Inspiration for Voice posts comes from all sorts of places and people. One of our local tree experts, Jennifer Pfaff, has been tracking the El Camino-Floribunda intersection discussion with great interest since it impacts our historically-significant eucalyptus trees. Our expert notes to the Voice
As anticipated, Caltrans has gone ahead and prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report on their widening project at Floribunda and its vicinity, signally their intent to go ahead with an iteration of their original “preferred option” that widens the highway to install a fifth lane, thereby inserting turn channels for the purpose of reducing left turn (Broadside) accidents. This despite last Fall’s offering of dozens of thoughtful suggestions from our City and our citizens, for ways to improve the safety of the Floribunda/El Camino Real intersection of the (dominantly residential) segment of highway, without permanent removal of 14-15 trees. There will be no room remaining after widening to replace any trees in the project area, though they pledge to plant 5 (FIVE) elm saplings elsewhere along the highway as mitigation.
Those who attended the Lane Room meeting a year ago may recall a question/answer and comment format that didn’t go so well for Caltrans, as they had come woefully unprepared. So, the next (and likely, final) meeting before their final EIR comes out will be an “open house” format. The Caltrans “open house” meeting, presumably with posters and information stations will be held on Thursday, November 13, at the Recreation Center, from 6:30-8:30.
The full Draft EIR document is here: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/documents/82floribunda/EA-1G020K_DEIR-EA_Final.pdf
The estimated cost for this hatchet job is $3.6 million and the interesting wrinkle for me is this little notation
1.3.4 Operational Measures Considered but Withdrawn : pg 23-26
Signal Timing Modifications
“….signal modification would cause vehicle traffic delay at the intersection in all directions…it would also cause disruption of SR82 signal timing progression on the SR82 corridor leading to increased vehicle emissions from idling vehicles and driver frustration due to delays….."
Anyone who knows this intersection and its northern brother at Oak Grove knows there are traffic stoppages in a variety of directions. It is far from the worst intersection in town and a bit of signal modification would not likely make it that much worse. So we can slow down the lights a bit or spend $3.6 million to cut down supposedly protected trees and....speed up traffic??? Any McKinley parents thinking about all this?