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Voice: Don't shortchange Calexico on Cole Road

February 05, 2001

In March 1999 the city of Calexico paid Canty Engineering Corp. $78,000 to prepare a "service area plan." Two years ago the urgent need for Cole Road to be six lanes was obvious.

On Jan. 21 the traffic-engineering firm Dahl Robbins and Associates presented the Planning Commission a new study with the absurd conclusion that four lanes would be sufficient. The reduction from six to four lanes would amount to a 25-percent reduction in capacity on this dangerous congested artery.

Within 20 years Dahl Robbins Engineering Corp. states vehicular traffic will grow to 37,500 trips daily on Cole Road, 100 percent for a four-lane road.

In order to justify Dahl Robbins Engineering Corp.'s conclusion of four lanes, the city of Calexico must pass a law prohibiting access from any housing developments on the entire Cole Road corridor. This restriction is ridiculous.

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City, county, state and Mexican planners determined many years ago most population and business growth would be easterly. Our city officially adopted a "sphere of influence," which extends to the new port.

Mexicali already has programmed huge, massive industrial parks east of their port. Government policy is to locate housing close for the workers. This population combined with our eastward business and construction of several thousand homes is going to create monumental traffic impacts.

These facts were not considered in the traffic report, only traffic generated from Highway 98 to Highway 111. How are all these thousands of new residents going to get from the new port to Imperial Avenue, Wal-Mart, the theaters, etc?

Planning Commissioner Richard Romero offered the logical solution. Start with four lanes but get easements on both sides of Cole for six lanes in the future, a logical resolution of future traffic problems.

A 25-percent reduction in capacity is wrong and very short-sighted planning. It will surely result in serious health and safety issues and unbearable congestion.

Near-term inconvenience for a few developers should not have a higher priority then a greater Calexico.

Please, councilmen, don't shortchange our promising potential. Insist along with Tim Jones, county public works director, that Cole Road be 125 feet wide.

ARTURO SELWICK

Calexico

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