Residents Seek To Improve French Valley Library Access, Petition Filed

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A Change.org petition seeks support for a safe sidewalk to the French Valley Public Library off Winchester Road. A new bridge may help.

WINCHESTER, CA—A French Valley resident is leading the charge toward improving walkability near the French Valley Public Library. The pending Skyview Bridge, which is planned to traverse the French Valley Channel, may resolve the issue.

This week, Nelson Cooper launched a Change.org petition to support the construction of a sidewalk near the French Valley Public Library off Winchester Road. According to Cooper, the library’s access is far from safe. Thus far, nearly 175 people have signed the petition that calls for safe access to a county-run library.

Will Skyview Bridge alleviate family concerns about Winchester Road’s lack of sidewalk access to the county library? (Riverside County Transportation Department)

“Every day, children and individuals without vehicles in our community are forced to walk along Winchester Road, where cars travel at speeds of 55 miles per hour or more,” Cooper wrote on the petition. “This dangerous situation arises due to the lack of a safe sidewalk leading to the French Valley Public Library. “

Though the California Highway Patrol’s Temecula Division has reported no incidents in that section of roadway in the past several months, the four-lane road is often heavy with traffic.

Cooper says that the risk this poses for pedestrians “is alarming and unacceptable,” and in his petition, he cited statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, where pedestrian fatalities accounted for 17 percent of all traffic deaths in California. “This statistic underscores the urgent need for safer pedestrian infrastructure in our neighborhoods,” he said.

The Riverside County Transportation Department plans to begin construction of a pedestrian bridge in the fall of 2024.

According to Riverside County Transportation Department officer Umer Ahmed, pedestrians will be able to traverse the gap along Skyview Road at French Valley Creek.

The footbridge will extend Skyview Road, allowing better pedestrian traffic access from the neighborhood south of the county library, including the Susan LaVorgna Elementary School.

One parent responded to the plea for signatures, saying he used to drive his daughter to the library for tutoring “because of the bad road. “She would have walked no problem if there was a directly accessible route.

Another resident claimed not to support the Skyview pedestrian walkway. “The real wrinkle in this is that the creek is environmentally protected so the street bridge that should be there never will be. The walkway is silly. I don’t think there are folks on the other side of Skyview wondering how they can get to the library.”

Meanwhile, residents who filed the petition feel that the construction of a sidewalk along Winchester Road would provide a safer route not only for library-goers but also for those who use this road daily.

“We urge local authorities in Winchester to prioritize pedestrian safety by constructing a safe sidewalk along Winchester Road leading up to the French Valley Public Library,” he said. “By doing so, we can protect our children and fellow citizens from unnecessary risks while promoting accessibility and encouraging walking as an eco-friendly mode of transportation.”

Cooper asks that you sign the petition “if you believe everyone deserves safe access to public amenities like our library.”

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