Instead of planning to fix unsafe traffic conditions on Los Osos Valley Road between Oceanaire Drive and Laguna Lane with the $800,000 grant it won, the San Luis Obispo Public Works Department quietly started planning for a big, unsafe bridge over the Prefumo Creek.
Two residential neighborhoods will be disrupted, including our neighborhood of Laguna Shores, which was not even consulted.
If the $800,000 grant is ultimately to be put to good use, the planners must abandon their fixation on the idea that erecting a bridge over the Prefumo Creek is the be-all end-all solution to the problems along Los Osos Valley Road.
Road safety experts need to assess the situation along Los Osos Valley Road and make their recommendations.
Here’s why we feel a bridge is a bad idea:
• As a “scientific” justification for the project, the planners have produced scanty, mostly anecdotal data collected in 2006.
That hardly sounds like a good plan for any project, let alone one involving $800,000 worth of taxpayers’ money.
• John Ashbaugh writes: “we expect that (the bridge) will be very popular and well-used by people of all ages.” Expectation is wishful thinking and hardly reason to spend that kind of money.
A bridge cannot by itself make kids flock to it on foot or bike. And the planners haven’t collected current data on how many parents will let their children use the bridge or how many children would even want to.
Recently, we informally asked 20 parents if they would let their students walk or bike over a proposed bridge. All said no. We asked 20 students if they’d trade their daily rides to school with walking or biking over a bridge. All said no. Yet the bridge is planned mostly for students.
•Prefumo Creek has a long history of attracting all kinds of bad behavior — drugs, sex, alcohol and vandalism.
• There are more than 35 registered and an estimated 20 to 25 unaccounted nonregistered, transient sex offenders within five miles of the proposed bridge.
• A 4-foot-wide path to the bridge is much too narrow to accommodate anticipated foot, cycle, skateboard and rollerblade traffic. Even Mayor Dave Romero noted that in his vote for an alternative plan.
• A thoroughfare will disrupt peace and quiet along the creek and at Laguna Park.
We do not welcome this intrusion into our immediate surroundings.
An enclosed, isolated and shaded bridge has “trouble” written all over it.
Insisting on a “we know it all, you know nothing” approach to solving these issues is clearly misguided and indefensible and ultimately does not serve the best, long-term interests of residents of this city.
To solve safety issues along the Los Osos Valley Road corridor, we all need to review what Mayor Romero and City Councilman Allen Settle said on March 16 regarding “pursuing an alternative to this bridge.” We need to bring in traffic safety experts (as other communities have done after winning a Safe Routes to School grant) to assess the situation and offer recommendations for how best to improve safety conditions for all of us.
In addition to the authors, Laguna Shores residents Paul Seymour, Debbie Marcus, Jordan Hosea, Don Stein and Joe Jennings joined in submitting this viewpoint.