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Residents talk trucks, congestion regarding bypass

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Less truck traffic and congestion in downtown Lincoln are what some residents look forward to about the Highway 65 Bypass opening this fall. The News Messenger spoke with several residents from Sun City Lincoln Hills, Lincoln Crossing and downtown Lincoln to find out their thoughts on the bypass. The bypass is slated to open in the late summer or early fall, according to previous News Messenger reports, and will take traffic around Lincoln. The bypass starts at the south end of the city and ends in Sheridan. Most residents brought up semi-trucks when talking about the bypass. “It’s going to help downtown get rid of the big trucks,” said Lincoln Hills resident Bob Chaney. “We’ll be able to go into Lincoln easier. Now we go to Roseville because we have a direct line and don’t have to fight the trucks.” Steven Pizzo, another Lincoln Hills resident, said big rigs would “have the freedom of the freeways.” “I think it’s better for all trucks because they won’t have to stop and go,” Pizzo said. Jenny Blanco, a Lincoln Crossing resident, said the lack of trucks in downtown Lincoln will mean more time spent in downtown Lincoln for her family. “We’ll have lunch and enjoy the day in downtown Lincoln, and not have to watch out for Mac trucks,” Blanco said. “I take the kids there now but it’s quick, park, get in and go.” A reduction in traffic congestion was another benefit of the bypass mentioned by residents. “I think it’s great. It’s long overdue because of the congestion it created for downtown Lincoln,” said Barry Cunningham, a Lincoln Hills resident. “I go downtown periodically, and when I do, it takes me a long time to get there and back.” Ann Stults said she takes an alternate route from Lincoln Hills to get to downtown Lincoln. “I like to go to downtown Lincoln but I don’t like having to fight the traffic,” Stults said. “We have a neighborhood watch group that goes to lunch and we always try to go down there.” Stults patronizes downtown businesses to “help our tax situation and support” the businesses. Jennifer Arnold, a Lincoln Crossing resident, said she is “all gung-ho for the bypass.” “We’re a military family and my husband will use it for his commute,” Arnold said. “Right now, his longest part of the commute (to Beale Air Force Base) is the eight lights of downtown Lincoln.” Arnold would “like for it to be open already.” Alysa Wagner, also a Lincoln Crossing resident, would like the bypass “to be done” and has concerns about the possible creation of congestion in other Lincoln areas. “I’m bittersweet. I hope it doesn’t create more traffic on Ferrari Ranch Road,” Wagner said. “I don’t want it to impact my walking path to the park and I don’t want Ferrari Ranch Road to be like Roseville Parkway.” Wagner likes to walk to Peter Singer Park from her home and has concerns about walking past the on-and-off-ramp at Ferrari Ranch Road. “I will take the off ramp to come home from work and won’t have to loop around Lincoln using Sterling Parkway so I’m excited about that,” Wagner said. “Traffic used to be bad coming into Lincoln at 65 and Sunset but then they put in the light. This will be the icing on the cake.” Shirley Russell, a longtime Lincoln resident and Lincoln Area Archives Museum volunteer executive director, said “there won’t be the noise level” due to traffic in downtown Lincoln, which could encourage diners to enjoy meals outside at local restaurants. “It will lessen traffic for those of us who live here and make it a more pleasant trip,” Russell said. “It could draw more residents who don’t come down here.” “Many people who are traveling through Lincoln,” according to Russell, are not doing so with “Lincoln as a destination.” Diana Burke, another long-time Lincoln resident and downtown restaurant owner (Simple Pleasures) had a similar comment. “Most of the people who travel on Highway 65 are not even intending to stop in Lincoln,” Burke said. “People who want to come into Lincoln get discouraged by the amount of traffic.” The bypass “will be a very positive thing,” according to Burke. “I know people are concerned that people will bypass Lincoln but I don’t think that will happen,” Burke said. “The ones who wanted to bypass it for years will bypass it.” Burke also said the city owning the portion of Highway 65 that runs through Lincoln, which will be called Lincoln Boulevard, could provide more opportunities to draw downtown visitors. “We used to have banners across the street when I was a kid about the Portuguese Festa and Fourth of July (activities),” Burke said. “When they put in traffic lights and Caltrans took over, we lost the ability to do that.” She said having banners to advertise events in downtown “gets more people down here.” Lincoln Crossing’s Wagner said “there is always an issue with parking” when she visits downtown, something she hopes the bypass will help. “Going to downtown Lincoln more, that’s my next goal,” Wagner said. “We would like to take advantage of downtown on a more regular basis. I’m excited about Beermann’s (opening).”