Springs residents grill Gorin on roads, roundabout
FIRST DISTRICT SUPERVISOR SUSAN GORIN makes a point during the Springs Town Hall meeting Thursday.
Roads were the main topic of the inaugural Springs Town Hall meeting Thursday.
First District Supervisor Susan Gorin answered questions – and she brought along Tom O’Kane, deputy public works director and John Haig, former redevelopment manager, to fill in with more technical information.
The now-on-hold Highway 12 project was a big part of the conversation, but neighbors in the Rancho Madrone neighborhood made their presence known with complaints about the work – or lack thereof – on their streets. The Arnold Drive roundabout was also discussed, as was the Central Sonoma Valley Bike Trail.
O’Kane told the crowd of about 80 Valley residents, that the Highway 12 plans are sitting on a shelf and are 60 percent complete.
“The Board of Supervisors gave us $450,000 to complete the plans,” he said. “This way, we’ll be ready to bid when money becomes available.”
He said Caltrans had reassigned its staff that had been working on the plans, but the county and Caltrans will re-start monthly meetings next month to get the plans to 100 percent.
O’Kane estimated the cost to complete the project, with sidewalks and streetlights from Boyes Boulevard to Agua Caliente Road to be about $6 million.
“We had the money, but a year ago it all disappeared,” he said.
Haig said the county still has $2.2 million in bond money that was floated for the project, and has additional cash that the state wants to take. Because the state has been rejecting the Highway 12 project on the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule the county has been filing, the county filed suit against the state.
“We think there’s a strong legal case to be made,” Haig said. “We’re not done telling the state how they’ve erred.”
He also said the county could complete the project with county money that used to go to redevelopment, but said there are competing priorities at the county level.
Gorin told the crowd that the Highway 12 project was former 1st District Supervisor Valerie Brown’s top priority and it is her top priority too.
“This is a state highway,” she said. “It grates me that we can’t get a rapid response from them.”
O’Kane mentioned that the Arnold Drive roundabout went out for bids the day before, much to the chagrin of those opposed to the project. He said the money for the roundabout is money from Measure M from 2004, and some of it was destined for intersection improvements.
And he said that the county is short of money and short of help. The county just appointed a new director of public works last Tuesday and O’Kane said they want to put together a master plan for the underfunded roads.
“Last year, we filled 96,000 potholes in the county,” he said. “The county has 1,382 miles of road. My job is to try to get things done on a regular basis.”
He also said that a stoplight is going in on Madrone Road and Highway 12 – a stoplight the county has sought since 2002. “But it’s now funded and bid,” he said. “There’s a very long lead-time and the permitting is unbelievable.”
O’Kane also listened to Paul Morrison, a resident of Rancho Madrone, who complained about the roads in the subdivision being a hazard. “Even the quality of the patches (for the potholes) has deteriorated,” Morrison said. Some of Morrison’s neighbors chimed in with their horror stories about their roads.
Other topics discussed included the SMART train project, fluoridation and graffiti.
The Springs Community Alliance, which hosted the event, is planning another town hall meeting in the fall.