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Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) Challenges Caltrans

Hwy 1 widening
Pacificans advocating alternatives to widening Highway 1 have formed a new organization—Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A).
“PH1A wants alternatives implemented that can help relieve traffic congestion sooner than the widening project, at less cost, and with far less impact to neighborhoods, businesses, and the environment,” says Pete Shoemaker, chair of the new group.

Among potential alternatives are retiming and coordinating Vallemar and Fassler traffic lights, modifications to the Reina Del Mar Avenue intersection, a flex lane with moveable cones, increased public transportation, increased school bus service, car- and van-pooling, and changes to school schedules.

“In public meetings and in the 212 written comments submitted to Caltrans concerning its Draft Environmental Impact Report, two-thirds of all comments were critical of the widening project, which wouldn't offer traffic relief until years from now,” says Nick Leone, a member of PH1A.

PH1A supports the approach recommended by California Coastal Commission staff, which says the EIR “should fully evaluate a range of alternatives that could meet the purpose and need of the project, including alternatives that would reduce traffic congestion, but would not result in significant adverse impacts on coastal resources.”

Assemblyman Jerry Hill also has called for studying alternatives to identify the most cost-effective solutions.“The highway-widening proposal is the most costly project; it is years away from being implemented; there isn’t sufficient funding for it; and if it is ever built, it will create terrible traffic delays during two-plus years of construction,” says Hal Bohner, another PH1A member.

“We want alternatives to the widening that can be implemented sooner; that will reduce traffic congestion; that will not create major traffic delays during construction; that will be far less costly; and that will have far fewer impacts on our environment and our economy,” says Cynthia Kaufman, a PH1A member.

Contact PH1A at and Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives on Facebook.


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Pacifica is officially sponsor and owner of this project, yet there has been no public hearing or forum on this other than the Caltrans-directed charrettes.

This proposed project would add pollution, noise, and more traffic to Pacifica, and cause a decline in the economic base, making it a less attractive place to live.

The fundamentally flawed DEIR fails to address the most basic requirements of a livable community.

How is it that Pacifica residents have not had the opportunity to meaningfully weigh in on this project? Many alternatives are quicker and cheaper, and have not been looked at.

We should be able to vote on this. It's going to un-improve our quality of life and property values.

Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives has a website now:

Dan Underhill and Alan Wald have a workable soulution at a mimimum of cost, compared to an expensive, time-consuming widening construction project. Why the lights at Fassler and Vallemar are not synchronized to each other is beyond me. This has been something I've been in favor of for years. Dan's and Alan's proposal should be put to a public referendum. SOON.

Hey, Dan: I wasn't referring to palindromes. I was referring to the group's name, PH1A. Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue; sounds more like an appliance part number.

Hey, Alan, I TRIED reading it backward and the best I got was: E Manehttsap, tegt nact suji syugy Rros.

Sorry, guys, I just can't get past the name...

PH1A is on facebook -

Great! I shall look forward to learning more on Wavelength.

For those of you who, like me, are interested in learning more about PH1A and Hal Bohner's ideas, I am happy to say that he has agreed to be a guest on the next Wavelength taping. I'll keep you posted!

Sadly, another missed opportunity, Ian. We are from different universes.

"Need I remind you the town is bankrupt?"

Need I remind you that there are towns with more buildable land than we have, more potential for industry than we have, that had less successful leadership than we did, and that really did go bankrupt much earlier in this depression. One could say that our economy is in danger, that it is unsustainable if nothing changes, or even that it is headed toward bankruptcy if we decide not to do anything about it, but bankruptcy has a specific meaning and our council has managed to stave it off for longer than many of us might have suspected it could.

The fact that those of us who don't fall for every swindle that comes down the pike keep getting called "no growth" is more a reflection on those who call us that name than on anything else.

Thanks to Bob and Todd for the input. I am well aware of the hurdles in the way of putting anything in the quarry. As I put it in my column: "The odds of something like this actually coming to pass are only slightly better than the Pope converting to Judaism." That doesn't preclude exploring what would actually be the most effective solution. My hope is that even those in favor of adding more lanes can see that the present plan needs to be reexamined.

