Patterson South County Corridor meeting

Members of the local community gathered last Wednesday January 28 at the Hammon Senior Center to discuss the routes and feasibility of the proposed South County Corridor.

The first wave of feasibility workshops for the Stanislaus County Council of Governments (StanCOG) proposed South County Corridor (SCC) wrapped up at the Hammon Senior Center here in Patterson last Wednesday.

With meetings held in Newman and Turlock as well, the purpose of this round of workshops was to gather community feedback on potential routes for the SCC, a four-lane expressway intended to connect Interstate 5 with Highway 99 while bypassing the cities of Patterson and Newman in southern Stanislaus County.

The city of Turlock is still favored as the destination for the eastern terminus, which is likely to be located along either West Main Street or Fulkerth Road.

Maps put together by engineering firm T.Y. Lin International show two alignments for the western terminus: One route connects to the I-5 along Patterson’s northern border; a southerly alternative links to the I-5 at the Fink Road interchange near Crows Landing.

Over 60 people crammed into the Hammon Senior Center Jan. 28, compared to around 20 in the previous workshops, to view the routes, speak with consultants on the project and propose their own alternatives.

"We’re in a phase where, we call it a ‘yes meeting,’ " task manager for public outreach Kendall Flint said. "Every idea’s good. Every idea’s valid. We don’t want to discourage anybody from commenting."

Patterson’s meeting follows the launch of a virtual SCC workshop at valleyvisionstanislaus.com. Visitors to the website can access all of the information presented in the first round of workshops, and provide their own feedback via an online map. The map features the alignments on display at these meetings, and users can draw in their own routes and comment on others’ proposals.

"We’ve had over 300 separate site sessions just today," Flint said during last Wednesday’s meeting. "Comments are still coming in."

The virtual workshop closes Feb. 28, and comments left through the website will be taken into account alongside the feedback garnered at the physical workshops. The second wave of presentations will begin in April, summarizing and reporting back to the community these responses to the SCC alignments.

Attendees of the Hammon Senior Center meeting brought to the attention of project members alternatives that the team had yet to hear in Newman or Turlock.

"The thought was to somehow utilize Keyes Road as one of the primary routes for the South County Corridor alignment for a variety of different reasons," project manager Keith Rhodes of T.Y. Lin International said, speaking to feedback he received.

Keyes Road, being largely rural, does not have a lot of existing development.

"So to get a four-lane facility to run there fairly quickly, very easily, will be a very good idea," Rhodes continued, summarizing the aforementioned feedback. "And there’s already an existing interchange there at Highway 99."

Rhodes also spoke of a comment he received that would utilize Easton Road near Newman. The proposed route would connect to Crows Landing Road from Easton Road, and then work its way east through Crows Landing Road to Highway 99.

"That was another concept that we never considered before," Rhodes said.

Area residents also brought up a number of concerns about the proposed SCC alignment. One attendee felt an alignment along Eucalyptus Avenue would devalue existing homes. This mirrored concerns about air quality, noise and overall quality of life for residents living adjacent to the alignment.

Over 100 people attended the first round of workshops, and project planners will return in April to present a second round based on the feedback received at the Newman, Turlock and Patterson meetings, as well as their virtual workshop.

Those meetings’ locations and dates will be posted to valleyvisionstanislaus.com when confirmed.

Nathan Duckworth can be reached at 209-892-6187 ext. 24 or nathan@pattersonirrigator.com.

PI copy editor and education, arts reporter.

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