Heat, Traffic, Summertime Blues
Bad Behavior at Public Meetings: Demagoguery vs. Democracy

Highway 1 Design Alternative: Smaller Is Better

Hwy 1 Concept 2+3 Thru
TRAFFIC SOLUTION: Two through lanes at Rockaway/Fassler, three through lanes at Vallemar/Reina Del Mar.

Some people in town have voiced concerns about the width and number of lanes in Caltrans' Highway 1 design, and how it fits into the aesthetics of our coastal community.

I too felt the new design was a little large, so I looked at the intersections from all directions in an attempt to improve traffic flow while minimizing the width and number of lanes.

Here is what I came up with: 2 + 3 — two through lanes at Rockaway/Fassler (same as now) to reduce unnecessary width, and three through lanes at Vallemar/Reina Del Mar to increase capacity.

Note that the frontage road in front of the Shell station and tire shop next door now extends all the way to Vallemar/Reina Del Mar. This lane then becomes both a turn lane and through lane in front of Ash's Vallemar Station, to increase capacity at this critical intersection.

Heading south from Sharp Park, a third lane is added near Calera Creek water treatment plant to increase capacity, then traveling south toward Fassler/Rockaway, the through lane becomes a left-turn-only lane at Fassler/Rockaway, leaving only two through lanes southbound.

There are other improvements, like adjusting the width of the median and margins, and removing the kink in the roadway near the lumberyard, for example. I am sure you have your own suggestions. But I think the first step is to settle the lane configuration, and then add the bells and whistles later.

So look at lane configurations north and south, and try to improve them! Add a lane here; remove one there. Add a turn lane or move the bus stop, then see the results for yourself. Good luck!

Scott McIntosh, Linda Mar Resident


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Thank you for admitting, in your own way, I suppose, that you have not been representing the facts nor the truth regarding the funding for this widening proposal. As you've finally admitted, it does not exist. The $50 million the FEIR says is needed to widen the highway has not been approved by any governmental agency, nor has it been applied for, and to top off the whole mess, the proposal hasn't even been designed yet. It's just some words and misleading lines on paper.

Peter, Your whole misguided attack of the widening has been based on mistruth and deception. Why don't you just admit that your little groups real goal is to stop the widening at any cost because you think it will lead to development in your precious quarry?

You don't really care about "alternatives." It's just a way to try and convert believers. If the grade separation is the best option then why did you drop it? Because it wasn't too popular. BTW you twist facts again. The overpass wasn't "the best option" due to cost, scale and right of way issues. That's why Caltrans went with widening.

Todd, Look in the mirror man. You're transparent and feeble attempts to school me are humorous. There isn't any funding now because it hasn't been requested yet. Once the second baseless lawsuit is thrown out this fall the project will proceed.

Losing funding for a project that does harm is a good thing. Even doing nothing at all beats doing something destructive.

I said, "Each and every sentence in Bobby Hutchinson's comment contains an untruth." This is one of the sentences in question that contains an untruth: "These 'alternatives,' including widening the shoulder and building an overpass, not only would not work but would guarantee the loss of $50 million in Measure A money to another city that isn't stuck on fighting progress." One untruth in that sentence is that widening the shoulder and building an overpass would not work. They actually would work. In fact, Caltrans in its own FEIR says that the overpass (grade separation) would work better than the monstrosity that Caltrans proposes because it would eliminate the traffic light at Reina Del Mar, thus eliminating the cause of the traffic congestion. It's also not true that, for instance, widening the shoulders or building an overpass would "guarantee" the loss of Measure A funding. Nobody can guarantee that. If Pacifica said it preferred widening the shoulders or the grade separation alternative, it's still possible that Measure A funds could be used for those alternatives.

Hutch, there isn't any funding now for the Calera Parkway Project. Since I doubt you are capable of believing me, please refer to the project's FEIR. It clearly states that the project is currently unfunded. BTW, the FEIR also states that the funding would not be Measure A money. If Peter hasn't called you a liar or worse, a propagandist, I am doing so -- and happily. There is no funding to lose, as no funding for the widening currently exists.

Is that a clintonesque defense, Peter? Does it depend on what the meaning of "is" is?

