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August 05, 2014

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I'd like to see a couple of signs well before the intersection that say "Highway 1 right lane only". Saying there's a detour ahead is meaningless for people who haven't driven it before -- detour from what? We need to tell them to merge to the right lane well before they're out of time.

If you sit in the small lot there at the weekend when it's backed up, you can watch people in the left southbound lane suddenly realize they're out of road when they reach the first orange stick. They desperately try to merge right and just stop at the stick between lanes and cars go either side of them. It happens almost every minute when it's busy. I feel sorry for them. Most of the time they end up hanging a left into the lanes that go to Linda Mar Boulevard and then have to do an illegal right turn after the orange sticks.

I reckon that southbound right turn also needs a red right arrow and a green right arrow. I keep seeing pedestrians being almost clipped because drivers are right-turning on red when there's just too much to keep an eye on.

I think a lot of people aren't too worried about the wait times but are concerned about what a dangerous area that intersection has become. Someone's going to get hurt.

One fix that Caltrans has failed to implement so far is a green arrow for southbound traffic. When the light at Linda Mar Boulevard is green for northbound traffic coming from the detour to make a left turn onto the existing highway, it is red for southbound traffic. The traffic light should be a green arrow for southbound traffic while northbound traffic is turning left, leading southbound traffic to turn right onto the detour. This would speed up things considerably as drivers wouldn't have to stop and determine whether it's safe or legal to turn right on red.

Caltrans obviously didn't plan for good traffic circulation during the bridge construction. As others have noted, this does not bode well for the much bigger project of widening Highway 1 from Fassler/Rockaway to north of Vallemar.

Comments here are begging the far ridiculous in trying to minimize the awful traffic due to the oversized bridge construction at San Pedro Creek. The traffic is only horrible at busy times. Duh! Those busy times will mostly occur on nice, sunny weekend days. Foggy, cold days on weekends will reduce the number of cars enough that the half-hour delays will not occur. The bad southbound delays will occur in the mid-to-late morning hours and early afternoon as people are heading to the beaches and other coastal attractions to the south. The bad northbound delays will occur from about 5-7 p.m. as people are returning from the coast.

The ignorance of the traffic consultants in not being able to predict this for the configuration that was put in place is disgusting considering the experience with traffic delays on Highway 1 elsewhere--on the midcoast, for several examples. That several obvious adjustments to the light regime at the two construction intersections have not been made speaks of incompetence. The lessons teaching what to expect for the Rockaway/Vallemar widening boondoggle are clear.

To be fair and report accurately, as I always do, there was a lot of traffic on Saturday around 12:15 p.m. between Rockaway and Linda Mar. I got on the highway at Rockaway and it was slow-go from there to Taco Bell. The beach lot was full and I was surprised because it was not a sunny day. From the top of Highway 1 going toward Taco Bell, I saw nine cars turn into the beach parking lot. Again, very surprising, because the weather was bad. I did find a business that is really hurting from the new detour: Taco Bell. At 12:45 p.m. it was empty on a Saturday, and the manager told me that the new turning lane is the worst because the posts let you turn only into the right lane for turning into Pedro Point when you are leaving Taco Bell, unless you do some creative driving. I am going to call Lori Tinfow and Van Ocampo on Monday to see if the posts can be moved down a little to leave the parking lot for Taco Bell open. I will also bring it up to the rest of the Chamber of Commerce board to see if we can call someone about this.

Personally, after this diatribe I'm shutting the hell up about how bad it is for those of us who live north of Crespi to get to our formally frequently frequented shops, as apparently I'm mistaken. I shall from this day henceforth experience same with the understanding 'twas ever such, even though I really truly don't remember that being the case. I bow to those who have become used to the queues that seem new to me. I guess I really haven't been paying attention despite driving it every single day for my short 13 years here. All hail Caltrans and your infallibility, and roll on two years of a single lane through Vallemar -- all will be well, including emergency vehicles. I look forward to a wider parking lot when school is in. Still a full parking lot, but at least I'll have neighbors on both sides of my stuck car.

Chris, we tried to go to lunch at La Playa. The traffic was SO heavy we turned off at Crespi and went to the Surf Spot instead. We are regulars at La Playa, so I know they are missing our business. The highway between Fassler and the detour is now as bad as the highway from Princeton to HMB on the weekend. Pity. By pity, I mean your spin.

I just drove north at 4 p.m. through this supposed traffic nightmare. No traffic either direction, no nightmare. There were about eight cars stopped at the light in both directions. I have a picture, but it wouldn't be as dramatic as the one above.

I do work in town, and this week I have had lunch at Vallemar Station, Rock 'n' Rob's, and High Tides, with no traffic and no problems, so are you saying there is only traffic on the weekends when everyone is going to the beach? Last weekend my husband and I had breakfast at Nick's, and did not encounter traffic. We had lunch on Sunday at Ketch Joanne's, and did hit some traffic, but it was not major. Traffic is traffic is traffic on the coastside when weather is good. There has always been a backup on "Devil's Slide" near Grey Whale Cove and Surfer's Beach on sunny days for years. Let's not exaggerate the situation, and as far as locals not eating on the weekends in Pedro Point because of traffic, try to get a brunch table at High Tides on Sunday.

So, Big Banker, going by what you and Chris have said, it sounds like more people from out of town are heading into the Pedro Point shopping center, as they're forced to see it for the first time. That is a good thing, and what I had expected to happen -- my experience last weekend surprised me as I'd thought it would be busier with non-locals who suddenly realized they could turn right. Maybe we just hit a quiet time and the chap who talked to me didn't know what the overall numbers were.

