Hemet leaders continue to speak out against Caltrans’ proposed median
By Craig Shultz
Hemet Mayor Linda Krupa can’t be any clearer in her opposition to Caltrans’ plan to construct a raised-curb median along her city’s main thoroughfare.
“I don’t know how we can say it more explicitly, it’s not for the city of Hemet,” she said at last week’s council meeting.
Former mayor Lori VanArsdale was even more blunt.
“Don’t just say no, stand up and say ‘hell no,’” she said.
Caltrans plans to construct an 8-mile-long median along Highway 74, which is Florida Avenue in the city, stretching from near Hemet’s western border into the unincorporated Valle Vista neighborhood to the east.
Caltrans controls the state highway, so it can add the median without the city’s approval and the agency says it is doing so as a safety measure.
City and business leaders have railed against the project, citing slowed traffic and loss of access to businesses among their concerns.
In hearing the complaints, Caltrans has altered the project a number of times since it was first presented to the city in June 2016.
“Caltrans has gone to considerable lengths to reach out to the city of Hemet and community leaders to build a strong partnership for SR-74 Raised Curb Median Safety Project,” public information officer Joy Schneider wrote in response to questions the agency was sent. “We are disappointed that the city has once again declared their opposition to the project which is intended to increase safety within their community.”
She said the project is needed because of the concentration of crashes on the street, which is home to numerous stores, restaurants and other businesses.
“It is a necessary project to prevent injuries and save lives,” she said.
Schneider cited a 2011 study, which initiated the project, and another from 2015. She said data from 2013 through 2015 showed there were 346 collisions on the stretch of Highway 74, including […]