Roundabouts on County Line Road moved another step forward Monday night when the Calimesa Planning Commission found the capital improvement project was consistent with the city’s general plan.
The cities of Calimesa and Yucaipa are working together to improve County Line Road between Park Avenue and Bryant Street. Together, they applied for and received funding to construct four single-lane and one multi-lane roundabouts on County Line Road, along with other improvements such as sidewalks and bike lanes.
“This is a joint project with the city of Yucaipa,” said Planning Manager Kelly Lucia, who presented the item at the Oct. 14 meeting. “We applied jointly for funding. (Calimesa) has taken the lead on design and the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) analysis.”
Chair Mike Barron wanted to know if anyone had contacted the city about the CEQA document and the roundabouts, which is open for public review. Lucia replied she had not heard about any feedback, but the public review period just began the previous week.
“As you know, there has been a horrendous tragedy in our community that we are all kind of reeling from so I am not sure if this particular project is going to be on the public’s radar,” Lucia said, referring to the Sandalwood Fire that ripped through an area of Calimesa last week, forcing evacuations, destroying structures and leaving two dead.
Lucia reminded the commissioners the public review is open until Nov. 12.
“There is still an opportunity to voice concern,” Barron said, adding the plan for the roundabouts at Fifth, Third, Second, California and Bryant streets has been around since 2004.
The commissioners voiced various concerns about all of the roundabouts.
“As a truck driver,” Barron said, “I am not a big fan of roundabouts because they are very hard to keep the trailer in the roundabout.”
Commissioner Charles Hurt also wasn’t a fan but for different reasons.
“I hate to say it, but old people have a hard time with roundabouts,” said Hurt, a senior citizen himself. “I am wondering how that is going to affect the community if we put in three roundabouts on that street.”
“Five,” Commissioner Michael Brittingham said, correcting the total roundabouts.
Brittingham wanted to know specifically about the Second Street roundabout and its connection to Calimesa Elementary School farther down the street.
“My primary concern with the Second Street roundabout is what are they going to do for the kids,” he said. “I know it is a work in progress, but are they going to do in ground lights for the crossing because at 3 o’clock or 2:55 p.m. as well as in the morning, that morning commute, everyone is going to stream down there.”
Lucia was not aware of any in ground lights, but said she would discuss it with the city engineer.
Commissioner Eric Cundieff took a more philosophical approach to the roundabouts.
“Over time people will get used to it and it will just become part of everyday travel on those roads,” he said.
“It will help with the traffic flow in the morning with everyone headed to the freeway,” Brittingham added.
“And that’s a positive,” Cundieff said.
Because the County Line Road Transportation Corridor Improvement Project is a capital improvement project the approval goes directly to the city council rather than first the planning commission and then the council.
“With the environmental document, this will not come before planning commission,” Lucia said. “As a capital improvement project it goes directly to council for approva,l but you are all more than welcome, of course, to attend that meeting when it happens.”
Rancho Citrus Business Park
The mixed-use Rancho Citrus Business Park was granted a one-year extension for the commercial, light industrial project, located on Desert Lawn Drive and Brookside Avenue.
The reason for the one-time extension is because sewer service issues have delayed the project.
“We have quite a few hurdles to jump through, but we are working very closely as a team,” Lucia said about the issues.
The expiration date for the project is now Nov. 13, 2020.