Apr 18, 2016 7:29 PM by Debbie Cobb
The roundabouts will not being going in on the Esplanade in Chico without a fight. Thousands of Chico residents are fighting against the plan, after the Chico City Council votes last Thursday 4 to 3 in favor of the project. The council says the 2 roundabouts are not the best, but the only choice to protect residents from harm and the city from a lawsuit.
City Councilman Andrew Coolidge voted against the roundabouts. He says, "In terms of the mail and phone calls and emails that we recieve, 90% of it has been against adding roundabouts just because they ruin the historcial nature of the esplanade." Hundreds of community members are banding to fight the decision before it's too late. They have less than a month to collect at least 45 hundred signatures. It could go to a special vote within the next few months.
Third generation Chico resident Theresa McCoy is outraged, "We're a force to reckon with. We want them to pay attention and think wow, we've got something to think about here." McCoy is part of 'Save the Esplanade', a group of Chico residents working to stop the roundabout project. She says she feels like city government acted against the will of the people. McCoy says, "I think that every body's pretty shocked that they didn't do what they said they were going to do in terms of listening and taking a slower approach"
Councilman Coolidge, agrees there is a problem, but the roundabouts were not the solution, "I think our community as a whole supports are realizes the Esplanade needs that kind of update. But when it comes to the roundabouts I think that's just taking it too far, and doesn't address the iconical and historic nature of this boulevard."
Councilman Randall Stone says the city has known for years that the esplanade is not up to federal or state saftey code and it's a lawsuit waiting to happen, "The fact of the matter is we have the best traffic engineers in the state working on the problem. This is the solution that we've come up with. We couldn't continue to do nothing."
Residents involved with 'Save The Esplanade" say they'll have more of a presence over the next few weeks. They enourage anyone against the roundabout project to sign their petition. While Councilman Stone's vote reflects what he feels is in the best interest of the city, he says he respect the referdum process and is happy to let the people have a voice in their city's future.
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