I said: These "alternatives," including widening the shoulder and building an overpass, not only would not work but would guarantee the loss of $50 million in Measure A money.

You said: Each and every sentence in Bobby Hutchinson's comment contains an untruth.
Posted by: Peter Loeb | January 26, 2014 at 05:14 PM


Bob Hutchinson: You're making stuff up again. Show where I ever called you a liar here for saying we would lose funding if the current Caltrans plan did not proceed.

Hmmm, wasn't I called a liar here by Peter for saying we would lose funding if current Caltrans plans did not proceed? Another change of strategy from anti-highway folks? No more alternatives, just stop City Council from approving?

I note that this design calls for a frontage road on the east side of the highway. The 1980 General Plan that's currently operative calls for frontage roads on both sides of the highway. In the 1980s, there were several designs for frontage roads prepared for the city by the engineering firm of Wilsey Ham. The City Council selected the 1-E Modified alternative, but it was never implemented. Recently, several individuals have come up with redesigns and other ideas for improving the highway and reducing traffic congestion. The problem is that, as John Keener points out, the Calera Parkway Project has been certified by Caltrans. The next step is the City Council requesting $4 million of funding from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority for the final design of the project. If a new design or other alternatives are to be considered, first the Calera Parkway Project has to be rejected.

I intended to talk to Mr. McIntosh after the forum and take a look at his plan. I'm glad we have it here to look at and talk about. I like that it is a much more conservative approach and that it looks more likely to solve the actual problem than Caltrans' plan. I'm going to print it out and give it some thought when I'm down that way.


The explanation helps me understand the diagram, which I struggled with. And I applaud the headline: Smaller Is Better!

So to all, design away! But remember that the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) has been filed for Caltrans' plan, which more than doubles the width of the highway, so we have to stop it first.

Personally, I favor modifications to the intersections, like computerized video control of the traffic lights, and pedestrian over/underpasses so that people are safer, and cars don't have to wait for them to cross the roadway.

Also ride-sharing programs in our schools. Instead of one parent and one kid, let's try for three kids per car.

I love this because it highlights 12 years of Caltrans' unwillingness to try the most basic alternatives like Mr. McIntosh's idea that could be done in one day by re-striping the two intersections to see if there is an improvement in a.m. and p.m. circulation flow.

As then-director of Public Works Scott Holmes once informed me regarding a similar idea by Bob Pilgrim, " What if that idea worked? Then what would we do?"

No, the Calera Parkway Project is about money. Money for staff time, money for contractors who pay for lunches and money to keep the overinflated annual budget of Caltrans District 4 artificially high.

The punchline in all of this noise, to me, happens to be that engineers are supposed to know better, to look for the simplest way to do something, to be elegant thinkers, not over-contrive a proposal just to keep all their fellow District 4 men and women employed. It really is funny.

Fun as it may be to design a new highway configuration, I think the first step is to hire an outside traffic engineer to assess proposed alternatives in combination.

The facts remain:

- Caltrans has not assessed alternatives in combination.
- Caltrans provided a business-as-usual conventional response: "When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

1. Facilitate car-pooling. Most cars have just one occupant.
2. Add a flex lane in the middle, northbound in the morning, southbound in the afternoon.
3. Time intersection lights to reduce stops. There are no backups where Highway 1 is two lanes and without stoplights.
4. Adjust school schedules. This is a school-day problem only.
5. Provide vans for schoolchildren (without parents driving their own kids).
6. School(s) could coordinate parents driving other nearby kids to and from school.
7. Study putting an underpass at the intersection to obviate the stoplights.
8. Institute more frequent and better bus service with benches and shelters at each stop. You shouldn’t have to use a car to get around in Pacifica.
9. Provide vans to major commuter destinations.
10. Limit turns onto Highway 1 to allow north/south traffic to flow with fewer stops during peak commute times.
11. Meter the flow of traffic entering Highway 1. See more at: http://www.pacificariptide.com/pacifica_riptide/2012/03/public-comments-impact-highway-1-widening-by-bill-collins-the-proposed-widening-of-highway-1-generated-so-much-contro.html
- See more at: http://www.pacificariptide.com/pacifica_riptide/2014/06/highway-1-design-alternative-smaller-is-better.html

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)