There’s no word yet on the fate of the proposed Central Avenue median project.
The controversial proposal, which was unanimously opposed in February by the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC), appears to be in limbo.
In February, Deputy Director of Public Works Chris Whitworth told the McKMAC that the county would hold a public hearing on the proposal sometime in April before deciding whether to proceed with the median or drop the project all together.
When contacted Thursday, April 4, Whitworth said that no public meeting is planned at this point. The fate of the project, he said, may be decided in the next three or four months. Whitworth was tight lipped and did not elaborate on the project any further.
County Public Works revealed in December that it had obtained a $800,000 grant to build a raised median strip down Central Avenue between Hiller Road and School Road. The median would include several left-hand turn pockets and there was the option of including landscaping if someone was willing to pay for the maintenance.
The purpose of the median was to reduce accidents on Central Avenue, which is the busiest roadway in the county system and has the most vehicle accidents.
However, when the project came before the McKMAC in February, there was unanimous opposition to the median from both the committee members and residents who showed up and testified. Merchants were concerned that shoppers would not have easy access to their businesses. There were also concerns raised about how delivery trucks would supply their businesses, and whether the median would hinder the Arcata Fire Department from responding to calls.
One of the issues with the median was how drivers would access businesses on the other side of the median. One option is to make a U-turn at an intersection, but several people pointed out that the roadway isn’t wide enough for large pickups and SUVs to make the turn.
Whitworth told the McKMAC that this particular grant could only be used for this median project. The money cannot be spent elsewhere.