Friday, July 27, 2018

• Clinton Keith To The 79: NOW OPEN!

If you've ever had jury duty, or other reasons to go to the Southwest Justice Center, you've had to take the 15 south, then exit at Murrieta Hot Springs Road, travel east for about five miles until you hit the 79, then turn north (left) and travel another couple of miles.

Not anymore!
Parking for the event began well east of the unique looking animal crossing overpass.
The road is officially open, or it will be when they get done cleaning up the remains of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The crowd was far larger than the organizers anticipated, and people were parking both east and west of the animal crossing overpass. (That's what I'm calling it.)
From the west side of the overpass looking east. The idea is to give wildlife a way to go from north to south (or vice versa) without having to cross the six lanes of Clinton Keith Rd. Let's hope the fury critters figure it out. ☺
The line up of speakers included Juan Perez (Director Riverside County Transportation and Land Management), Chuck Washington (Riverside County Supervisor from the 3rd District), Jonathan Ingram (Mayor of Murrieta), Michael Naggar (Temecula City Council), Aaron Hake (External Affairs Director, RCTC), Rick Bishop (Executive Director WRCOG) and Charles Landry (Executive Director, Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority).
County Supervisor Chuck Washington speaks to the attendees.
Though there was no campaigning for (and not even a mention of) Prop 6 (the repeal of the gas tax that will be on the ballot this november) it was mentioned by Aaron Hake that the funds for the Clinton Keith project came from a 2002 sales tax increase known as Measure A, and how Clinton Keith to the 79 was specifically mentioned in that ballot measure.
I took this shot from the north side of the animal crossing looking in a westerly direction. You can see the bridge that allows for animals to cross underneath as cars travel the road.
This is what the surface of the animal crossing looks like. I estimate it to be between 120 and 150 feet wide. It felt similar to the distance a catcher would throw the ball from home plate to second base on a full size baseball field.
These "tunnels" are massive. There are also bike lanes in each direction, and protected sidewalks.
A look from another angle.
There was a ribbon cutting, but everyone and their mother either had a DSLR, a video camera or a smartphone looking to take a shot of it. I opted to be first in line for some food instead!  I bet that no one else got a shot of the ribbon and the large scissors... I'm ready for my Pulitzer now. 
State Senator Jeff Stone was slated to attend, but he was at the Cranston Fire (Idyllwild). His representative, John Hunneman, spoke to the crowd in his place and shared a fascinating story about who Clinton Keith was. 

As it happens, a relative of Clinton Keith lives in Windsong Valley and was talking to me about doing a blog about him a couple of weeks ago. They're trying to hunt down some photos first.

In the meantime, give the new extension a try. It took me only a couple of minutes to get from the new twin tunnel overpass to the 215. Such a time saver if you travel that way.
Wildomar had two representatives at this event, one was official: Assistant City Manager Dan York. The other was unofficial: City Council Candidate Joseph Morabito in blogger guy mode.
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"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
– H. M. Warner, founder of Warner Brothers, in 1927

Wildomar Rap is grateful that H.M. Warner wasn't introduced to the concept of blogging in his lifetime.

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