Tell county planners which traffic controls and safety measures you want on midcoast Highway 1 (Gray Whale Cove to Half Moon Bay), whether you are a motorist, pedestrian, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or anyone concerned about traveling safely on the midcoast. The survey is open until the end of July. Use links above to see all the proposed alternatives and to take the survey.
A sizeable crowd packed Shelldance Orchid Gardens on May 17 to benefit the legal fund for fighting the highway widening. Beyond fundraising and consciousness raising, there was good music, art, food, and drink. (photos by Leo Leon; poster by Andrew Leone)
Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) bumper sticker: $2 donation requested. Get yours at Florey's Book Co., 2120 Palmetto Avenue, Sharp Park, Pacifica. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except 8 p.m. Friday.
Connect the Coastside is the latest in a parade of coastside transportation "studies" that the county has organized to support and facilitate its hoped-for buildout numbers on the San Mateo County Midcoast. The buildout numbers are, and always have been, mostly schemed and arbitrary figures in service of fulfilling the economic dreams of the politicians' financial supporters--developers, contractors, real estate speculators large and small, construction unions, government bureaucrats, etc.
The buildout numbers are manipulated to provide predetermined outcomes, and terms are toyed with semantically, often within government planning documents such as the county's LCP, to give fake homage to laws and regulations such as the California Coastal Act, CEQA, NEPA, ESA, and numerous other environmental regulations. There is no, as in zero, objective attention to sustainable carrying capacity of the area, natural resources (local and from afar, such as water!) required for the buildout population, ecological degradation of the area through wipeout of natural conditions and components during development, measurement of material conditions in the area needed to support any population and development numbers, and so on through all other kinds of considerations needed to justify buildout figures with any degree of integrity.
So we battle through each round of transportation and other studies geared to setting up and facilitating the further gross overdevelopment of our area and the destruction of what remains of the positive, comfortable, affordable character of our communities. This current redundant study makes no bones over being about servicing the jiggered buildout figures, so it can be attacked up front for its false assumptions and the things it ignores in an attempt to sprint past realistic concerns before most locals notice.
Midcoast Community Council's workshops are an ongoing orchestrated part of involving the public (the small portion that pays any attention at all to such matters before they are fixed in official programs and policies) in the process so the county can claim it did not ignore the residents, the communities, in arriving at an outcome it had in mind from the start. Sometimes loud enough squawks over salient stupidities can disrupt the consultant's and the politicians' routine enough to delay the game.
(This op-ed is from a comment Carl May posted here in response to our continuing coverage of Midcoast Community Council's Highway 1 workshops.)
Midcoast Community Council has been meeting monthly to discuss Highway 1 traffic safety improvements. Click the link below to read an attendee's report on the March 11 meeting and alternatives discussed. Click "Comments" below this post to follow the thread.
Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) and friends hiked around Rockaway Quarry and Mori Point National Park (background) April 12 to familiarize themselves with endangered-species areas (ESA) and other impact zones of Caltrans' proposed widening of Highway 1. (Bob Pilgrim photos)
Anyone who has followed City Council elections in Pacifica knows that if you don't have a recognizable name, you have a slim chance of being elected to council. That John Keener (a virtual unknown before the November election) was elected to council, running mainly against Caltrans' Highway 1 widening project, should be a clear indication to council how opposed so many Pacificans are to this project that would make that portion of Highway 1 wider than Interstate 280.
To me, that is simply absurd! Council should realize that if it votes to go forward with the project, I truly believe there will be a recall petition circulating in no time at all, and I believe it would be successful. This is a much bigger issue than the Landscape & Lighting Assessment issue that was the impetus for the last recall, for those of you who were here then and can remember how terribly it divided the community.
To my knowledge, there has not been even one public meeting on this issue, and the Chamber of Commerce and Caltrans seem to be ramrodding this project down our throats, when it's NOT the best alternative, and without hearing citizens' input. I'm not an engineer and know nothing about highway widening, but it seems to me that there is plenty of room to put a frontage road on one side or the other of that stretch of Highway 1 to accommodate emergency vehicles during heavy traffic.
So there, I brought up the "R" word. I think this issue is that important.
On March 5, 2015, Pacificans for a Scenic Coast (PSC) and Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) sent letters of intent to sue Caltrans for violations of the federal Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act for the Highway 1 widening project. These notices are about a federal lawsuit, not the state lawsuit awaiting final judgment.
The notices were prompted by a notice that Caltrans published in the Federal Register in December 2014, which said that if there would be be a federal lawsuit on the highway widening project, the suit would have to be filed by May 8, 2015, or PSC/PH1A would be forever barred from filing a federal lawsuit.
This forced our hand. We had to look at whether there were grounds for a federal lawsuit, and then filing if there were grounds. If we didn’t, the door would be permanently closed to this option. We determined that there were grounds.
