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April 27, 2010 > Letter to the Editor: Officials overlooked important factors

Letter to the Editor: Officials overlooked important factors

Over the past few years there has been a lot of talk about the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) opening Vargas Plateau, one of Fremont's newest parks. A problem has been overlooked throughout the years and has now been uncovered.

Our tax dollars went to purchase 1300 acres of pristine wilderness land at the end of Morrison Canyon Road and Vargas Road. Both roads are one-lane, between 7 feet and 14 feet wide, with two-way traffic. Both roads are sub-standard and have not changed for over 130 years but the community below has. Traffic has increased beyond their limits.

These roads do not give safe access to the park. Morrison Canyon was built in 1876. One of its early uses was for horse and wagon to bring peas and potatoes grown on the Garcia Ranch 1.5 miles up Morrison Canyon to Mowry Landing and Garcia Bros. & Aiken Produce Distributors, a family company in San Francisco.

Those days are long past. Just like Morrison Canyon's current condition, other roads in Fremont were one lane roads: Blacow Road, Mowry Avenue, Stevenson Boulevard, Walnut Avenue and many other roads in the Fremont area. These roads were widened to today's current standards, as urbanization moved into the area. Physically this cannot happen to Morrison Canyon Road from Vargas to Mission Blvd and economically it is not feasible to widen these roads to current standards.

Both roads are important for the public safety of residents and park visitors if a wildfire should threaten the area. East Bay Regional Park has plans to open the park with a staging area at the top of Morrison Canyon. This area has been preserved historically and naturally in time. Yet EBRPD wants to tear it up and put in a parking lot, increasing traffic and disrupting natural wildlife. As a 35 year landowner and resident of Morrison Canyon, I encourage the taxpayers and citizens to get involved in helping plan a park that will be in harmony with nature.

With a paradigm shift of thinking by the Fremont City Council, City Staff and EBRPD Board and staff, there could be other creative and innovative ways to get into this region other than putting the general public's safety at risk by using Morrison Canyon and Vargas Roads. There are other ways to get to one of Fremont's jewels.

If these agencies do not want to listen to the taxpayers, citizens and voters, then at election time voters need to send a clear message. Ignoring the safety of the public and opening the park using Morrison Canyon and Vargas Roads is an improper use of tax dollars. No longer can we be silent. Our silence gives consent to what is going on. Please make your voice heard so the Vargas Plateau Park will open with safe access.

Bob Garcia
Niles (Fremont)

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