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RCPG Announces New Emergency Evacuation Route

The Ramona Community Planning Group praised various parties for their help in this crucial task.

Ramona has plans for a new emergency evacuation route along Rangeland Road.

Community Planning Chair Jim Piva expressed gratitude Thursday to county supervisors, including Dianne Jacob, the Ramona Municipal Water District and  SDG&E for their help in creating the route for Ramona residents.

"There is a really good relationship with the county, Supervisor Jacob and SDG&E that will give us more say in our community," Piva said at the monthly planning group meeting in the library. "It's a win-win all the way around."

Piva said that both the water district and Ramona's new sheriff's lieutenant, James Bovet, approved the plan.

According to Piva, the north part of Ramona will have a new route and SDG&E has donated lights and power to help illuminate the way. The lights are amber and shielded, sitting no higher than 18 feet off the ground, according to Bovet.

"It's about as minimal as we can get," Bovet said.

Three low-pressure, sodium lights will be installed—placed on poles along Rangeland Road and before the gate at Highland Hills.

Planning group member Kevin Wallace expressed  concern over the fact that the lights will always be on, not just in case of emergencies. He said he wished they could be more "green," but Piva said: "It is what it is."

Planning member Torry Brean publicly thanked Piva for all his hard work in obtaining a new emergency evacuation plan for Ramona, but said he still thought the route needed to be a full road.

The new emergency evacuation route comes at no cost to Ramona or the county; SDG&E has donated all materials and time needed for the plan.

"This is a goodwill gesture by SDG&E," Piva said. "They put their money where their mouth is."

The group voted in favor of writing SDG&E a letter, publicly thanking them for its generosity. The item was passed 12-1, with Wallace opposing. Planning member Chris Anderson and Chad Anderson were absent.

The new route will hopefully help with congestion during emergency evacuations due to fires. Piva said that during Ramona's last evacuation, it took cars five hours to get out of town.

Editor's note: This article previously stated that the water board will discuss the new route at its bimonthly meeting at 2 p.m. Oct. 9 in the community center. The evacuation route will, in fact, not be on the agenda at the Oct. 9 meeting and discussion for it has been postponed due to paperwork issues.

Hometownboy October 05, 2012 at 05:27 PM
This is a the worst idea the RCPG has ever had!!!!!!!!!!! They are selling out this community and Piva is trying to snow us with this death "route". It is a sham and a lie. Sending people down this unlight, unmarked, dirt path WILL GET PEOPLE KILLED!!!! Why are they pushing this through now? Why are there no tours of this death "route"? This dirt path has existed since before i was born and is in disrepair and dead ends or bottle necks at the hiway! Does no one remember when people were cooked in ther cars a few years ago doing this exact same thing? Can the Patch please drive down this path, take pictures and report back to Ramona so that people understand this is a joke and will not send thier young families to their deaths on this "route". This death "route" is stealing Ramona residents property rights. Whe did it become okay in this country to take private property away from the homeowners alonge the death "route" and not inform us or offer to pay the homeowners? Wallace and Brean seem to understand "this is not a road". Shame on Piva for trying to get relected this way. I hope this town remembers who did this when someone gets hurt or killed.
Melissa Phy October 05, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Thanks, Hometownboy. I'll get in touch with Piva and see if I can get a tour of the evacuation route. Thanks for the comment! Best, MP
Cindi October 05, 2012 at 05:59 PM
In the last fire, I knew the fire was coming by 12:00pm. I sent my father to Escondido about 4:00pm. I left by 7:00pm in the direction of Poway. Why were all these people who wanted to leave still in Ramona after 7:00pm. Not only were they not able to leave, they were holding up the progress of those who chose to stay to protect animals and property that had been abandoned, rightfully, by those who could not help fight the fire. We are talking a seven hour time span. I don't think the problem is evacuation routes. I think it is education and getting the needed information during the emergency. The calls should have already been going out to evacuate at 12:00pm. People weren't getting calls until long after that. People in Ramona should keep their tank at least half full at all times. Gas was a major issue. You cannot pump gas without electricity. Maybe the stations should be equiped with generators using some government funding plan. The water company should have needed backup supplies. I remember something about a fuse. I do not know the evacuation route that is being talked about; is there a map. How will people who are not educated know to use it if it is feasible? Property rights should be respected. Is there and ulterior motive here in this plan? We need answers.
Lezley Knott October 05, 2012 at 06:37 PM
You should attend the meetings if you are concerned with what they do. You have a voice, but only if you go to the meetings. You can't complain if you are not willing to be part of the solution.
Cindi October 05, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Perhaps someone can go to the meeting and present my side of things. I am a bit busy with my job, my family, my son in a wheelchair, my autistic greatgranddaughter, my food challanged granddaughter, my granddaughter that deals with depression, who comes from a family with hereditary suicides, my bi-polar daughter... Well, you get the picture. Thanks for carrying the load for those of us who have facts to present, but are unable to attend meetings. I am not complaining, just stating facts. by the way, what is your view on this, and do you stand to be harmed or helped by this decision?
Stop the Madness October 05, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Thank you Melissa for investigating this. Please bring a camera and take lots of pictures. On your tour please imagine there is a fire and 40,000 people are trying to evacuate. It is dark and as you drive through miles of dry grasslands at 1MPH you start to smell smoke. At the end of Rangeland the road ends? It becomes a private driveway, ignore the NOTRESPASSING SIGNS and PRIVATE PROPERTY SIGNS. Those are just the poor homeowners that do not understand that thousands of people are destroying their home in a panic. Please ignore the locked gates on the route. More homeowners that think they own thier property? The route becomes an impassible dirt path at one point. It is that way for miles. Imagine you are a young family with kids and pets in your car and now you see the fire coming. You are trapped in open fields with no light, no signs and this route ends at the 67 where the cars are stopped. You have no place to go and are surrounded by grass and abondened wood structures. It sounds crazy right? well that's the route that is being proposed. Thank you again for investigating this. Your words and pictures will save lives one day.
solar1 October 06, 2012 at 01:08 AM
If you have concerns about this so called Emergency Evacuation Route contact at dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov. This is not a emergency route. Its a detour.
Whisky Foxtrot October 09, 2012 at 05:14 AM
can someone please at least describe the full route? Where does it start and end? At least describe it so that we can visualize it on a satellite map, if seeing it in person is not practical/allowed. What part of Ramona is the new route supposed to serve? So many questions and accusations, but little real data!
solar1 October 09, 2012 at 01:05 PM
This is the route. North of Ramona Airport and through grassland preserve to connect to Rangeland Road, then south to Highland Valley Road, to Archie Moore Road and then 67.

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