The future widening of Waterman Road from two to four lanes was addressed during the Elk Grove Planning Commission’s Oct. 17 meeting.
This discussion emerged during an agenda item on a proposed project to subdivide a 16-acre, vacant parcel on the eastern side of Waterman Road into four lots for future light industrial use. No construction is currently proposed for this site that neighbors Charolais Way.
With commission Chair Mackenzie Wieser and Commissioner Frank Maita absent from that meeting, the commission approved the project by a vote of 3-0.
Robert Hancey, who lives near the project site, raised the topic of widening Waterman Road.
He expressed his concerns regarding further development along his street, Charolais Way.
“What I’m against is the fact that there’s going to be more trucks on the road that is already saturated by whatever set of statistical standards you want to use,” Hancey said. “The road is already at maximum absorption. It’s just going to get worse, and it’s only a matter of time before somebody on a bicycle gets run over by one of the big semis.
“You’ve already infilled and put in another – what? – 150, 200 homes there on Waterman (Road) before Grant Line (Road), and all we have is a skinny, scrawny two-lane road that at least in one section reminds me of that old song, once again from the 1970s, ‘Patches.’”
Hancey added that the widening of Waterman Road would also eliminate the remaining, large eucalyptus trees in his neighborhood.
Ross Peabody, a representative of Peabody Civil Engineering, the project applicant, responded to Hancey’s comments.
“With the development of these parcels, we’ll actually be improving Waterman Road, widening it to the city standards,” he said. “The city has already defined what they want that road to be in the future.
“Right now we’re just trying to subdivide the property. Hopefully, it leads to actually developing the property, and the roadway will be widened like the gentleman wants and the road will work for trucks and access, and be very safe.”
Upon the request of Commissioner George Murphey, Antonio Ablog, the city’s planning manager, provided further details on the widening of Waterman Road.
Ablog described plans for a four-lane arterial, with a 72-foot width “to accommodate traffic.”
“With this project, the future development will have to build out to that width,” he said. “Depending on the timing of that, they may be able to dedicate some of that or provide deferred agreement, so we don’t end up with a zipper street.”
Commissioner Kevin Spease asked Ablog to explain the term “zipper street” for people unaware of its meaning.
“A zipper street is when a street is designed for – like Waterman – a four-lane width, but you don’t get all those pieces all at once,” he said. “So, we don’t want sections of the street to be at four lanes, where other sections are still at two lanes. It ends up like a zipper, because the teeth on the zipper are not aligned and you have ins and outs that we don’t want to have occur.”