Elk Grove City Council Gets Earful on Proposed Interchange

December 13, 2013 | Even though the prospect of building a new interchange on Highway 99 and an extended Whitelock Parkway is years a...

December 13, 2013 |

Even though the prospect of building a new interchange on Highway 99 and an extended Whitelock Parkway is years away, at Wednesday night's Elk Grove City Council meeting, council members got an idea of the resistance they might face when the project actually is put forth.

At issue was an item on the agenda's consent calender that is the initial agreement towards the eventual construction, funding and design contract between the city and Caltrans. Contained in the accompanying report is a map (see above) suggesting that the northwest corner of the Elk Grove Regional Park be expended to accommodate the interchange.

It was the affect the interchange might have on the park that drew the ire of several individuals.

Although the item was on the consent calendar, it was pulled for further discussion at the request of Council Member Pat Hume. With one exception, all the views expressed during public comment regarding the proposed project voiced concern of how the interchange might affect the park and were not in favor of the configuration displayed in the report.

See the public comments below.

After hearing the comments, Hume said he had the item pulled so that the council and the public could be explained the purpose of the agreement. Explaining the agreement was the city's director of public works, Richard Shepard, who said it was the first step in the entire planning process for the interchange. 

Shepard also said that there are several options that the city and Caltrans could explore to mitigate the effects on the park including re-configuring Highway 99 to the west, but regardless of the ultimate configuration, this is just the first step in the process. 

"It is our intention to have virtually no impact on the park," he noted.

Shepard also said that in best case scenario the interchange could be completed in seven years but noted that there is no money currently available in the city's budget to fund the project. He also noted that the project could be funded by further development which could generate the fees needed to build the interchange.  

During their deliberation, council members emphasized that the interchange was part of the city's general plan developed in 2003 and should come as not surprise to anyone. They also said they were not trying to pull a fast one on the public.

"To say this was not on the radar is a little disingenuous," Hume said.

Council Member Steve Detrick said that he was disheartened to hear that people thought the council was trying to somehow fool the public or pull the wool over their eyes. 

"You guys are entitled to your beliefs," Detrick said. "I know what the truth is and I don't believe we are."

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Popeye said...

They ain't seen nuthin' yet. This was just a shot across their bow. Mess with our Park and watch the U.S.S. Referendum set sail.

Ebenezer said...

Detrick knows the truth? Really now? The way he disrepectfully spoke to the citizens only goes to prove that Detrick is clueless as to the truth! Such ignornace!

But we have to pity the man, Detrick isn't the sharpest bulb on the council member tree, and for his comments, he deserves a couple lumps coal in his stocking. . . probably paid for by Gil Moore!

Mad Hatter said...

Mr. Detrick ought to remember that the people he loathes on his way up are the same ones he will see on his way down.

SteveB6509 said...

I am curious to see what the plan would be. Those of you on the east side of town have easy access to the park. From the west side, it is very difficult to get there so I welcome some easier access. If a small part of the park is removed (it does look fairly small but that is why we do the study, right?) combined with additional buffering from trees, it would be a welcome addition.

Jill said...

If you look at an aerial map of the area, it is hard to see how an interchange can be build without tearing into the park. Mr. Shepherd said 99 could be reconfigured, but as I recall it seems houses are already going up on the north side of Whitelock near 99. Would these houses be taken out? How financially realistic is it to reconfigure 99 so as not to impact the park?

There will be no easy escape route for whoever is on the council when this eventually comes around.

Anonymous said...

I respect Pat for taking it off the agenda if only to have Richard Shepard give us a song and dance. Pat then delivered an eloquent speech about growth, traffic, etc. Then Mr. Detrick gets up there and just degrades the citizens. Didn't your mom teach you that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything? His comments added nothing to the conversation; however his ego will not allow him to just let it go. He just needs to remind us all that "he knows more than us". Why won't he just take the high road?? His continued bully-ness is getting tiresome.

Anonymous said...

In the words of Mr. Monasky, "this is doggy poo".

Anonymous said...

I will first speak to what brought this to the peoples attention in the first place and that was it being placed on the Consent calendar. You can thank Mr Hume for taking it off, but that most likely would not have happened had the people not publicly spoken against it so strongly.

What I have more of a problem with is the throwing of the GENERAL PLAN of 10 years ago in our faces. This city is not what it was 10 years ago and this so called General Plan has been revised more times than I can count. I too had to chuckle at Mr. Shepards comment about the circle maybe being larger than it should be....what else in the report is perhaps not as it really is? There's plenty of blame to go around...4 electeds and 1 in training on that dias plus a city manager & more that it appears need to be reminded of the meaning of "transparency." Time to clean their act up.......

Murrow said...

To Anon 8:06;

Absolutely true! Pat Hume even stated that he pulled the item because the "chatter on the Blogs." EGN was the only online news soure to cover this agenda item that I could find.

And if memory serves me correctly, this wasn't the first time that EGN has stepped up and was instrumental in getting an item pulled.

Glad one local news source is paying attention and has the courage to do some investigative journalism!

Anonymous said...

this is called progress, not everyone is ever happy with it, but if it will make commutes and traffic ease for the future...its welcomed....

Sarah Johnson said...

Hate to disagree, but are you saying that you welcome ruining Elk Grove Regional Park as long as it eases traffic?????? That is exactly the wrong reason to do it and is a pathetic attitude to have. That park is a very important part of our history and I, for one, am opposed to destroying it, along with our history , to worship at the altar of
auto-centric society. The very earliest photos of Elk Grove are of community picnics in that park.

Anonymous said...

Our leaders and a candidate keep saying we are better off than under County rule. Give me one example!

Elk Grove News said...

While receiving a compliment from "Murrow" is an unexpected pleasure, the truth of the matter is many of EGN's story ideas come from our eagle-eyed readers. We frequently act as a conduit to disseminate information their curiosity have unearthed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all that voiced their concerns against the interchange. This City Council apparently cares nothing about the history of this park or the quality of life for the current and future Elk Grove citizens. Apparently, in their path of destruction we will be left with an unfinished mall, more houses on tiny lots near Whitelock, a regional Raging Waters next to those houses with tiny lots, MAYBE, and a Civic Center that was designed to look like a sea creature, MAYBE, instead of a downtown (business area). I find it sad that they are hanging their hats on an old general plan document from 2003 as a reason to continue to make bad decisions that negatively impact what citizens value in this city. Shame on them for moving this project forward and wasting more tax payer money. The right thing for them to do would have been to remove it from the consent calendar and create public meetings around this topic before spending a dime on making plans with Cal trans. Maybe a grassroots organization needs to be formed to prevent this city dictatorship from destroying Elk Grove Park.

Anonymous said...

I agree, best news source in town, because to listen to your readers. Here's an idea for an article. The growing attitude from this council, to leave out the public through the use of the consent agenda and from not requiring certain reports such as the quarterly Randy Starbuck updates, even if there isn't much to report. One other element would be the general regard in which they address the public. We have members of the community that regularly attend meetings who are disregarded and who's comments are greeted more and more with insulting behavior or comments. Since we don't know these guys anymore maybe a councilman/mayor report card. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Why is the city/taxpayers bearing the cost of this interchange? Seems to me the Developers should be the ones paying for this. You build and create major traffic concerns, then it's your responsibility to fix them.

But then again, most likely be like the parks in Madeira. The city gave the developers a pass and now, a few years later the parks are being built...just not as homeowners bought into when they purchased their homes.

Anonymous said...

whoops.... "are"

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