By Karen Brainard
Opponents of the Ramona Street Extension project appealed to San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Transportation Committee on Friday, Sept. 7, requesting that money not be spent on another design for the project.
The committee was scheduled to vote on the proposed final 2012 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP), a multi-year program of proposed road and transportation projects that includes TransNet funding.
In the RTIP is the Ramona Street Extension, a project that would connect Ramona Street from Boundary Avenue to Warnock Drive, where a dirt road currently exists. The draft RTIP shows TransNet funding for the Ramona Street Extension totaling $3.853 million.
Ken Brennecke lives along that stretch and has been vocal about the many problems that he says will be created by building the road. He spoke during the SANDAG committee’s RTIP public hearing and said he warned the members that, if they approved the funding for the extension, they would giving the county Department of Public Works money to throw away on another design.
The latest design for the road project was the fourth iteration. It was sent back to the drawing board earlier this year after County Supervisor Dianne Jacob walked the approximately one-third mile site and said the topography and an aqueduct contribute to construction challenges.
“The real problem is there is not a real good design,” said Brennecke.
He referred to a report, prepared by Citizens For a Rural Ramona (CFARR) on the “Infeasibility of the Proposed Ramona Street Extension Project.”
That report, he said, was given to members of the SANDAG Transportation committee. It rebuts claims that have justified support for the project, and covers concerns and impacts to affected homeowners. Brennecke also brought a model that he designed showing the road topography and challenges, but said the committee did not have much of a response.
Ramona Community Planning Group Chair Jim Piva and Secretary Kristi Mansolf attended the SANDAG committee meeting. Piva said he pointed out that the road extension has been supported by the planning group since 2005 and is backed by the Ramona Unified School District Board because of school traffic congestion in that area.
He said statements given by the opponents at the meeting were misleading.
“I think some things were taken out of context,” Piva said.
The transportation committee unanimously approved the proposed 2012 RTIP, which will go before the full SANDAG board on Sept. 28.
Brennecke said CFARR was scheduled to meet on Monday night and would discuss the next steps.
“We’re not backing down under any circumstances because we can’t afford to,” he said.