Timing is everything

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Caltrans has finally got around to repair the damage done to Las Flores Canyon and Hume Road by last year’s rains. I’m sure that everyone who uses these roads is more than pleased since some of the single lane sections of the road are dangerous. Caltrans has always done an excellent job maintaining these roads during storms, etc. But the hours that the roads are being closed for the current project are Draconian. The road is closed from 8:30 to 5 p.m. seven days a week. To get down to PCH requires a ten-mile drive over a winding mountain road.

I had assumed that the roads would at least be open on Thanksgiving and Christmas day but that will not be the case. This is ridiculous. Those two holidays are highlights of the year for most people. To expect family and friends to find their way through the mountains is not realistic. I called Caltrans to express my concern but was only able to leave a message on a machine. One neighbor called Susan Nissman in Zev Yaroslavsky’s office and another spoke with Dean Lehman of District 3 County Road Department. Neither was sympathetic. Their attitude was “You don’t know how hard we’re working for you.”

Initially the work was scheduled to begin in August. It was pushed back three times and finally the work began in the first week of November. Why Caltrans would wait for the rainy season and the holiday season to begin work only they can explain.

Several simple alterations can be done to ameliorate the situation. The road can be open on the two major holidays. The road can be open for a one-hour period during mid-day ore even a half hour, especially on weekends. Gorge Road (a county road) can be open one way on a staggered schedule, for each direction. (Statements were made that Gorge Road is not a county road, but why then did the county pay for the bridge to be rebuilt after the fires in 1993?) I would suggest that as many people as possible who are affected by this situation call the offices of Caltrans (310.348.6448) and Zev Yaroslavsky (213.974.3333). Maybe enough voices will bring some sanity to the situation.

Howard Ziehm