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On a recent evening driving to the valley, I was struck by the amazing display of sunlight playing off the leaves and foliage along Sunny Drive on the channel side of Egan. I first marveled at how nice it is to live in such surroundings. Then reality hit. I remembered that, come Monday, it will be gone after DOT has its way with this innocuous strip of trees. If past practice holds, in its place will be a denuded swath along the roadside fronting these Sunny Point homes.
We keep hearing the "DOT-speak" spiel about their right of way, drainage issues and the textbook "required highway maintenance" speech, but there is no real drainage problem here, and our trees pose no hazards. What these trees do provide is a buffer between the homes and the sights and sounds of the highway. The residents have offered to clean out the ditches and trim the trees themselves, but DOT will not have it. They insist on coming in with their chain saws, heavy equipment and the tree shredder to "fix" our street.
I implore DOT to remember that Sunny Point is a residential neighborhood, not a highway. We count on this vegetation for protection from an unobstructed view of traffic and the noise that only continues to increase. Questions: Why is it that DOT stated it would not provide this area with a sight/sound barrier as part of the upcoming intersection reconfiguration and then simultaneously decided to remove the natural barrier that has been nurtured by the residents here for nearly three decades? Why does it feel like all of a sudden the Sunny Point neighborhood is on DOT's "radar?" Did we complain too much, or too loudly? If DOT is negotiating "giving" Sunny Drive to the city after the highway reconstruction, what's the big rush for DOT to make this a high priority now?
As you pass Sunny Point this week, take a good look at this little neighborhood street. Soon it will be sporting a whole a new look. We just pray that the great and powerful Oz will spare as much of this natural barrier as possible. Feel free to honk as you pass. Let them know that the community is watching them do their handiwork. What's a little more noise. I guess we're expected to sit down, stop whining and just deal with it.
Terri B. Allen