Scottie Hart: On Highway 174’s design | TheUnion.com

Scottie Hart: On Highway 174’s design

Michael Smiley's Jan. 25 "Highway 174 safety project, a design opportunity" offered a breath of fresh air in the struggle over "improving" Highway 174.

As a 33-year Chicago Park resident (moved "into town" last summer), I long enjoyed Highway 174 as a transition zone between home and work. Knowing it would inevitably be straightened, I long cherished its insistence on a slower pace.

I was there for the tussle some years back between residents and Caltrans over an earlier project, gratified when a compromise was reached. As I expected, Mother Nature soon disguised the inevitable scars.

In 2018, Caltrans again honors bureaucratic method; residents again zealously defend the status quo. Michael Smiley offers us an alternative paradigm that makes good sense.

"Scenic roadway standards," "existing conditions analysis," "character zones," "multi-modal improvements," and the like offer fairly objective standards of excellence that both Caltrans and residents might find useful.

The design concepts and process considerations that Michael Smiley outlined are sensible. Acknowledging that there are multiple needs and suggesting a flexible process is much more helpful and hopeful than the current bitter wrangling.

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Let's use this approach to create a stellar example of a safer, more beautiful highway.

Scottie Hart

Grass Valley