Archive » August 4, 2011
Caltrans’ new favorite roundabout
By Lee Rosenberg, Guest Columnist
Caltrans is arming itself to install a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 154 and Highway 246. Caltrans states they want to “engage stakeholders in the progress of the project” and to “enlist sympathetic stakeholder support” (what about opposition?). Only a handful of people showed up in Solvang for the Caltrans presentation of this project. Caltrans failed to provide ample and visible notice. Caltrans failed to provide a plausible rationalization for the project. The assumption, then, is that Caltrans will take the lack of opposition as a sign of support.
Over a four-year period, there were 10 non-injury incidents (2.5 annually); five injury incidents (1.25 annually) and two fatalities (less than one annually). Several of these were alcohol-related. Over the same four years at the Highway 154 and Edison/Baseline intersections (flasher and stop signs), there were almost exactly one half of these incidents: five non-injury incidents, two injury incidents and one fatality.
At both intersections, incidents per year are extremely low. These accident figures (provided by the CHP) are a tiny fraction of those that occur just down the road on the 154 and the 101, due to tailgaters, angry speed demons unwilling to yield in merging lane competition, etc. Do you believe that these careless and competitive drivers will yield in a roundabout, if not drive right through it?
A critical question that has not been asked: Why has Caltrans decided that this site is worthy of a roundabout? Is it that they anticipate a large flow of traffic developing over time from the East, due to development of the recently acquired Chumash 1,400 acres?
Proponents of the roundabout cite those in European countries. However, the driving cultures there are vastly different than in that U.S. Europeans have become used to them for 75 years or more. Having travelled extensively abroad, I can safely say that 95 percent of drivers there are courteous and careful in roundabouts.
Caltrans is a huge, $13,800,000,000 (that’s billions) a year bloated and arrogant bureaucracy with more than 20,000 employees, and little or no oversight from our representatives at the state or county level or from mandated public hearings (remember, it took a judge to force Caltrans to have its mandated public hearing on the Bridge project). They will run over us whenever they want. As with the awful fencing project on the Cold Spring Bridge, we are now being steamrolled by Caltrans for a poorly conceived, accident(s)-waiting-to-happen roundabout.
We should rid ourselves of this $13,800,000,000 package of tax dollars and give the money to California counties, on a carefully monitored basis, to take care of their own projects and contracting. Contracting out projects to local contractors that are otherwise “in house” at Caltrans, has been proven far more financially effective, with substantial savings reported and a large number of jobs where they are needed most. To learn of the benefits of taking this action go to: http://www.gallen.com/releases/JusttheFacts-FINAL.pdf
Join in opposing this dangerous and wasteful roundabout project. It isn’t worth several millions of taxpayer dollars. It is highly suspect and dangerous.
Call or email Richard Krumholz, District 5 Director of Caltrans, at (805) 549-3127 or email@example.com.