Subcommittee proposes dropping South Bypass from road priority list

A crowd of residents applaud after a speaker tells the Transportation and Trails Subcommittee why he believes the proposed South Bypass should not be built. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
A crowd of residents applaud after a speaker tells the Transportation and Trails Subcommittee why he believes the proposed South Bypass should not be built. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Transportation and Trails Subcommittee creates new list of road projects

By

Karen Brainard

The proposed Southern Traffic Bypass will not be on the revised road improvement priority list that will be presented to the Ramona Community Planning Group at its April 3 meeting.

That was welcome news to the approximately 50 residents who attended the planning group’s Transportation and Trails Subcommittee meeting March 24 to show their opposition to the multi-phase South Bypass, which is on the planning group’s 2009 Top 10 priority list.

Several residents explained why they believe an alternate route for drivers to get from the west end of town to the east end by bypassing Main Street, via Dye Road, Warnock Drive and Keyes Road to state Route 78, should not be built.

“Basically one of the reasons the South Bypass was suggested over 30 years ago was because some thought there was too much congestion on Main Street,” said Joe Minervini.

“What about the impact the South Bypass will have on hundreds and hundreds of homes along the route? What about the impact the bypass will have on hundreds of businesses up and down Main Street? Let’s focus on fixing Main Street and not the South Bypass,” he said, suggesting Main be widened to two lanes where only one lane in each direction exists.

Lynn Hopewell said, “It’s inconceivable to me that the county would go and destroy so many people’s properties, maybe even split it in half, and then what do you have? Half of your property’s on one side of the road and half of your property’s on the other side of the road.”

About seven residents spoke, some saying the bypass would destroy rural areas of Ramona.

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Resident Lynn Hopewell talks about how the South Bypass would impact property owners along the proposed route. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Subcommittee chair Carl Hickman noted that the priority list is for county-owned  and maintained roads.

Main Street is a state highway and therefore operated by Caltrans, he said. As for widening it, Hickman said, “There are many, many complicated issues involved with that task. One of the major issues that we are all aware of are the colonnade eucalyptus trees. We would probably get the same amount of people in this room as we have tonight if we brought in for discussion cutting down those trees.”

Studies have shown that businesses do not lose money when heavy traffic is removed from downtown areas, said Hickman.

“Studies have shown that when you make the community walkable, that people will come to the community and spend their money there when they can safely walk the community, cross the streets,” he said.

In considering projects, Hickman said safety had to be considered along with mobility, the projects would not be numbered in any priority, and just because a project is on the list does not mean it will get done. Hickman said he was in favor of keeping any projects in which the county has already invested money.

One by one, the nine subcommittee members voted on each project of the 2009 list to decide which ones should be recommended for the new list.

Not making the new list, by a 5-4 vote, was the Dye Road Extension, known as the center portion of the South Bypass. The project would extend Dye Road to Warnock Drive and San Vicente Road, and smooth out the 90-degree turns. Some members expressed concerns that speed would then increase. Voting to remove it from the list were  Cheryl Wegner, Jim Cooper, John and Arvie Degenfelder, and Karen Carlson.Hickman, Scotty Ensign, Bob Hailey and Dawn Perfect voted to keep it on the list.

The subcommittee unanimously voted to eliminate the third phase of the South Bypass, from Warnock Drive to Keyes Road to Route 78 from the list.

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Transportation and Trails Subcommittee Chair Carl Hickman tells what considerations should be given when compiling a new road improvement project priority list. Seated next to Hickman is T&T member Cheryl Wegner. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

The first phase of the bypass, from SR-67/Mussey Grade to Dye Road only garnered support from Hickman and Ensign.

“So all the roads on the so-called Southern Bypass died,” said Hickman to applause from the crowd.

Because some projects are already under way with the county, and there are other projects that members want to see the county pursue with Caltrans, Hickman proposed the subcommittee create three lists (see sidebar).

The subcommittee came up with several new improvement projects, such as installing sidewalks near schools for safety, and paving dirt sections of some residential streets.

With only nine items listed, Hickman noted that the planning group can add another project or number them differently.

The planning group will consider the lists when it meets at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 3, in the Ramona Library Community Room, 1275 Main St. Members of the public can speak on items by filling out a speaker slip at the beginning of the meeting.

Proposed lists of capital improvement project priorities

Transportation and Trails Subcommittee recommendations for Ramona Community Planning Group consideration on April 3

Projects under way or in various stages of development — county shall proceed as planned:

  1. San Vicente Road from Warnock Drive to Wildcat Canyon Road (No. 3 and 8 on 2009 list).
  2. Ramona Street from Boundary Avenue to Warnock Drive, known as Ramona Street Extension (No. 6 on 2009 list).
  3. Traffic signal for intersection of 10th and H streets (scheduled to be completed in third quarter this year).
  4. Slope and drainage improvements for Mussey Grade Road.
  5. Bridge over Santa Maria Creek on 13th Street.
  6. 13th Street road improvement from Main to Walnut streets (No. 4 on 2009 list).

Projects important to the community that shall be developed by the county in the future:

  1. San Vicente Road road improvement from Wildcat Canyon Road to San Diego Country Estates limit line  (No. 7 on 2009 list).
  2. Sidewalk and pathway on east side of Ramona Street from Boundary Avenue to Hanson Lane.
  3. Sidewalk and pathway on south side of Hanson Lane from Ramona Street to San Vicente Road.
  4. Improvement of alleyway, from Fifth to 11th streets.
  5. Road improvement from Boundary Avenue to Etcheverry Street, to align with Equestrian Trail Road.
  6. Improve Etcheverry Street from Hunter Street to SR-67.
  7. Improve Kelly Avenue from Pala to Etcheverry streets.
  8. Creelman Lane improvement from San Vicente Road to Keyes Road.
  9. Improve Vermont Street from Pala to Etcheverry streets.

Projects important to the community that shall require the county to coordinate with Caltrans:

  1. SR-67/Highland Valley/Dye Road intersection.
  2. SR-67 and 14th Street intersection.
  3. SR-67 and Montecito Road intersection.

   
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