Ian: BTW, the DEIR for the widening project received 212 sets of comments. Some of those comments were several pages long; 65 percent were considered negative (by the widening Project Development Team, a consortium of staffers from Caltrans, San Mateo County Transportation Authority, and the City of Pacifica) to the project and document itself. Several individuals and organizations you would recognize submitted comments, such as the Center for Biological Diversity, California Coastal Commission staff, and GGNRA.

Ian, I appreciate your ideas and all, but for me personally, I'd love to take you for a drive through the various landscapes of zoning, CEQA processes, and Coastal Act permitting. The requirements of all these things would go a long way to answering any number of question you have. When a person submits comments, those comments, to be effective, are often really questions, questions that usually ask for more information concerning very specific aspects of the project under review.

Not all projects require an EIR. CEQA has a very specific checklist that is applied to literally every single project. That checklist is used to determine the level of environmental review a project will require. For instance, a simple home addition is usually categorized as EXEMPT from CEQA, but for larger projects, like the widening project, the CEQA checklist would add up to a major amount of studies to be gathered to define the projects' impacts.

You can get a CEQA checklist from our Planning Department. I hope you will take the time to do so.

Ian, I have two different submissions of Hal Bohner's Calera DEIR comments on my hard drive, but I don't have his permission to make them public. The fact is that the City Council refuses to hold public hearings on the Calera DEIR (why have a Planning Commission?). The comments submitted by the public will be published & circulated by Caltrans at its pleasure. Ian, try to connect with Hal. He's an "open" & democratic individual; my guess is he'll provide you with his comments.

Sounds like y'all are trying to do your best at damage control.

I never understood, when you get called out for not agreeing with a proposal or revenue-producing project, you all come out with torches and pitchforks.

Need I remind you the town is bankrupt?

My "Rockaway Business Loop" column was submitted to the Tribune a month ago, before PH1A went public. Unfortunately, due to technical problems, it didn't get published until this week, which may have diluted PH1A's message. But it also reinforces the fact that there are many alternatives to the present plan, and the issue needs to be looked at with fresh eyes. I look forward to learning more about PH1A's ideas, and to that end would appreciate a link to Hal Bohner's comments, or better yet, a posting of the comments themselves.

Hal Bohner's solution to the slowdown of the morning commute that occurs at the Vallemar intersection can be found in his comments/commentary on the Calera DEIR. His comments of Sept. 23, 2011 & his comments of Oct. 18, 2011 are the comments that I've reviewed. His comments are empirically derived & his viewpoint on the functional remedy to the "congestion" appears to be valid & realistic.

" Hal (Bohner) has a realistic grip on the facts surrounding the 'congestion' experienced by commuters during the morning commute. His remedy is very objective & doable."

I am interested. Hal Bohner has had some excellent ideas on other issues. Please direct us to where we might read up on what he has to say on this issue.

Steve, you mean Caltrans, right? As Peter points out, any number of alternatives could have been given a go to see if they worked, but as you say, and Peter says, Caltrans is the same old group that opposes everything. Well done, Steve, you surprised me there!

"To cast it as 'the same old group' is to denigrate the opinion of a significant portion of the locals."

It is what it is, Lionel -- the same old group that opposes everything.

Actually, this group is FOR everything. They're for everything that can be done NOW to reduce commute wait times, instead of waiting for possibly decades for a widening project that may never happen. Meanwhile, Caltrans is doing nothing to help solve the problem. And Pacificans are the ones who get stuck sitting on Highway 1. Caltrans is the same old group that's against everything except the highway building project that they want to do.

"Same old group that's against everything."

Why is it that we have to accept "everything?"

That is to say that the Caltrans proposal, which is the most expensive and extreme, is what we must accept. I don't agree.

There are many less intrusive and more reasonable proposals and/or alternatives. To cast it as "the same old group" is to denigrate the opinion of a significant portion of the locals.

I read the commentary by Ian Butler today. I don't know who he is, but what's going on in his head is nothing new; it's been proposed in the past by the spokesmen of buildout. The Swaim paper describes that area as Calera Creek watershed. Thus, any intrusion/taking of that part of the old quarry is prohibited by the state coastal act. The reality is that people would do themselves a big favor and listen to Hal Bohner. Hal has a realistic grip on the facts surrounding the "congestion" experienced by commuters during the morning commute. His remedy is very objective & doable.

Et tu, Steve-O, et tu.

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