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We think Gilroy Foods employees have waited long enough
– at least 16 years – for a stoplight.
We think Gilroy Foods employees have waited long enough – at least 16 years – for a stoplight.

The company, located on what used to be a country road east of Gilroy, has to hire an off-duty police officer to let its employees exit the parking lot on holiday weekends. The heavy traffic is due to explosive population and job growth in Silicon Valley – and thousands of those people use Pacheco Pass Highway to reach I-5 in the Central Valley.

Add the burgeoning retail complex at the intersection of U.S. 101 and Highway 152, and the afternoon traffic ordeal Gilroy Foods employees endure will only escalate.

Increased traffic along with increased demand for police and fire protection are among the negatives retailers bring with them. We think it’s high time that the city mitigate the negative impact the massive retail development under way down the road from Gilroy Foods is having on the city’s third-largest employer.

County Supervisor Don Gage has proposed using any leftover Measure B funds to improve the situation in front of Gilroy Foods, where the road narrows from four lanes to two, in these ways:

• Install a traffic light at a cost of $250,000;

• Widen Pacheco Pass Highway from two lanes to four from Gilroy Foods to the Llagas Creek Bridge at a cost of $3 million;

• Widen the bridge over Llagas Creek at a cost of $8.75 million.

Gage has said he wants to get all three portions of the project funded, and that’s great, but it would be a boon for Gilroy Foods workers if just the first two were funded and under way.

There are several other projects competing with the proposed Pacheco Pass improvements for the scarce Measure B funds. We think city leaders need to get behind Gage, lobby the full board to support this project, and perhaps put some money where their mouths are by paying for part of this long overdue project.

The daily grind of trying to leave work must wear on every Gilroy Foods worker. Let’s show our appreciation for this large employer that gives Gilroy much of its identity as a the garlic capital by making it easier for them to get home from work at the end of their shifts.

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