In the upcoming election, Pacificans vote for three open City Council seats. A new council could stop the Calera Parkway Project (aka widening Highway 1). A new council could hire consultants to look into alternatives like roadbed sensors and synchronized traffic lights that would be a lot cheaper than widening the road. A new council could hold public hearings. The current council majority has done none of these things. Attend the council candidate forums (see below) and ask candidates where they stand on highway widening.
Tuesday, September 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., City Council Chambers, Sharp Park, hosted by San Mateo County Association of Realtors (SAMCAR) & Pacifica Business and Community Political Action Committee (PBCPAC)
Saturday, October 4 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., City Council Chambers, Sharp Park, hosted by American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Wednesday, October 8 from 7 to 9 p.m., City Council Chambers, Sharp Park, hosted by Pacifica's Environmental Family (PEF). Candidates express their vision on environmental issues that affect our community, including sea level rise, proposed widening of Highway 1, and Pacifica’s Climate Action Plan. Candidates are invited to fill out an online survey with questions from Pacifica’s environmental organizations. Their answers will be posted on the PEF website for the public. PCT tapes and airs the forum. PEF is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal sponsor to several local volunteer projects (PacificasEnvironmentalFamily.org).
Saturday, October 18 from 9 to 11:30 a.m., Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant, hosted by Pacifica-Daly City Democrats.
City of Pacifica Senior Services bargain-priced indoor rummage sale Wednesday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pacifica Community Center, Highway 1 at Crespi Avenue in Pacifica. This week's sale features GAMES & AUDIO CDs, RECORDS & TAPES. The Community Center rummage sales consist entirely of donated reusable items priced very low. All proceeds from the rummage sales are used to help support the City of Pacifica Senior Services. For further information, call 738-7384.
Pacificans are mourning the loss of former City Council member Jim Vreeland, who served 15 years on the council and is remembered for his work to protect the city's natural environment and outdoors recreation, especially the beaches and trails.
"Flight" by Anita Green; photo: Larry Rosenstein "Blue Curves" by Cindy Chan; photo: Larry Rosenstein
Opening its 12th season at Quarry Cove Art Gallery, Pacifica Art Connection’s latest exhibit "Nature and Nurture" is a treat in contrasting styles and media. The walls display paintings from Anita Green and photographs by Chuck Evans. In the Sculpture Bay are hand-thrown clay creations by Cindy Chan. Each artist features works demonstrating the duality of the exhibit’s theme, even sometimes in the same piece.
Green’s paintings include a dreamscape titled “Flight” that alludes to the advantages of staying safe and taking that leap of faith. In contrast, "Santa Ana Winds" with strong deep reds and black swirls alludes to the natural power of those winds.
Evans’ works range from the timeless wonder of trees in his pieces titled “Endurance” and “Hope” to the joy and playfulness of young animals and to those moments of what water can do as it approaches shore.
A favorite grouping of Chan’s sculptures is the conversation between “Blue Curves” and two birds. Her figurines are a delight and are filled with many details deserving a long, intimate look.
This exhibit truly exhibits how our lives are filled with moments of "Nature and Nurture" if we just take the time to look and appreciate them.
Quarry Cove Art Gallery at 225 Rockaway Beach Avenue (between Avani Salon and the Visitor Center) is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Fog Fest Discover Pacifica Parade, this year themed “Seaside Dreams,” is happy to announce that a second Honorary Grand Marshal has been added to the parade lineup. We are pleased and honored to have the recently crowned state champion Pacifica American Little League All-Stars join us!
As the news spread of their grand accomplishment, excitement built, so we scurried to develop a plan to have them featured and included in the parade. This year’s Grand Marshal, Mayor Mary Ann Nihart, leads the parade procession. Then midway, the Pacifica American Little League All-Stars follow. Wrapping up the parade’s procession are Pacifica Sports Hall of Fame members.
The parade is on Saturday, September 27 and begins at 10 a.m. at the south end of Palmetto Avenue, ending at IBL Middle School. Thomas Stafford kicks off the parade singing the National Anthem from the South Stage at Montecito Avenue.
Come on out, have some fun, and show your support as a spectator. All are welcome to enter and participate. Cash prizes are awarded for the following: Best Float, Most Creative Walking Group, Best Music or Dance Group, and we can’t forget the "Rustiest Car Contest" (must be driven on its own power). A separate category for best High School Marching Band will also be awarded. Download entry forms and information:
I'm John Keener, Ph.D., research biochemist, small-business owner, and medical writer, now retired. My wife and I have lived in Pacifica for seven years. We were attracted to Pacifica by its many hiking trails, open spaces, and beautiful coastline.
