Stuck in a rut

By From page A4 | April 30, 2014

How lame is this? The group of less than a dozen that keeps suing to keep the city from replacing the one-lane Clay Street Bridge with federal bridge money is too lazy to seek petition signatures out on the street. Instead it is mailing petitions to city voters and hoping they will mail them back in less than three weeks.

We urge city residents to ignore these petitions and let the city proceed with realigning Clay Street to Cedar Ravine, turning it into a four-way stop.

The real bugaboo for the so-called Friends of Historic Hangtown is the possibility of a roundabout. We maintain the fanatical coterie opposed to a roundabout is stuck in another century, and it’s not even the 20th century.

The problem with trying to outlaw roundabouts in Placerville is that it will prevent the best solution to traffic backups on the Placerville Drive overpass. A roundabout already approved for the intersection of Placerville Drive, Fair Lane and the freeway onramp is the best way to keep traffic moving smoothly instead of clogging the overpass and making left-turners wait forever for a brief left-turn signal.

The best solution for the intersection of a realigned Clay Street and Cedar Ravine is a stoplight, so that cars waiting to turn left from Pacific Street will have a break in traffic, enabling them to make the turn. But we will leave that for the traffic engineers. With the large Druid Monument in the middle of the intersection it seems logical to send traffic around it in a “roundabout” fashion. However, with the old Clay Street being turned into a parking lot, it would make sense to relocate the Druid Monument there opposite the Pearson Soda Works in its own little alcove with park benches and raised flower beds. That will end the danger of a repeat performance of some big tractor-trailer rig running over the base and breaking the granite.

Afterall, there’s no law that the Druid Monument has to remain in the middle of the street. When this monument was dedicated in 1926, 30 mph felt fast for most drivers and there were still folks who rode a horse and buggy into town. In 1926, they still drove cattle down the main street of Diamond Springs on the way to summer pastures in the Sierra and around Lake Tahoe.

It’s time to get out of the time warp rut. Think outside the monument. Move the monument and the roundabout at Cedar Ravine goes away on traffic engineering commonsense.

Mountain Democrat

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