approves new North Gate traffic flow, keeps turn onto Lago
Monday, April 25, 2005
earlier recommendations to the contrary, the Rancho Murieta
Association board voted Tuesday night to keep the left turn
from Murieta Parkway onto Lago Drive in the design for the
new North Gate.
board approved the relocation of the gate on the recommendation
of the Ad Hoc New North Gate/School Access Committee, chaired
by Director Mike Martel.
decision allows construction of the new gate to proceed
under provisions of the Mutual Benefit Agreement, signed
by the RMA and the Pension Trust Fund of the Operating Engineers.
The PTF will provide $1.4 million in funding for a new guard
building, lane configuration and landscaping at the North
the years, both the Community Services District and the
RMA have made replacement of the gate a priority because
of traffic issues and security concerns.
design approved by the RMA board on Tuesday is the third
of four options that were developed three years ago. It
has two lanes for residents proceeding up the Parkway, a
visitors' lane, and a dedicated left-turn lane to
Lago Drive for residents only. The guard building will be
moved up the center of the Parkway to the beginning of the
intersection with Lago to increase queuing space at the
gate and avoid backups on Highway 16. The turn on Lago would
occur before reaching the guard station.
for retaining the left on Lago, the design is the same as
one recommended about two years ago by the original RMA/CSD
Ad Hoc Gate Committee, the Joint Security Committee and
the CSD board. In that design, the left on Lago was eliminated
for safety reasons and to decrease traffic on Lago and Pera,
two streets that now receive an estimated 30 percent of
gate traffic. The final decision belongs to the RMA as the
owner of the gate.
four options were developed from a CSD-funded traffic study
of the North Gate and an all-encompassing 2001 RMA/CSD-financed
community traffic study that considered traffic flow at
build-out on the North with or without a third gate at Escuela
Drive. Traffic issues on the South at build-out were also
evaluated in the study.
time the four options were developed, numerous public meetings
were held to solicit public input. Presentations were made
at televised RMA meetings, including the 2002 annual meeting.
A petition to keep the entrance to Lago behind the gate
and another petition to close off Lago entirely were presented
to the RMA board for consideration as part of the public
the RMA board declined to vote on the gate alternatives
in July 2003 and decided to disband the ad hoc committee,
board members said additional information was needed as
well as more public input before a decision could be made.
ad hoc committee formed in January made its decision with
no additional public input or information. Talk about closing
off the turn to Lago on a trial basis to measure the effect
on other streets never turned into action.
CSD was specifically excluded from the new committee when
the RMA board voted to form it. Security Chief Greg Remson
was subsequently included as a non-voting member. He was
not present at the meeting where Option Three was chosen
because he wasn't notified of the meeting, he reported
to the CSD board last week. The CSD board did not comment
on the RMA's choice of options.
the committee's beginning, it seemed likely that the
turn on Lago would be retained. RMA President Paul Gumbinger,
a member of the committee, suggested that was the likely
outcome when he attended the CSD's goal-planning session
Feb. 9 meeting of the ad hoc committee, Betty Warner, a
committee member who went on record in 2002 and 2003 as
wanting to keep the turn on Lago, described that choice
as "a no-brainer." Gumbinger remarked, "No one wants to
said he wanted to see an exit lane added at the North Gate
because there are now early-morning backups leaving the
community. Remson pointed out that having additional traffic
making the left on Lago as the community grows would contribute
to congestion and create traffic jams.
the problem, the committee said the turn lane could be coned
off during peak times. (In 2003, Martel, before joining
the RMA board, suggested that closing
of Lago be tested for 30 days before any decision was
made. The RMA did not act on the suggestion.)
member Adam Persily said in a recent interview that the
cross-traffic issue was not viewed as "a credible
problem" by the committee members. "It created
too much of an inconvenience for all those who do make that
left turn," he said, explaining the committee's
RMA meeting, Martel said CSD General Manager Ed Crouse had
spoken with him about the CSD's concerns regarding
the cross-traffic issue and the increased traffic burden
development would bring to Pera and a portion of Lago.
said Crouse's comments showed "he didn't
care about the existing residents here. He cared about the
new residents building homes here. … I think his behavior
board voted 6-1 on the North Gate configuration. Director
Elliot Sevier, in casting the dissenting vote, said he believed
closing Lago to left turns from the Parkway made for a better
and safer traffic flow and was in keeping with assessments
made by traffic engineers.
makes requests of board
of the Rancho Murieta Development Concerned Citizens Committee
asked the board to consider getting two legal opinions.
member Ted Hart asked the board for a legal opinion regarding
asking the county to get a legal opinion from county counsel
about whether the county could require future development
to annex to the RMA.
member Terris Hanson supported Hart's request and
asked the board to get an additional opinion from RMA counsel
about the validity of the Mutual Benefit Agreement between
the RMA and the Pension Trust Fund of the Operating Engineers.
Under the terms of the MBA, the RMA has been deeded park
sites at Calero, Clementia, Stonehouse and the upper Parkway,
and complied with plans to build a new North Gate at developer
RMDCCC requests demonstrated a departure from a position
the group adopted about two years ago during a dispute with
previous RMA boards over the approval and signing of the
MBA. At that time, the RMDCCC said it would bypass the RMA
board and deal directly with the county on development issues.
Schwartz, a Murieta North resident since last fall who has
spoken at the recent county-facilitated meetings between
the RMDCCC and the North developers, said he wanted to see
the MBA and an earlier, related document, the Letter Agreement,
rescinded. He threatened the three members of the current
board who voted to sign the MBA with recall action if they
failed to support this stance.
Paul Gumbinger said Hart's and Hanson's requests
could be placed on the agenda for discussion at the May
Security Committee restructuring approved
a "frank and open discussion" with CSD President John Merchant,
Director Wayne Kuntz and CSD General Manager Ed Crouse,
President Paul Gumbinger and Directors Elliot Sevier and
Jack Cooper recommended a proposal to restructure the Joint
Security Committee. Membership would be limited to three
RMA directors -- Sevier, Cooper and Dick Cox -- and two
CSD directors, as yet unnamed.
proposal that emerged from the meeting called for having
the option to close meetings of the restructured committee
to the public.
Pamela Haines termed closing the meetings "inappropriate"
and Director Dick Cox said he would attend one meeting but
would not be a member of the committee if the meetings were
said the consensus at the meeting with the CSD representatives
was the Joint Security meetings needed to be closed to generate
frank discussions between the two entities about security
issues and goals. Sevier supported having closed meetings
and pointed out that any policy recommendations would go
to the respective boards where they would be discussed publicly.
Neither organization would have a quorum of directors on
board voted 5-2 to accept the proposal as written. Cox and
Haines cast dissenting votes because of the closed-meeting
CSD board meeting Wednesday night, the board approved the
restructuring but eliminated the provision for closed meetings
on a 3-2 vote. CSD Directors Mary Brennan and Dick Taylor,
who cast the dissenting votes, favored keeping the present
structure, which has offered an opportunity for public participation
as well as the participation of other governing entities
-- Murieta Village, the Villas and the Country Club.
last Joint Security Committee under the present set-up is
scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, at 8:15 a.m. at the RMA Building.
The restructured committee is expected to meet in June.