralramona.info and its shadow site www.cfarr.info .
Ken Brennecke is a Ramona resident.