THE PEOPLE SPEAK
TOP LEVEL SUMMARY
Below is a top-level summary of resident comments made during city council meetings, over the past year and a half, about the Doherty Drive Extension Project.
People who spoke to the city council were overwhelmingly against the new road. Of 23 residents who spoke, 21 were against the project. Based on petitions that have been signed, it is fair to say that each person was speaking for a large number of fellow residents.
TRAFFIC. Almost everyone who spoke was concerned about traffic issues. Quiet, secluded neighborhoods may be transformed. Residents noted that Minton Road traffic is often very heavy, and is sure to get worse in the future, because of all the development that is going on in neighboring communities. So the new road will get a lot of cut-through traffic from Minton, in addition to traffic from the local subdivisions. This traffic will be dumped onto Henry Avenue, which already has significant traffic problems which block several side streets. These concerns about traffic have been confirmed by a traffic study, and by the observations of residents, including a law enforcement officer with a great deal of experience in traffic control.
WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS. Almost all of the speakers felt there is little benefit to be gained from the road. The original road concept, which included an extension of Doherty Drive south to Fell Road, would have supported an interconnectivity grid which could have been useful in an emergency situation, but the current plan does not include that extension. Instead, it dumps the traffic onto Henry, which will only aggravate the existing congestion.
FLOOD RISK. Residents are concerned that the flood risk is increasing, due to climate pattern changes and massive development in nearby areas. Another paved surface can only result in more runoff during storms. The city is modifying the design to divert rainwater from the new road to the adjacent canal, and this is a welcome change. Still, the net result would seem to be a higher risk of flooding for some areas since the canal runs adjacent to many neighborhoods.
SCHOOL SAFETY. Parents were concerned that school crossings along Heritage Oaks Blvd and Henry Avenue are going to have more traffic on them, and some of it is going to be cut-through traffic from Minton. Cut-through drivers tend to speed and have more accidents.
DEGRADATION OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT. Residents are also unhappy that beautiful trees and wildlife will be destroyed, and the natural feel of the neighborhoods will be lost. The loss of trees also affects noise levels, absorption of rainwater, air quality, etc.
LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES. Some residents had not made aware of the plan to build the road prior to buying their homes, and would not have bought them if they had known. Also, questions have been raised about conflict of interest on the part of individuals involved in the decision.
DECREASE IN HOME VALUES. News about the planned construction of the road has already had an impact on home sales.
In summary, the speakers expressed nearly unanimous opposition to the proposed road because they see it as a frivolous expenditure that will negatively impact our environment, safety, and security.