In “Freeway Widening All Jammed Up,” I find it ironic that Mayor Schneider expresses concern that the project may increase future congestion on some city streets since she has previously ignored pleas of Coast Village Road business owners and neighbors frustrated with the intolerable congestion already existing on that city street.
Prior to the 2009 closure of the southbound freeway on-ramp at Cabrillo Boulevard, 1.2 million vehicles annually used that on-ramp. That traffic now must use Coast Village Road to access points south, causing a massive increase in congestion that is threatening the livelihood of merchants, increasing risks to pedestrians, and degrading the character of the community.
Rather than acknowledging these issues and working to advance the Caltrans plan that includes reopening a southbound on-ramp, she ignored her constituents’ concerns and instead asked ” … what is technically the need for it at all” at a SBCAG meeting in May 2013. Then in July 2013, she flew with county residents (not her constituents) to meet the governor’s representative in Sacramento to lobby for the Montecito Association’s plan that did not include the much needed on-ramp. And this January, she was the only South County member of SBCAG to vote against the widening project.
Now the mayor says she will be publicly supporting private parties who have filed lawsuits challenging the Environmental Impact Report. This will further delay the project, increase costs to taxpayers, and leave Coast Village Road congested for years to come.