Our family is friends with the Maier/Cherry family, and when I heard the news of Alex Maier’s tragic accident, my thoughts almost immediately went to the on/off ramps in the location of the accident.
I’ve been a resident of SLO County for more than 20 years, and, like many residents, haven’t needed to use certain on ramps in my daily life. This year my daughter is a freshman at SLO high school, so my daily routes have changed.
I’m a veteran driver of nearly 30 years and have a safe driving history. Over the last five months, while driving my daughter to and from school, I’ve occasionally taken the California on ramp. On more than one occasion, I have had to quickly take the off ramp at Santa Rosa because heavy traffic on 101 made safe merging a near impossibility.
After the accident occurred, I spoke to many friends about Alex’s death, and invariably the discussion leads to the freeway issues through the downtown section of San Luis Obispo. Anyone who uses these on ramps on a regular basis seems to have a story of near misses. Because of the issues, many of us choose to drive though town to find a safer route on the freeway. Unfortunately, this is not a long-term solution.
As a community, we have been heartbroken over the loss of such a promising life at such a young age. In addition, I think we should be outraged that nothing has been done about the dangerous freeway situation through our beautiful town. As time passes and our population increases, the traffic problems will multiply. It is my ardent opinion that we need to take long hard look at the flow of traffic and find lasting solutions now. While changes in the freeways will not take away the pain the Maier family is going through now, it can help keep this from happening to another family.