By John Keener, Special to Riptide
There's a common misconception that the public is in favor of the Highway 1 widening plan between Rockaway and Vallemar put forward by Caltrans.
Residents of Linda Mar bear the full effect of traffic on Highway 1 in the mornings and evenings, and would also bear the brunt of construction delays for years. My results from canvassing door-to-door refute the notion that Linda Mar residents favor widening Highway 1.
I knocked randomly on about 1,100 doors in Linda Mar in the order they were on the streets. At about half of the doors, someone answered. Of the folks I talked to, about 60 percent signed the petition to City Council asking it to hold hearings on alternatives to widening. This was about a 4-1 margin over those in favor of widening.
The most frequent reason they gave for signing the petition was the merge from three lanes down to two in each direction that would occur at either end of the widening project. Comments like "Are they (Caltrans) stupid?" were common.
Caltrans has run roughshod over residents in Linda Mar and other Pacifica neighborhoods in both the draft and final environmental impact reports on the widening, finding (without exception) that the suggestions and objections put forward by citizens were without merit.
City Council has not listened to pleas for public hearings on alternatives, choosing to hide behind excuses that it would wait for lawsuits to be settled. Council should hire a traffic consultant to do the job that Caltrans did not do – exploring alternatives to widening that are less damaging to Pacifica.
When will Linda Mar and other Pacifica neighborhoods be heard?