I've made the Highway 1 widening plan the centerpiece of my campaign for Pacifica City Council. The 1.3-mile Caltrans project from the Fassler/Rockaway intersection to just north of the Vallemar intersection would add an additional lane in each direction to the existing four-lane highway.
In doing so, the proposed project would more than double the width of the roadway, from 64 feet to 144 feet, 12 feet wider than a typical eight-lane interstate freeway. Caltrans must acquire all or part of 27 parcels, including residential and business, to accommodate the increased highway footprint. Mature cypress trees lining the existing highway would be removed, and retaining walls up to 22 feet tall would be needed to stabilize cuts into hillsides.
I oppose the widening project because it wouldn't work to reduce traffic congestion during peak commute hours. This is because, at either end of the project, three lanes would merge back to the original two lanes in each direction, causing traffic jams. Other Caltrans widening projects have resulted in similar problems, notably in Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties.
Funded mostly by San Mateo County Measure A funds derived from a half-cent surcharge on sales tax within the county, the current price tag of the Highway 1 widening proposal is estimated at $55 million. I question the use of taxpayer funds without adequate public input. Comments on the Environmental Impact Reports for the widening project that were inconsistent with Caltrans’ vision were rejected.
Caltrans approved its Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) in August 2013. At this point, the decision on widening Highway 1 is a yes or no vote — no modifications are permitted to Caltrans' plan without starting over.
The major hurdle before construction could begin is a formal request by Pacifica City Council to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority for the $55 million needed to fund the project. I think such a request is a waste of taxpayer money on a design that won't alleviate congestion and is out of scale with community needs.
So I oppose funding the Caltrans plan. Instead, I support opening the process to the public and exploring alternative solutions that would effectively reduce traffic congestion on the Highway 1 corridor.
I'm running for one of three open seats on Pacifica City Council in November. More information about my positions on the highway widening and other issues may be found on my campaign website:
"Thanks for maintaining the best blog in Pacifica."(John Keener)
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Sanchez Art Center’s sixth annual 50|50 Show, with 67 artists selected by juror Jack Fischer, is open. Each artist has created 50 small artworks in 50 days, for an exhibit of more than 3,000 affordable pieces. Sanchez Art Center, 1220 Linda Mar Boulevard, Pacifica. Gallery hours: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. or by appointment. Information: 650-355-1894
In this terrible drought, why waste precious water on ice bucket challenges? Here is a trash bucket challenge that can make a difference.
Pick up a bucket of trash in 24 hours (or take a little longer if needed), then make a donation to the Pacifica Beach Coalition (PBC) to help its beach cleanup and restoration work (click the link below). Challenge your friends and family to do likewise.
By answering the trash bucket challenge, you can help save the beaches, the ocean, and marine wildlife. Only you can stop the flow of litter into our creeks, where it goes down to pollute the ocean. Record your trash bucket challenge by clicking the blue bag at Pacifica Beach Coalition
(press release) There’s a bill on the Governor’s desk that has HUGE impacts to how Californians get around their communities. AB 1447 by Assembly member Waldron (San Diego County) merely clarifies that traffic signal synchronization projects can qualify for Cap and Trade auction revenues as part of sustainable infrastructure projects.
Why is this so important? Because traffic light synchronization WORKS. And California needs MORE of it. And Cap and Trade funds can fund these projects and make them a reality.
Los Angeles did as much traffic light syncing as they could with the funding they had and saw dramatic impacts on traffic flow and less of the nasty emissions from idling cars. Salinas even did it on 5 intersections and saw a difference.
No one wants to sit in traffic. No one. We have the technology to make traffic move smoother. Caltrans supports synchronization. Anyone sitting at any traffic light or in gridlock would happily tell the Governor to sign this bill.
Even the environmentalists have said this is a good idea, their only hesitation is that they prefer people to be frustrated in cars so they will bike everywhere -- a lovely idea -- but while we are still using cars, let's make them MOVE.
Assemblywoman Waldron welcomes phone calls on this topic. She is available to chat. Call or email me to be set up with her.
Below is more info than you want or need, but it’s my job to include it. Below you will find (1) a list of supporters -- there’s someone from your region who will tell you why this is so important; (2) the letter Waldron sent Governor Brown asking for his signature; (3) a press release on the bill; and (4) some highlights from coverage of the recently released traffic study in California.
