By Joe Minervini
As you are all aware, Caltrans has recently distributed the Caltrans Project Development Team Report (Draft) for improvement of 67 and Highland Valley Intersection. Basically, it reviews the usual super-competent and painstaking Caltrans efforts on planning improvements for our California highways, more specifically their plans for improving the intersection of Highway 67 and Highland Valley/Dye Road. They, however, sometimes rely on poor local input .
On page 8, Section 4B of the above report, it states that the 2040 PM level of service (LOS) of the planned improved intersection will improve from a Level F to Level D. This dismal forecast “assumes that Dye Street is constructed as part of the Ramona Southern Bypass.”
So what happens if the South Bypass is never constructed ? Nobody can give me a straight answer as to how to handle the South Bypass’s future intersection of Dye Street/ Mussey Grade with Highway 67. Will it be a three-level overpass in Ramona just like in L.A.?
I have been beating my drum against the South Bypass for years. Due to the past leadership on our Ramona Community Planning Group (RCPG) and their Transportation Subcommittee, we still have the South Bypass on the books. Caltrans would have designed more extensive improvements to the intersection of 67 & Highland Valley if the South Bypass plan did not exist.
The ill-conceived South Bypass plan will also diminish any Caltrans improvements needed for the congested intersections of Main and 14th and Main and Montecito Road. If the South Bypass is ever completed, it will kill many of the remaining businesses on Main Street. I recently let the Ramona Chamber of Commerce know this fact and despite Dawn Perfect and Carol Fowler’s insistence on thinking the South Bypass is a good idea, I have mentioned before, “What part of the formula: [Traffic Count = Customers] do you not understand?” The South Bypass will also send industrial roads through quiet residential neighborhoods and pierce the heart of Ramona’s Valley of the Sun.
Thanks to the South Bypass, the county and SANDAG will soon be blowing away over $10 million on one part of the South Bypass called the Dye Road Extension. The $10 million-plus Dye Road Extension does nothing to help the traffic congestion in Ramona. It’s a road “improvement” that starts from nowhere and goes to nowhere. What a waste of money. The $10 million would’ve long ago paid for the improvements to the longtime worst traffic problem in Ramona (67 & Highland Valley) and it would have happened years ago. Over the last 20 years, how many Ramonans wish they didn’t have to wait so long at the traffic light on Dye Road when they are anxious to get home after a long day of work?
Listen, RCPG members: It’s now time to review your Top Ten Road Priority Project List and eliminate any project from the list that has to do with the South Bypass. Because of poor local input, Caltrans will continue to throw the South Bypass in our face as an excuse to not improve the intersections of 67 & Montecito Road and 67 & 14th Street for optimal traffic flow.Thanks to former RCPGs, Caltrans was ill-advised and we all screwed up the last time the intersection of 67 & Highland Valley was improved in the early ‘90s — and it looks like we’re screwing up again. Don’t blame Caltrans. They rely on our local input as well as our County Department of Public Works.