It’s time to support safe routes to schools in Oceano

May 18, 2022

OPINION by CHARLES VARNI

If you live in the Fourth District, please call or email San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Compton with the message that you want her to support the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) Oceano infrastructure grant proposal which will provide a network of complete streets, safe routes to schools, and flood control. This is very time sensitive.

I just learned that the county has informed SLOCOG it will not support the $14 million grant proposal that our team (SLOCOG, Lucia Mar Unified School District, Safe Routes Partnership, and Oceano Advisory Council) have been working on for almost a year and is due for submission on June 15.

This grant seeks funding to begin build out of the 2002 Oceano Drainage and Flood Control Plan developed by the county which clearly recommends the seeking of grant funding as one way to build the project. This is what we have done.

County officials, including public works, planning, and public health have been informed and invited to participate in this project since day one. I have correspondence with John Waddell in June 2021 where he identifies himself as the point of contact for the project and work group. Mr. Waddell informed me in a phone conversation in July of 2021 that if our group brought to the county a fully funded project with engineer certified cost estimates that the county would sign off.

Our grant application is a very strong one. We check off every box. We meet, in spades, all of the criteria. We have had very positive feedback and excitement for our proposal from state transportation staff and Caltrans has provided staff to do the cost estimating.

The community of Oceano is fully supportive of the project with overwhelming desire for safe streets to schools being expressed by Oceano Elementary school parents. There will be extreme disappointment if the county refuses to support submission of the grant and the community belief that Oceano doesn’t really matter to the county will be reinforced.

This is truly an issue of fairness and justice for the residents of Oceano.

Why would the county refuse to support all the work that has been done to develop this grant which will truly have transformative impacts for the Oceano community? We are bringing the money to the table. We are not asking for the county to pay. Why would you say no to Oceano when, with the help of other agencies, we have done the work to get the money to make our community safer and more livable?

I am hoping it is not too late to correct the mistake that is happening. I think the three of you (supervisors Lynn Compton, Bruce Gibson and Dawn Ortiz-Legg) have the power to redirect County staff to support the submission of the SLOCOG grant proposal to the State’s Active Transportation Program on behalf of implementing the county’s 20 year old plan to improve Oceanos infrastructure.

Charles Varni is the vice chair of the Oceano Advisory Council and a member of the Oceano Beach Community Association.

Send a response or your own opinion to velieslo@gmail.com.


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CoastalLocal

Look both ways, yes. How about doing something for the disabled in our community so they can safely use their walker or scooter. It’s safe passages for all.


Zoiebowie

Look both ways. Go when it’s clear. I was taught this as a child and I survived walking to school. My parents didn’t ask the city to redesign the streets for me. Unbelievable that some people can’t navigate life without blaming others.


localman

So true pal. Only the strong survive. Eye of the tiger. Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Those thousands of kids who didn’t outrun the cars weren’t cut out for it. Can’t believe these kids and parents that don’t want to get hit by a speeding car would blame anyone other than themselves. No changes, ever. That’s my motto.


kayaknut

grant = taxpayer money….. is it possible to do it for less than 14 million taxpayer dollars?


unusualsuspect

Teach.Your.Kids. Quit relying on the government to hold your hand and “protect” you.


localman

Exactly! Quit relying on the government to maintain the government funded streets! Those streets are for me and my big boy truck. Honk, honk! Vroom, vroom!


Kalifornia_Bud

Why would they oppose this?


JThomas

Because its a total waste of money.