But for those of us who frequent the shops there and live north of Linda Mar, it really is a pretty onerous task to get there in the weekends now. Perhaps our numbers are small enough that they're being outweighed by the new customers.

But it's roughly analogous to the people who say the 10- to 15-minute wait to get through Rockaway-Vallemar is crazy. How come it's crazy for them but not for us?

Fresh & Easy has been busier with the detour. People walk in and say, "We thought you closed all your stores." Or they say, "We used to drive right by."

Remember, people, the City of Pacifica chose to be the lead agency on this project. They also paid a lot of money to the bridge consultants.

If you want to gripe about the traffic at the detour, do it at City Council and/or write the City Council a letter.

Chris, I'm just saying what I was told. I can't give you any "facts" to prove it; are you implying I'm lying? I can reiterate that it was noticeably quieter than normal in La Playa when I was there on a Sunday afternoon. No queue at the counter, lots of empty tables. Maybe we were just lucky, and the person who told me what I reported was making it all up. That must be it.

But if you really think the Fassler/Roberts/De Solo/Linda Mar detour is an easy and obvious alternative for all locals, I would have to point out that something even easier is to eat somewhere else, which I won't be doing, but I would imagine many others would.

I do hope you are right, though, and I was misled/lied to/hallucinated. It would be a shame otherwise.

No, this traffic was not there before the new, badly managed detour. Why would anyone make such a patently incorrect statement? Someone who does not want to admit the Caltrans "experts" who were projecting 30-second delays did not know what they were talking about for this location? Someone who wants people to forget the obvious connections between the predictable mistakes made at Linda Mar and the much greater potential mess on Highway 1 that would be made with the obviously railroaded Vallemar/Rockaway widening?

Just live with it for a few years, the way I was forced to live with unnecessary tunnel construction delays, usually in the middle of the night, for several years? The way we will be forced to live with the widening mess for years? The way we will be forced to deal with new locations for delays after the widening, if it takes place? The timelines of our lives are unidirectional, aren't they? Without loop-backs to recover lost years or to conduct life in places as they were before they were degraded by greed?

Yeah, that's what I was referring to when I said it was locals not eating there. Before, as a local, it was easy to get in and out; now you have to get through that mess first. And go back through it afterward, too, the long way!
I also asked if they were getting more out-of-towners now being forced to notice that La Playa exists because they have to drive past it, but he reckoned that wasn't the case, that they were probably just trying to get out of town even more than before.
It didn't seem like a disaster or anything, but we certainly noticed it was considerably quieter on a Sunday afternoon than we expected.

Alan, I think #2, why would you avoid going to Linda Mar Shopping Center if traffic is backed up? Go the back way up Fassler and over Roberts Road and then one of the side streets or up Crespi and down one of the side streets. Just got off the telephone with Kevin Healy, manager of La Playa, who said just the opposite of what you stated. Business is up significantly at La Playa since the bridge bypass lane was put in, and he did not know who would have said otherwise. He's the manager, so he should know. Please, let's have some true facts to back up your claims. Talked to Saleem at High Tides, who said his observation was that their business has increased a little, too.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I could swear I read somewhere that it's taking so long because they have to quit for few months during some kind of critter spawning or migrating season.

One Alan to another: Your comment sounds counterintuitive, when La Playa is no longer off the beaten track to Highway 1 motorists.

(Editor's Note: Alan 1, I understood Alan 2's comment to mean that heavy traffic in and around the Pedro Point detour was a deterrent to business in the shopping center. I know I avoid shopping at Linda Mar and Pedro Point when traffic is bad at the intersection/detour, otherwise I get stuck at one of the lights. Maybe what we should do is encourage people to get out of their cars and go shopping on both sides of the highway until the traffic dies down. Or just give up and go to the beach or Taco Bell.)

I was at La Playa Sunday and they were saying business had dropped noticeably. They reckoned locals were losing motivation to fight through the traffic on the weekends.

I doubt that, PB. Do you have any evidence that this bridge could or would kill the steelhead trout (not Salmon but same family)? There are much wider bridges than this across California rivers with much larger fish runs and I've never heard of them causing problems. Caltrans has worked closely with California Fish & Wildlife to ensure the migrating fish are not harmed or endangered.

It won't be forgotten by the fish, which population will likely be killed by such a long blockage of the ingress to the stream.

I am definitely one of those pro-business types and how many of those cars were going to the beach? I know there were plenty (and Sunday was worse) because I emptied full trash carts in the parking lot on Sunday morning when they were emptied Saturday near noon. There is nothing wrong with the intersection. Traffic was backed up like this before the new intersection configuration was put in. I know because my in-laws live in El Granada and we travel down there every weekend, either Saturday or Sunday. Give it a rest.

Ha, funny some people that have fought small business owners expanding all of a sudden care about businesses here. And traffic? When it's convenient I guess they use it to their advantage. Like when there was too much traffic to allow Peebles Quarry development and now there wasn't enough to widen. LOL.

Traffic patters will smooth out, the bridge will be done and it will all be forgotten.

Saturday afternoon the backup headed south toward HMB was past Rockaway, Vallemar, and the intersection of Sharp Park Road and SR1 at 4 p.m. If we let Caltrans loose on the highway-widening project (Calera Creek Parkway), it would be irresponsible, beyond irresponsible, of us to do so to ourselves and the surrounding areas. And for those self-proclaimed pro-business types, if the detour doesn't prove Caltrans' sense of entitlement with this business-killing detour, I wonder how you could still support a widening project.

If they can't plan a simple intersection, what chance does the Highway 1 widening have? And by the way, why is the Pedro Point bridge replacement taking 1-2 YEARS????

And just imagine what they would do between Fassler and Reina del Mar if given the chance.

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