Then it turns out that to file a federal lawsuit, there has to be a 60-day notice of intent to sue or the federal suit can’t go forward. To keep our option open, we were required to send notices so that they were received by March 8. We had to put a placeholder down or we would forever lose the opportunity to file a federal suit if one was warranted.
If Caltrans had not published its notice in the Federal Register, we may never have considered a federal suit. The Federal Register notice made us look at whether there was a reason that Caltrans would want to bar us from filing a federal suit. Our research showed that there are some very good reasons why it wouldn’t want us to do that — Caltrans has violated federal laws.
The 60-day notice of intent to sue for violations of the Endangered Species Act was sent to Caltrans, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, GGNRA, and Army Corps of Engineers.
The 60-day notice of intent to sue for violations of the Clean Water Act was sent to Caltrans, San Mateo County Transportation Authority, and the City of Pacifica because the city is legally a “necessary and indispensable party” to any decision in that lawsuit.
The two notices of intent to sue (click links below for downloadable/printable PDFs) explain the violations of federal law:
When Alan Wald saw this new sign on the northbound Highway 1 detour, he quipped: "Apparently, recent rumors about San Francisco-bound tourists who mistakenly take Linda Mar Boulevard and are never heard from again are true."
We urge all Coastsiders to contact new San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper and ask her to assign investigative reporters to dig into the Caltrans/SMCTA highway-widening fiasco, a much underreported story in the media over the hill. It's about time a major metro daily newspaper began paying attention to Coastside transportation issues other than "feel good" features about the Devil's Slide Tunnels. If Caltrans screwed the pooch on the Bay Bridge eastern span, what can we expect with its ridiculous highway-widening plan here? We have a need to know.
I spend a lot of time behind the wheel. I guess you could say I am a professional driver because I deliver auto parts (i.e., I get paid to drive). And I’m telling you, people are morons when they drive.
Oh, I don’t mean you or me; we’re great drivers. Actually, I don’t consider myself a great driver. I think I’m good but not great. I make mistakes, but I try to obey the rules of the road and be courteous. The rest of the world, though, well, they are either rude or stupid; maybe both.
Take today, for instance. I was pulling into a shopping center. The center entrance lane went straight without any stop signs. The lanes perpendicular to the entrance lane each had a stop sign at the center lane. I was going straight ahead, but some guy in a newish BMW drove right through a stop sign and cut me off. Not bad enough so I had to jam on the brakes, but I did have to brake. I gave him the both-hands-up “what are you doing” shrug and he gave me the finger. Like I was the one in the wrong! If that was an exception, it would be one thing, but it seems to be more common than not.
Cell phones seem to be a common cause of discourteous drivers. I don’t mean on the highway; out there they are just downright dangerous. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been behind someone at a stoplight and when the light turns green, they just sit there, head bent down as they intently text someone the latest, totally unimportant news. (Cell phones, especially smartphones, are a sore spot with me, regardless. How in the world did we ever along without them?)
Lane discipline is almost completely ignored. I don’t know if everyone is so important that they feel they have the right to inconvenience or endanger the rest of us or if they are just ignorant, but they turn whenever they damn well please. Solid lines have no meaning to them (solid lines are not to be crossed) and turn signals are optional. Every day I watch people cut across multiple lanes of traffic to make a left or right turn, usually cutting off someone else.
Getting on or off a limited-access highway should be relatively easy. The entrance and exit ramps are for acceleration and deceleration, respectively. Too bad people don’t actually use them for that. Traffic may be going the posted limit or higher, but drivers will enter the highway much more slowly, not accelerating until they are actually on the highway, or conversely, slowing to exit while still on the highway. (I remember a Disney cartoon from years ago that compared merging into traffic like operating a zipper. It’s a good analogy for how it should work.)
As far as I know, turn signals have been standard on all cars since the early 1950s – you wouldn’t know that from the frequency with which they are used.
I’ve been driving a long time – since 1965. I’ve done my share of dumb things behind the wheel. But overall, I’ve tried to be a courteous driver. I try to use my turn signals all the time, I try to give the other guy a break, and I try to plan ahead. In fact, if I find that a street that I need to turn onto is coming up fast and I can’t get in the proper lane to make the turn, I will circle the block instead of cutting someone off.
I blame the police, or rather the police departments, for some of the problems on our roads. They just don’t have the presence that is needed. Maybe it isn’t their fault, maybe it’s the fault of the powers that be for not properly staffing police forces, I don’t know. Have you heard of “broken window policing”? It’s the theory that if you don’t enforce the little laws, the big laws become more problematic. I feel the same way about traffic laws; if the police do not enforce the “little” laws (unsafe lane changes, failure to signal, etc.), there are much more severe consequences (terrible accidents, road rage, and so on).
We can become a more tolerant society if we just start observing common courtesies on the roads and in our lives. Think about it.