Letter to all – Mary Ellen Gibson, 2/8/14

To the Architectural Review Commission, the Planning Commission, the City Council and the SLCUSD School Board:

I am writing to express my concerns about the Johnson Avenue Housing Project.  I have a number of concerns listed below:

  • Traffic impact on Emergency Vehicle access:
    • Increased traffic will impact SAFETY — vehicles trying to get to an emergency there for students and staff (or further out Johnson to the Southern Section of town) may be delayed.
    • The intersection of Buchon and Johnson is backed up and at a standstill in the morning as people try to get to the school and to work.
    • At one point, I asked about a cul-de-sac there and was told that the emergency vehicle access was too important.   Cars backed up at the intersection – no room to maneuver (a “porkchop” in the center), AND this will add more traffic to this already problematic and dangerous area.  This could delay emergency vehicles IF they can even get through.
  • The increased traffic will be problematic for all.
    • It will increase  the many students who walk there.
    • Many students are getting their driver’s licenses or recently have.
    • The Roundabout is a wonderful idea, except that often people don’t understand how it works.
  • The project is inconsistent with the Primary goals of the ARC design review process as outlined in City website.
    • “Maintain the community’s quality of life for residents; Maintain property values”  — Definitely NOT
    • “Attract growth in the local economy” – I don’t understand how.
    • “Preserve the City’s natural beauty and distinct visual character”  Yep, an 88 2-bedroom project with underground parking for 200 perched on what is now an unblemished hill.
  • Which brings me to admitting that this is going to be problematic for ME (and many others who live here).  We LOVE the high school (we can hear the 24-hour relay, the band practicing on the field, the fireworks at homecoming, the students walking past).  It, like the train, is a part of the fabric of our lives here. Such a cliché, but so true.  Wonderful – really priceless.  However,
    • This project will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on so many aspects of our lives – traffic, pollution, safety,
    • Turning left on to Johnson from Buchon will become even more a game of chance, with the odds becoming less and less, which will tie up traffic on Buchon even more, leading to frustrated drivers.
    • People turning right on Johnson from Buchon usually then want to immediately change into the left lane in order to be in the correct lane for turning into San Luis Drive and the high school.  Have the traffic professionals looked into this potential problem?
    • The creation of MORE traffic and idling cars on Buchon is counter-intuitive to the City’s desire to “Go Green”.
  • The recent distribution of the “Johnson Ave. Housing E.I.R. Traffic …”  noted one Project Impact as “Worsening Excessive Neighborhood Traffic on Buchon Street”
    • The wording “Worsening Excessive Neighborhood Traffic” acknowledges that we ALREADY have Excessive Neighborhood Traffic.
    •  Acknowledges that this excessive traffic will increase
    •  Acknowledges that “Additional Buchon St. Traffic Calming Measures” are needed.  –  But I believe it was mentioned at the recent School Board meeting that funding for all the mitigation might not be available after all the expenses of the proposed JAHP project.
    • IS funding reserved and guaranteed for all the proposed mitigation to the acknowledged negative impacts of this project?

I could go on and on, but I realize that this is already too long and how many items of concern do you need to recommend rejection of this project and the EIR.

Mary Ellen Gibson
1251 Buchon St.
San Luis Obispo

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