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Don’t Put Sidewalks in Montecito

Semi-Rural Lanes Plenty Safe for Walking


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I would like to respond to comments that were made at a recent meeting before the Montecito Planning Commission. I must say up front that I am adamantly against any sidewalks being put in Montecito and went to the meeting to see what could be done to stop the project of building a sidewalk along San Ysidro Road, between North Jameson Road and Montecito Union School. Those of us standing up against this project were accused of many things that were untrue-the worst of which was the accusation that we don’t care about the safety of children. This could not be further from the truth. For all the generations of parents who have raised their families in Montecito and managed to get their children to Montecito Union School and back home safely without sidewalks, I have to say that is a completely unfair accusation and I resent it.

I raised two children who went to Montecito Union School, and because I have been legally blind for 35 years and therefore unable to drive, I walked both my children to school every day, safely, without any incidents or accidents. Not only did I walk my children to school, but, because of my blindness, I have walked and continue to walk all over Montecito every day, whether it’s to exercise my dog or get to both the upper and lower villages.

I love this community and have raised my children to love and respect the very special and beautiful area where we are so very lucky and blessed to live. When I moved here, I would never have dreamed of wanting to change it and would hate to see this kind of change happen now! I lived in New England for many years when I was young, and often think, when walking through our community, how I could almost be walking in a small town in New Hampshire.

My husband, Greg Maher, grew up in Montecito in a large family of brothers and sisters and cousins. His mother, Frances Maher, moved here as a child from France during World War II and attended and graduated from Montecito Union School. They, along with the Manset family, were instrumental in starting the Knowlwood Tennis Club. They started it out of love for their families and to create a safe and healthy place for their children to hang out, and that is what Knowlwood Tennis Club is still all about today. We are proud of that history and proud of what that represents.

There is a history in this community-of love for our children, and love for the beauty of this place-that has been cherished and respected for generations by the families who have lived here. Let’s continue to keep this neighborhood safe and beautiful, as it is now, for all the future generations of families who will live in this incredible community.

Let’s stop this ridiculous and unnecessary project of putting urban sidewalks in rural Montecito, and especially along San Ysidro Road, which already is one of the safest pathways to walk in the area. Besides being an incredible waste of money during this tough economy (this money could be utilized in many other important ways or saved to pay toward California’s incredible debt-what a concept!), this project was brought about behind the backs of the residents living along San Ysidro Road and is being pushed through without even the compromise of looking at other alternatives that better suit our community.

Terri Maher is a blind resident of Montecito who walks all over town.

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