Planners keep two sections of bypass on priority lists

Ramona Community Planning Group Chair Jim Piva explains the three phases of the proposed South Bypass to a crowd at the group’s April 3 meeting. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
Ramona Community Planning Group Chair Jim Piva explains the three phases of the proposed South Bypass to a crowd at the group’s April 3 meeting. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

By Karen Brainard

Two of the three phases of the proposed South Bypass remain on Ramona’s recommended road priority lists.

The Dye Road Extension, also known as Phase 2 of the South Bypass, was included in a Top 14 list of capital improvement project priorities by a majority of the Ramona Community Planning Group at its April 3 meeting.

Phase 1 of the South Bypass, extending Dye Street from state Route 67 and Mussey Grade Road to Dye Road, didn’t make the Top 14 but was added to a list of road projects that the planning group is recommending the county pursue with Caltrans.

Many of the residents attending the planners’ meeting in the library Community Room booed the decisions as they walked out after the vote.

The planning group’s Transportation and Trails Subcommittee dropped the two projects from the RCPG’s 2009 Top 10 list when it met March 24, and presented its draft lists to the planners for consideration on Thursday.

The meeting room was packed with many residents voicing opposition to the South Bypass, saying it would hurt Main Street businesses, cut into people’s properties, destroy rural areas, and create unsafe roadways because drivers could increase their speed.

RCPG Chair Jim Piva told the crowd that the South Bypass Phase 3, from Warnock Drive to Keyes Road to state Route 78, has not been supported by the planning group.

“There is no Phase 3 even on the books at the county. So if your concern is in that Phase 3 area, come back in about 50 years ... because that’s when the county or everyone else will probably be talking about it,” he said.

Joe Minervini, who lives on Cecilia Jo Road,  which would be affected by Phase 1, said that, if Phase 3 will not be addressed until 50 years from now, why not get rid of it because property owners have to disclose the proposed route when selling.

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Resident Joe Cahak tells the reasons why a South Bypass was recommended years ago, as planners Carl Hickman, Dennis Sprong and Eb Hogervorst listen. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Esline Witte said she moved from Santa Ysabel to Cecilia Jo Road to avoid the bottleneck at SR-67 and Highland Valley Road.

“I bought in Ramona because of the rural community. I was not  told of the South Bypass when I bought it,” she said.

John Hancock, another Cecilia Jo Road resident, said, “It seems to me Phase 1 and 2 are just shortcuts to the Estates.”

Resident Joe Cahak said he was a member of the master road plan committee that recommended the South Bypass years ago for several reasons.

“One was the amount of traffic headed to the Barona Reservation as well as to the Estates, about a third of the traffic through our community,” he said. “And the amount of traffic coming out of south Ramona, and certainly through our Main Street.”

Cahak and planning group members noted that a proposed North Bypass had been abandoned years ago.

“Throw away the South Bypass and we lock ourselves into the existing traffic problem, growing and increasing year by year for the rest of our lives,” Cahak said.

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