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City: truck route one of several ideas

September 15, 2011

A large contingency of citizens opposed to a truck route around the city of Bishop showed up at Monday’s City Council meeting to voice their concerns. Many citizens admitted they were under the impression there would not be another chance to comment on the matter and others said they thought the idea was a scheduled project to be completed in the near future.
A truck route is not on any project list nor was the subject on the council’s agenda.
An open house to discuss and hear public opinions on the Mobility Element of the city’s General Plan will be held from 3-7 p.m. today at City Hall. The truck route is one of many ideas proposed to be included in the element. The Mobility Element is a wish list of long-range goals based on transportation studies completed by Caltrans and the city.
Apparently, the large crowd was the result of some miscommunication between many residents and the city. A letter from Public Works was sent to 2,400 residents in August seeking input on the element update. Among the ideas so far proposed in the update and presented in the letter was “a trucks-only route constructed between Bishop and the airport (that) would reduce traffic on Main Street.” A map of a potential truck route was also included. While the letter states that the truck route is an “idea,” many citizens at the meeting said they believed that construction of the route would begin soon.
Monday’s meeting began with an explanation.
Interim City Administrator Keith Caldwell explained that while the Mobility Element was not on the agenda and there are no plans for the council to take action on the matter, the public is always invited to comment on any issue. Caldwell added, to answer a question, that the element study is paid for by state and federal funds.
The majority of those who spoke were residents from the east side of Bishop where the map shows the proposed route passing through.
Some told the council how “alarmed” they were when they heard of the proposed route and were sure their property values would plummet because of it. Some arguments were that the amount of truck traffic on Main Street is not a problem, but if the trucks were to go around town, their numbers would create excess pollution, noise and a safety hazard.
However, some agreed that a truck route would be beneficial, but as Hanby Avenue resident Tom Sigler said, “We need to get trucks off of Main Street, but at what price?”
Additional arguments were made that the Bishop canal and surrounding areas, enjoyed by numerous joggers, dog walkers, anglers and others, would surely suffer, aesthetically and perhaps environmentally, in the face of a truck route.
“I will sell my house if you put this in,” said Hanby resident John Harris.
Comments on the truck route and the other ideas in the Mobility Study will be accepted today from 3-7 p.m. at City Hall during the open house, via e-mail to publicowrks@ca-bishop.us, by mail to 377 W. Line St., Bishop, CA or by phone at (760) 873-8458.
For more information on the element or to review the reports, go to City Hall or visit www.ca-bishop.us.

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