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DIY soundwall?

The Arden Arcade CPAC met on January 28th and OKed the request of the property owner at 3851 Fair Oaks Boulevard to build a 7' high sound wall to protect the property from "unwanted pedestrians and vehicles" that have come onto the property. The request also noted that "vehicles regularly exceed the posted speed limit resulting in loud screeching noises and sometimes vehicle related accidents." The County Department of Transportation commented on the proposal by recommending closing off one of the two driveways at the property and stipulating that the wall could not be built closer tp the street than the right-of-way line. The project's approval next goes to the Board of Supervisors.

OK, we get it. The applicant is justifiably concerned about danger from traffic and, apparently, also worried by some past incidents when disoriented drivers turned into his driveway. And you sure wouldn't want any of the runners in the California International Marathon "wandering" into the property, would you? Besides, there are some other parcels nearby that also have privately-financed soundwalls. So is anything wrong with this picture?

May contain: plant and vegetation
Proposed private soundwall on Fair Oaks Blvd. to be built on ROW line.

Well, yes. Let's start with the lack of traffic enforcement, which is obvious if cars "regularly exceed the posted speed limit" and sometimes get into wrecks. Isn't the CHP supposed to enforce traffic laws in our community? Answer, they are, but they really don't. They are spread too thin across the state to be able to actually focus on our community. Heaven knows, they try and they mean well. But in reality, the job just doesn't get done like it would if we were a city with its own police force empowered to clamp down on local speeders. Next, why is it up to property owners to pay for their own soundwalls along a very busy, significant arterial? Couldn't the County have anticipated that making Fair Oaks Blvd. such a vital street would lead to detrimental impacts on adjacent properties? Well, sure, but if your community plan is decades old, why bother? Just go ahead and let the area develop so people of means can cope with it while people of lesser means cannot - that's par for the course hereabouts. And finally, have a look at the project rendering. Do you see any accommodation for cyclists or pedestrians on the County's side of the wall? Nope. What you see is some nice landscaping that will probably wind up covered with all kinds of roadside litter. Hahahaha! Shut up and drive, you silly unwanted pedestrians!

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