COMMUNITY COMMENTARY

On Oct. 10, a three-hour workshop will be held which will determine our 101’s fate. A new design labeled “Alternative 5” will be revealed that should exclude the use of roundabouts, and reverse diagonal parking and the constriction of northbound traffic to one lane. The exclusion of these elements was requested by the majority of participants in the last workshop held a year ago. This new alternative will be compared to the well-exposed Alternative 4 and attendees will be given the opportunity to discuss their pros and cons. Ideally, an attractive, yet functional, design could evolve.
As of this writing, no rendering of Alternative 5 is available for public viewing; therefore, I have no concept of what it will look like other than the fact that City Council has agreed that it should not include the use of roundabouts, reverse diagonal parking and lane reductions. No doubt, this will be appreciated by the close to 1,000 citizens who signed my and Rick Smith’s petition asking for these revisions more than a year ago.
Though none of us know what Alternative 5 will look like, we can know what Alternative 4 does look like. If unfamiliar with its nuances, click on the city’s Web page or visit the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association’s Web pages or office. For the truly uninitiated, the city planning department will be hosting lengthy sessions Oct. 3 and Oct. 7 to teach you all you need to know about the rationale supporting Alternative 4, particularly its use of roundabouts and lane reductions.
Alternative 4 depicts a Magic Kingdom scene of a two-mile-long, one-sided Main Street with a ribbon of broad sidewalks filling in present gaps and replacing all existing sidewalks (yes, even those recently laid), 1,000 or more trees along the sidewalks, medians and railway to canopy the byway (and possibly camouflage the signs and store fronts of local businesses), two spacious bikeways to host the many ride-through weekend and holiday bicyclists, a wide rail trail for walkers willing to be blasted by the passing trains’ horns and dust clouds, some reverse diagonal parking slots waiting to try the patience of all but the most dexterous drivers (and spew exhaust fumes on some restaurants’ diners), the thoughtless relocation of a couple of bus stops to the front of well-established local businesses (Calypso Cafe, Surf Hut Art Gallery, Shatto and Sons and Mozy’s Cafe ) and, topping off our admittedly limited list of features, five traffic choking roundabouts starting at El Portal and ending at La Costa Avenue.
This cornucopia of expensive “improvements” is only made possible by a couple of major sacrifices: by neglecting our drainage problems and by cutting northbound traffic to one lane. That Leucadia’s drainage problems are not being addressed is no big surprise. The city hasn’t been able to resolve these problems for years. However, more perplexing is Alternative 4’s apparent willingness to channel northbound traffic into one 10.5-foot lane. Even quiet Neptune allows 14 feet for vehicles. It’s estimated that by 2010, daily vehicular traffic will reach close to 9,800 vehicles northbound and more than 12,200 vehicles southbound. All of these vehicles will be inconvenienced by Alternate 4’s radical approaches to calming traffic and assuaging some folks’ aversion of “cut through traffic from other cities.” That traffic bottlenecks will result from the use of one-lane roundabouts and a single northbound lane seems obvious to many locals who are also concerned about spillover traffic on Vulcan and Neptune.
Surely, less draconian measures could be utilized to improve our stretch of Highway 101. Hopefully, Alternative 5 will present a more moderate, and functional, plan worthy of wider community support. Regretfully, this plan is being drafted by the same consultants who created Alternatives 1, 2, 3 and 4; so, your guess is as good as mine as to what will be revealed at the Oct. 10 workshop. Please join me there to express the opinions that just might help decide what Leucadia’s 101 will become.
Ray Yargeau is a local businessman who has lived in the area for more than 44 years.

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