Caltrans set to build median despite public pushback

■ Chronicle News Staff

Should Caltrans continue with the plan to install a median on Florida Avenue? This was once again the hot topic for debate at a Hemet City Council meeting on Sept. 11. One speaker at the meeting, Marie MacDonald, addressed the council to express the concerns from the public that many feel are not being taken into consideration as much as they should be. Caltrans and city officials have held several meetings over the past two years regarding the proposed median strip.
“Residents of Hemet have repeatedly expressed their concern, their opposition, to the proposed median by Caltrans to be constructed for the full length of Florida Avenue,” said MacDonald.
Caltrans’ plans to construct an 8-mile raised-curb median down Florida Avenue in an attempt to increase safety and reduce traffic collisions is, apparently, a done deal. Despite the intended action plan, there are many who oppose the median for numerous reasons such as negatively impacting businesses down Florida Avenue. Some are even arguing that it will actually negatively affect traffic down that road as well. There is also concern it will push noisy ambulance and fire vehicles onto residential streets, such as Devonshire, or even slow emergency services.
At the meeting, MacDonald went on to address the controversy by saying, “We have not seen any evidence behind Caltrans’ claims that the median will decrease traffic accidents along Florida Avenue. In fact, we believe that the proposed median will actually increase traffic accidents.”
Various individuals involved in opposing the construction of the median have requested additional information from city government and Caltrans officials for evidence that the median is, in fact, needed and will be beneficial. MacDonald made the public aware that almost every time such individuals have approached the situation they have been told “We’re working on it.”
The median was originally planned to be built in summer 2018, but as we approach the fall season, it is unclear when it will actually be constructed.

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