BY JULIE GALLANT RAMONA SENTINEL, FEB. 22, 2022 4:35 PM PT Two agencies teaming up on fund applications for improvements to state Route 67 will
BY JULIE GALLANT
RAMONA SENTINEL, FEB. 22, 2022 4:35 PM PT
Two agencies teaming up on fund applications for improvements to state Route 67 will update the Ramona Community Planning Group on Thursday, March 3.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Ramona Community Library, 1275 Main St.
Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) have been working together the past year to create the San Vicente Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (CMCP). The plan addresses safety and congestion as it reviews different modes of transportation on SR-67 including bicycles, equestrian and pedestrian uses and vehicles.
The plan covers roughly 18 miles of the San Vicente Corridor, which follows the path of SR-67 from Lakeside to just past Ramona.
SANDAG and Caltrans are also hosting a virtual public meeting to solicit feedback on the San Vicente plan at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23 at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81108811774#success.
Antoinette Meier, SANDAG director of regional planning, said multimodal plans are required by the state to be eligible for certain types of state funding. The CMCP will help SANDAG determine estimated costs for making SR-67 improvements and prepare for grant applications when the next grant application period starts, Meier said.
Melina Pererira, Caltrans project manager for the San Vicente CMCP, said the plan reviews items such as evacuation strategies, safety, freight and goods movement, IT fiber communications, traffic congestion and utilities.
“We have a whole suite of strategies and concepts that we have compiled based on feedback from the community and analysis we have done, and we will be presenting that to the Planning Group,” Pererira said.
Pererira’s Planning Group presentation will include early proposals for programs and improvements to the corridor, which could include shoulder widenings, safety improvements, and pedestrian and equestrian improvements.
During the process of creating the plan, Pererira said they have requested input from key stakeholders, including Ramona Community Planning Group members Robin Joy Maxson and Dan Summers. They’ve also collected input from the city of Poway, county of San Diego, California Highway Patrol and Cal Fire, she said.
Summers said 33 years ago Caltrans and the CHP described SR-67 as a “dangerous and obsolete corridor.” He said the population of Ramona and the backcountry has grown since then, making SR-67 even more lethal. In his Feb. 17 column in the Ramona Sentinel, Summers quoted CHP statistics that there have been 772 traffic collisions between Highland Valley Road in Ramona and Mapleview Street in Lakeside over the five years from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021, causing 479 injuries and 13 fatalities.
“The 2003 and 2007 conflagrations made it clear the SR-67 cannot handle evacuating the community of Ramona so it needs more lanes to get everybody out of here,” said Summers, referring to the 2003 Cedar Fire and the 2007 Witch Creek Fire. “There’s only five ways out of Ramona. Three of the five ways were on fire, so that channeled everybody into 67 and it failed.”
The timeframe for completing the CMCP is this summer, but Meier said the timing of the grant application has not been determined.
Caltrans is working on an additional environmental review, separate from the CMCP, to determine possible strategies for improving SR-67 for emergency evacuations. One option could be widen SR-67 to four lanes and another is widening the highway’s shoulders. The EIR will look at a range of options to determine their impact on traffic congestion, safety and the environment, Meier said.
Caltrans Project Manager Marvin Canton, who is working on the SR-67 highway improvement project, said no decisions about the alternatives highlighted in the environmental review will be made until it is reviewed under the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Protection Act.
“We have to go through the environmental process before determinations can be made,” said Canton, who estimates the EIR will be completed in summer 2025. “There’s opportunities to make comments.”
Other transportation projects in the works are repaving and adding fiber communications to SR-67 from Lakeside through Ramona. Canton said the total $39 million project paid for by Caltrans, SANDAG and the county is scheduled to start in spring 2022 and be completed by fall 2023.
An additional SR-67 project in the works is the Ramona Clean California project to improve the crosswalks at the Seventh Street and 10th Street intersections. Canton said sidewalks already exist at these intersections, but they may be improved with stamped asphalt to give them a texture similar to brick paving.
The crosswalk project is intended to beautify Main Street and improve pedestrian safety, according to SANDAG. An example are the crosswalks at the Main and Magnolia intersection in El Cajon, Meier said.
The crosswalk improvement project is expected to start at the end of this summer and be completed by summer 2023, Canton said.
Yet another project on its way is the SR-67 Culvert Rehabilitation Project. The project proposes to upgrade and repair culverts, replace sign panels, install Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb ramps, improve crosswalk visibility and add LED lighting. The state funded project is scheduled to begin construction late summer 2024 and be completed in summer 2025.
For more information about the Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan call 888-317-8976, text 844-569-0570 or email email@example.com. Public feedback can be submitted through the online engagement hub at https://sandag.mysocialpinpoint.com/sanvicente.
(Thursday) 7:00 pm