Amanda Fulkerson Press Secretary | Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway | Amanda.Fulkerson@asm.ca.gov | p. 916.319.2026 | c. 916-307.8332 | State Capitol - Room 3104
(1) The following vocal supporters who know Californians want out of traffic: PHA Transportation Consultants, Econolite Group Inc. TJKM Transportation Consultants, Institute of Transportation Engineers Inc. City of Belmont, City of Monterey, City of Sacramento, City of Fairfield, City of Dublin, City of Clovis, City of Albany, Automobile club of Southern California, ADVANTEK consulting engineers, CA Trucking Association, San Mateo County Transit Authority, Automobile Club of Southern California, Sempra Energy utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric, and SoCalGas
(2) September 8, 2014 The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr. Governor, State of California California State Capitol Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Brown: I respectfully request your signature on AB 1447, joint-authored by Assembly member V. Manuel Perez. AB 1447 is permissive and merely clarifies that traffic signal synchronization projects can qualify for Cap and Trade auction revenues as part of sustainable infrastructure projects.
Reasons to support AB 1447: · Proven technology to reduce substantial (hundreds to thousands of tons) of GHG annually
· Traffic signal synchronization is retrofitting existing intersections (both local streets and CALTRANS intersections) which benefit inner cities and poorer neighborhoods where higher traffic congestion occurs.
· CALTRANS and local jurisdictions don’t have the resources to implement – this bill would help make these investments possible by clarifying that it is eligible for funding.
· Currently, Traffic Signal Synchronization is broad in statute and is a proven mechanism that can be implemented fairly quickly with measurable results to communities statewide. The Strategic Growth Council still makes the funding decisions.
· AB 1447 coincides with the Governor's Sustainable Communities Plan
· The City of Los Angeles recently completed its efforts to synchronize all of its 4,500 traffic lights using funding which is no longer available. Then- Mayor Villaraigosa estimated it will reduce GHG emissions by roughly 1 million metric tons.
· Salinas synchronized 5 intersections and realized a savings of 15.8 tons of GHG emissions in one year
· Traffic Signal Synchronization is a proven mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which is what AB 32 funds were intended for.
· AB 1447 also does not have a direct fiscal impact and is merely an eligible option. It greatly benefits older cities and underserved communities.
I thank you for your consideration of AB 1447, and respectfully request your support to sign Assembly Bill 1447. Expanding these programs is a win-win because it will have a positive impact on our environment and our economy by cutting back on air pollution and reducing commute times for Californians.
Marie Waldron Assemblymember, 75th District
(3) Press Release -- SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, today announced that her bill to curb vehicle emissions and reduce traffic congestion across the state through traffic light synchronization programming passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
“Traffic synchronization programs have been remarkably successful in reducing millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Waldron. “Expanding these programs is a win-win because it will have a positive impact on our environment by cutting back on air pollution and reducing commute times for Californians.”
Waldron’s legislation, Assembly Bill 1447, makes traffic synchronization programs eligible for funding through the Greenhouse Gas Emission Fund. This would allow for Traffic Signal Synchronization to be implemented more broadly throughout the state while cutting back on the harmful greenhouse gasses from idling vehicles.
California’s driving population is continually growing, resulting in excessive traffic on roadways. An unfortunate result from the overpopulated roads is an increase in fuel consumption and air contamination. When traffic light synchronization was implemented in Orange County, congestion decreased and reduced stops by 41%, travel time by 22%, and fuel consumption by 12%. In Salinas, 15.8 tons of hydrocarbon emissions were reduced in one year alone, saving $1,722,152 annually. Los Angeles, which used Proposition 1B funds to synchronize most of its signals, will also reduce air emissions by over 1 million metrics.
AB1447 was supported by the California Trucking Association, the Automobile Club of California, numerous California cities, including Albany, Belmont, Clovis, Dublin, Fairfield, Monterey, Sacramento, and many other groups.
(4) The Road Information Program (TRIP) released a report summarizing staggering costs to drivers in California. Here are the take-aways from the San Jose Mercury News on the report:
California drivers pay a staggering $44 billion a year in extra car costs because of traffic jams that seemingly grow worse by the day, spreading potholes and outdated roads and bridges, according to a national highway advocacy group.
Some Bay Area drivers fork over as much as $2,200 a year, according to a report released Thursday by The Road Information Program, or TRIP...
...In 2006, state voters approved a multibillion-dollar bond for transportation fixes, and in 2009 stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $3.9 billion to pay for paving and repairing 18,000 miles of freeways and highways from Redding to San Diego...
...Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California and a former Caltrans director, said most state freeways opened five decades ago and have exceeded their 40-year-old life span."Our transportation system is simply worn out," he said.