Commentary: Save the Farmers Market --- Stop the Cedar Ravine Roundabout
They are at it again. The city council is still pushing their eight year long fight to destroy the historic character of this town with the roundabout project at the intersection of Main Street and Cedar Ravine but have changed the name to now call it “the Clay Street Bridge Replacement and Realignment Project.” The city Planning Commission has a public hearing set for Wednesday night, August 27th, which is needed for an Environmental Impact Report required to build it. But no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig, and this plan smells. It still calls for enlarging the bridge, cutting the Ivy House Parking Lot right in the middle to move the historic Druid’s Monument and connect Clay Street straight through to Cedar Ravine with a four way traffic signal in the center.
By dramatically cutting parking spaces by more than half, there is no way the Saturday Farmer’s Market could ever be the same or be saved. City officials have quietly said the market could be kept by doing such things as closing Clay Street while the market is open but that’s nonsense since one of the main selling points for this five million dollar boondoggle is to facilitate emergency traffic. The risk to pedestrian visitors would be greatly increased by more and faster car traffic and the economic impact on neighboring businesses would be devastating.
This work is being done as the result of a biased $200,000 environmental impact study on the roundabout options pushed in the council last October by council member Wendy Thomas -- while serving as Mayor -- even though she also sat on the Board of Directors of Marshal Hospital that is the biggest user of Cedar Ravine with an estimated 3,000 cars traveling daily through that intersection. Local bureaucrats push these kinds of projects to get what they call “grant money” which we know is just another name for our money, state and federal tax dollars, that they can get for road projects but only with strings attached like roundabouts and other schemes that destroy our town’s historic landscape.
After more than enough signatures were gained in the record breaking time of just thirteen days to put the roundabout issue on the ballot – Measure K to require a public vote before roundabouts could be built in town – the council came up with an ordinance that does little more than take the word “roundabout” out of the plan for now in what was all but described in a council report as a ploy draw support away from Measure K. The city will still be able to bring back the roundabout element of their plan after the election. In the meantime, the city’s radical plan is quietly going forward at full speed. Don’t let it be a secret. Speak up.
The Placerville City Planning Commission is holding a hearing on Wednesday, August 27th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Placerville Town Hall, 549 Main St, Placerville on this new scheme and is asking for public comments. You have a voice, use it. Tell your neighbors, tell your friends. The public can make a difference. The city’s notice about the August 27th Planning Commission hearing is available online http://cityofplacerville.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=8935
Clay Street Bridge Design Map (page 7)
Attend the August 27th Planning Commission public hearing.
They need to hear your views.
Written comments can also be sent.
And remember, Vote YES on Measure K in November to ensure voter approval before roundabouts are built in this city.
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