After what has appeared in the press regarding the Highway 101 project it is appropriate for the Montecito Association to comment and to summarize the Association’s position at this point in time.
First, to be clear, we know and accept that there will be a third lane added in each direction through the Montecito corridor.
Second, we know, understand, and are sensitive to the legitimate concerns of the residents of the Hermosillo neighborhood.
Third, what we are not, is prepared to rush to judgment about what is right for the community based upon a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that has serious flaws and fails to give the public an adequate grasp of the project proposals it puts forward. The Montecito Association is methodically working through this Draft EIR and meeting with various levels of decision makers to insure the community views are well represented.
The entire 101 Project design is dogged by a fundamental lack of enough money to do the job right. But, despite the acute lack of funds, the designs ignore opportunities to save substantial chunks of money. Local knowledge and local input has been disregarded in favor of slavish adherence to Caltrans guidelines that are obviously being applied arbitrarily if one looks elsewhere in the state.
It is inappropriate for a state agency to attempt to railroad through a project of this magnitude without the full understanding of affected communities. The Association is attempting to enhance that understanding by challenging assumptions and presenting alternatives. Anything less than this effort would be an abdication of our responsibility to the residents of Montecito.
While some feel that we are stuck with one of the original Caltrans designs the Montecito Association has been in serious and substantial discussions with the next level of decision makers to address our concerns. We are confident we can improve the project by incorporating local knowledge and community input.