Readers comments 3-11-16
The Great Wall of Claremont
After seeing the city’s rendering of the proposed Gold Line overpass at Indian Hill Boulevard, I’ll say what Samuel Goldwyn reportedly said: “include me out.” The “Great Wall of Claremont” would only further segregate the Village from the rest of the city, sending exactly the wrong message to residents and visitors alike.
I have looked forward to more light rail options in Claremont and I’m sympathetic to the traffic issue the overpass addresses, but I don’t think the cost-benefit analysis adds up in this case.
Putting the tracks below grade (making Indian Hill an overpass) would be ideal, as we did with the 210 freeway in northern Claremont. If that’s not possible, leaving the crossing at grade is still preferable to building a massive wall that will forever damage the character of the Village and the city.
The argument for building the walled overpass rests on projections of train ridership, the frequency of trains through Claremont and the resulting delays for motorists on Indian Hill.
Taking current projections at face value, Indian Hill would indeed become a less attractive thoroughfare for motorists. But drivers will adapt, as they already have, recognizing that Towne Avenue, Claremont Boulevard and Monte Vista Avenue all are far better equipped to handle large volumes of north-south traffic.
Consider also that that technology will likely alter the transportation landscape in ways we can barely imagine today. In just the past two to three years, Uber and Lyft have made the taxicab all but obsolete. Smartphone apps like Waze already optimize driving routes. By the time the Gold Line reaches Claremont in 2023, “Autonomous Electric Uber” could be the most popular, economical and environmentally-friendly mode of transport, public or private.
We must not sacrifice the human dimensions of our Village and our city for the sake of future Indian Hill cars waiting on future Gold Line trains, neither of which might materialize as currently projected.
Donald P. Gould
Thanks to Mike Boos for his tribute to the crossing guard lady in the March 4 COURIER. She truly is a wonderful woman who takes her job so seriously and watches over our children so carefully.
Her name is Sharla Wickman, and I am proud of her both as the minister of her church—Pilgrim Congregational in Pomona—and as a member of the Claremont Unifed School District Board of Education.
She deserves all the good things that were said about her.
She is a remarkable woman, because when she isn’t guiding children across that busy intersection she is still taking care of people. In fact, for over a year she created, organized and managed one of Pilgrim’s outreach programs. Laundry Love provided free laundry service for anyone who needed it. Once a month people lined up to wash their clothes, have a snack and get a huge smile from…Sharla Wickman, the crossing guard lady.
And as a board member, it heartens me every time I drive down Base Line and see her so utterly focused on kids and cars. To know that our students are watched over so carefully makes me proud that we can count her as a part of our school community.
Though she won’t look up to smile and wave when I drive by, because she never takes her eyes off those little ones, that is probably a good thing. Because she wanted me to know that when she looks at you face-to-face it is because you’re doing something or driving in a way that could endanger those little ones!
Thank you, Mr. Boos. And thank you, Ms. Wickman, the crossing guard lady!