Open Letter to County Supervisor and City Councilmembers:
Like many of my Mission Canyon neighbors, I was startled and angered by the sudden acceptance by both City Council and Board of Supervisors of a complex plan to reconstruct our Mission Canyon corridor. We were startled because, as we discovered, the Caltrans schedule of community meetings never proceeded as planned. We were angered when we saw detailed, multi-colored renderings of a massive construction project. They suggested that, as often happens, government agencies had decided that rearranging our neighborhood was good for us, whether we wanted it or not.
When I got out of the Army in 1953 I moved to the Mission Canyon area with my family and have lived here ever since. Almost nothing has changed here, and that’s the way most of us like it.
Obviously what has changed is the increase in traffic, as everywhere. It is depressing to see that your reaction to Mission Canyon is the same as that of traffic commisars everywhere: make the roads wider and faster. Commuters already screech down Mission Canyon and Foothill at speeds well over the limit. Those who think a straighter road will be safer for children, bikes, and other pedestrians are just perpetuating the magic thinking of highway engineers worldwide. Santa Barbara should be more imaginative.
We are told that the project is at the “concept” stage. We request that both Council and Board hold further public hearings once the project reaches the funding stage. We believe that the great majority of Mission Canyon residents have no idea of the brutal reshaping of our front door and deserve the chance to respond.
Frank Frost is a former 1st District county supervisor and writes on behalf of the coalition to preserve Mission Canyon.