Another traffic study for American Canyon
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Bill Hocker | Mar 29, 2018

AmCan Eagle 3/28/18: American Canyon provides $250,000 for south county traffic study

Another study - when it's already incredibly apparent that the only relief for American Canyon's traffic problems at this point is a freeway around, or through the middle of, the town.

Much like the up-valley people critical of the profusion of event-center wineries pushing the levels of tourism into the county (a charge vehemently denied by the wine industry - "we're just catering to the tourists that are already here") at least two of the 5 city council members want impact fees on wineries to cover the costs of road improvements. Despite denials from the wine industry and their minions in the county government, these city council members see a link - as I do.

But it's a bit ingenuous to try to re-focus the blame, even if somewhat justified. The Am Can city council, encouraged by the development entities that control it, has approved enormous amounts of industrial development and housing development and they are probably going to approve more. They have never done anything within their power to slow traffic creating development.

The concept that somehow the problem can be studied away while the building boom continues unabated is a bit naive. As with every "growth" problem in Napa County, the real solution is to stop growing. The idea that an economy must be always growing, with ever increasing jobs, ever increasing construction, ever increasing profits is a 1% solution promoted by the 1% that receive the profits. The other 99% must just accept more traffic, more urbanization, more taxes, and a loss of a quality of life inherent in being in a small town.

It is a battle worth waging, and is being waged, rather unsuccessfully, up valley. But given the projects already approved, the large industrial commitment that Am Can and Napa have already made, the Napa Pipe mega-project already under construction, and all those approved hotels and wineries that will soon need tourists and employees, the outlook is a little bleak to solve the traffic problems in American Canyon - beyond a 65mph bypass.

It is not an outcome that I would want; a massive traffic jam in American Canyon and around the airport is one of the most reliable ways of cooling development lust further up the valley. The NVTA recognized the same reality in considering not to pursue a highway widening between American Canyon and Napa. It is unfortunate, but at this point it is a zero sum game - solving American Canyon's traffic problems means increasing the rate of urbanization in the rest of Napa county.

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