Friday, April 13, 2018

• Bundy Canyon Road Improvement Update

We've all been eager to see Bundy Canyon improved; more and more so with each passing year. It's looking like the wait will soon be over (soon still being a relative term here). 
Mayor Ben Benoit sitting at the dais, to the right is Bill Lo, and standing is Larry Markham.
At the most recent Farm HOA meeting, city officials (Mayor Ben Benoit and Assistant City Manager Dan York), along with Sunbelt Communities and the project of Oak Creek Canyon Developer Bill Lo and his "right hand man" (as the chairman introduced him as) Larry Markham.

Councilmember Dustin Nigg had been slated to make the meeting, as he's been knee deep in all things Bundy Canyon Road since his swearing in, but his day job called, and he had to fly out to Virginia and couldn't make it.

The point of the meeting was to give an update to the widening and realignment of Bundy Canyon Road to those that use it the most, the residents at The Farm.

Larry Markham, Dan York and Mayor Benoit all did some speaking, and they also answered many questions too.

I'll add the key points as they came in.
     ►  The overall project goes from the I-15 to Sunset (which is the border with Menifee).
     ►  Phase I comes up to The Farm Road. 
     ►  Phase II goes from The Farm Road to Sunset ("eventually" as stated by Larry Markham). 

     ►  It's going to be a four lane facility.
     ►  Total cost: $38.7 million dollars.
     ►  We'll be flattening out the curves, vertically and horizontally. "The big dippy curves will be flattened out and be a four lane road".
     ►  Currently in the process of purchasing the right of way for a six lane road. Six lanes is what's on the city's circulation element. 
     ►  The city is in the stages of final design.
     ►  Funding with a variety of funds. 

  • A big chunk of the funds are coming from WRCOG (Western Riverside Council of Governments), from the TUMF program. (click this link to read about TUMF)
  • City developer impact fees.
  • Applying for numerous grants.

     ►  This project will include a new traffic signal at Sellers Road, Monte Vista Road, Oak Circle Drive, The Farm traffic signal will be modified with either "our project or their project"; We're close in schedule.

There are two projects, or two phases, depending on how you want to describe them.

     ►  Their project (the developer's) will include a traffic signal at Harvest Way West, Harvest Way East and then ultimately, in the final phase, at Sunset (after a commercial retail center at the corner, according to Markham, "taken to market in the not too distant future.")

There was an audible groan from the audience after the last traffic signal was mentioned.

     ►  Preliminary engineering: complete
     ►  Environmental Impact Report: complete
     ►  Their tentative map, with all the entitlements: Approved.
     ►  Phase I construction plans are 95% complete.
     ►  Phase II plans (their project) is 75% complete.
     ►  We are scheduling for Fall of 2018, with a right of way acquisition in the Winter of 2018, and Phase I construction beginning in Summer of 2019.

Dan York said, "You may be asking, 'why wait that long?' Part of that is that we have a $12.8 million shortfall."

From there Larry Markham went further into the slide show, showing the future realignment, but the images didn't make for very legible photos to share in this blog.

Key Questions From the Audience
(I'm going to paraphrase the questions, but I'll transcribe the answers.)

Q: What about street lights?
A: (York) One of the things we are proud of in our city is the dark skies. We'll be limiting street lights to those areas that definitely need them; typically in curves. It won't necessarily be a lit roadway all the way up and down. (Markham) They will be the new LED streetlights, they will not be the old, dark yellow, low pressure sodium lights. 

Q: What about the wagon monuments at the entrances?
A: (Markham) We'll work with the association board and make sure that those are restored to their existing status.

Q: What about cut outs for buses?
A: (Markham) [The homeowner] board brought it up to us and we have discussed it with Dan [York], and he's done some research with both the school district and [RTA]. 

(York) The school district we talked with their transportation group they provided us their route. The only stop currently on Bundy Canyon is at Oak Circle, by that school. Everything else within The Farm is going to be off Bundy. [...] They've not requested a bus turnout at this point. 

That's different for RTA. [RTA board member] Bridgette Moore has been pressing hard to get a bus route up and through Bundy, that should tie over to the school in Menifee. [...] Hopefully we'll have a better update for you at the May 1st meeting.

Q: I've heard that Sunset will be going all the way to Nutmeg off of Clinton Keith, is that still in the works?
A: (York) Currently, there is not on the city's circulation element, a connection from Bundy Canyon to Clinton Keith Road. A lot of that land has been purchased by Riverside Conservation Agency. There is a potential development, that'll be behind [The Farm]. They will be seeking a possible connection, but not to Nutmeg.

Q: Will there be bike lanes on Bundy Canyon?
A: (York) Mayor Benoit knows that cycling is one of my passions. We have modified the design of this road, that actually has a designated, separated from the roadway, two way bike lane, along the northern run of this road. (The audience applauded)

Q: Due to the extra traffic that Walmart will be bringing, will they be paying for any of the improvements?
A: (Benoit) Absolutely, they're improving the properties to the front and to the side of their project as well as contributing to all the signal lights along Bundy Canyon. 

Q: How about landscaping along the road?
A: (Markham) As you can see here (pointing to the projection screen) the road will be fully landscaped on both parkways; pursuant to city standards that we'll have to meet.
Looking in a westerly direction from Harvest Way East. (March 2018)
Q: What about the existing oak trees? 
A: (Markham) Every oak tree, on both projects, was identified and every effort was made to avoid the impact to as many oak trees as possible. [...] Every oak tree has been tagged and identified as the drift diameter, trunk diameter and health. [...] We've done everything possible to avoid the maximum amount of tree [removal].

Q: (follow up question) What about the oak tunnel, the canopy over the street?
A: (Markham) The dips that dip down into the drainage courses will be brought up, and the high points will be brought down. So you will have a smooth, horizontal and vertical transition throughout this entire roadway. You will not have the, somewhat, roller coaster ride that you have out there today. And you'll be able to see around the curves, which you cannot see around today.
Photo taken around March 9th, 2018.
Q: But are you leaving the trees?
A: (Benoit) A lot of those trees will be lost. Part of it, when it came before city council, we wanted to make sure we brought as many trees back as we could. So, throughout that whole new construction area, there's a number of trees that will be planted to make up for the trees that will be lost. We can't save all the trees. It's part of the effort in making that road [...] a whole lot better than what we have today. 
If you'd like to get the info first hand, be sure to add this meeting to your calendar.
It's good to see this steadily moving forward. Unfortunately, Scott Road to the 215 is a couple of years behind the Bundy Canyon to the 15 portion, but we are moving in the right direction.
•                •                •

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
– Sir Winston Churchill

Wildomar Rap has no comprehensible virtues, and more vices than can fit on a standard workbench.
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1 comment:

  1. i’m sure i know how to save the oak trees on bundy. let me see the street imp. plans and i can recommend but not sure if it will matter


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