During the past few weeks, the Register has carried articles which I think are cause for excitement as well as puzzlement and concern. My excitement (a bit of overstatement) relates to the announcement that Napa will be installing a few roundabouts which will markedly improve the flow of traffic. Hopefully many more will follow soon after at other critically congested and dangerous intersections.
My puzzlement and concern relates to decisions to expend $325,000 for art at the Highway 29 roundabouts and $750,000 for the "Soscol Gap Project." The apparent rationale for the former to "make a forceful first impression on those heading into downtown..." would, I think, if it served its stated purpose, only act as a potentially dangerous distraction for drivers as they negotiated the roundabout.
Regarding the "Gap Project," my wife and I have ridden the bicycle path from Yountville to Kennedy Park on more than one occasion and I find the route to be enjoyable (except perhaps the need to avoiding broken bottles and other debris on the cross town section), well marked and easily traversed.
At the terminus of the cross-town section, several feet to the east the traveler reaches Soscol and has two choices. Take a hard right and ride/walk south on a wide, well-marked bike lane or sidewalk to cross the First then Third street intersections with the light and catch the river path to the South Market and Kennedy Park.
The other choice -- our favorite -- is to cross Soscol with the light and swing right to McKinstry and head straight for the Oxbow for a treat, where en route visitors could check out our flood gates. My point is, there is no "Gap" and the $750,000, of tax payers money could be more wisely and better spent to get a start on repairing the damaged and very hazardous sidewalks referenced numerous times over the past few years, most recently in a Register article on March 12.
It's my opinion that using the millions collected in Transient Occupancy Tax (from hotels) revenue to make infrastructure repairs for the citizens of Napa and Napa Valley rather than gussie-up "down town" is long overdue. Also, I suspect millions more could be salvaged for such repairs from close examination of the VINE since it is not hard to observe daily near-empty big-city-sized buses driving their routes.
Stephen J. Donoviel