The earth is flat. This whole global warming thing is a scam. Trickle-down economics work, and although we had to destroy the village to save the village, I am not a crook, and we've had enough damned talk about the highway widening already.
Troublemaking is afoot. A number of ne'er-do-wells have had the unmitigated gall to request that the City of Pacifica, a sponsoring agency of the Calera Parkway Project, sit down with its residents to talk about the project’s scope and what the city’s approach to it will be—something the city thus far has actively refused to do.
And that’s a really odd thing; you’d think there would be—oh, I don’t know—if nothing else, merely a bit of curiosity on the part of our elected representatives about the role the city will play in a $50+ million project running through the heart of our town, if it’s the best fit for our town, or how residents feel about it, etc., etc. But nope: Cue the crickets, for Saint Caltrans can do no wrong.
These rabble-rousers have been getting a fair bit of serious press coverage lately, and it’s been making Sauron a wee bit uncomfortable as the increased scrutiny is making it difficult to dissemble and explain away the reasoning behind the city’s refusal to openly discuss the imagined highway project.
So, having been summoned by Sauron himself, the Nazgûl, clad in shorts and loud Hawaiian shirts, have stumbled from Mount Doom’s bars to mobilize Pacifica’s mightiest keyboard warriors to arms: the 33 1/3rd Insanity Squadron (“The Fightin’ Shadows”).
“Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?” “Why, I spent $500 to have facts I pulled out of my ass put into print, honey.”
The group’s most recent flailing-about has been to flush more than 500 American dollars down the toilet on a half-page comedy piece in the February 19-25, 2014 Pacifica Tribune, which declares, among other things, that Highway 1 is dangerous (“dangerous” is underlined so that everyone will understand just how dangerous it is), that 99 percent(!) of Pacifica supports the widening project, and oh, the children, won’t someone think of the children?!
(Guys: don’t you know that all jingoistic propaganda should always, always, include references to 9/11 and terrorism—you really whiffed on this one.)
I respectfully request that a second ad be taken out to answer the questions the first ad has now raised:
(1) If Highway 1 is such a deathtrap, shouldn't the city immediately sit down and talk with the public about this?
(2) Why does Caltrans’ own report state that its project doesn't address safety issues? We should get Caltrans to go back to the drawing board and return with a better project—yikes, people are dying out there every day!
(3) Why would a cause that claims 99 percent support be asking additional supporters to join—they've already got 99 percent of this town locked up! It’s almost as if the 99 percent number is completely made up and is merely intended to evoke images of “Occupy Wall Street.”
(4) The children! My god, won’t someone think of the children?!
"Caltrans today is significantly out of step with best practice in the transportation field and with the State of California's policy expectations. It is in need of modernization."
So says a report by the State Smart Transportation Initiative, covered in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee. The California State Transportation Agency, which oversees Caltrans, commissioned the report. The report also cites the Caltrans "culture of risk aversion and even fear." Here is a downloadable PDF of the actual report:
Pacifica City Council has prevented a CEQA hearing on the Calera Parkway Project (widening Highway 1), resulting in the public asking the court for relief, and triggering loss of sphincter control by several locals who advocate buildout of Pacifica.This crowd never refers to the Calera Parkway Project as a roadway segment intended to connect Pacifica and the midcoast to Interstate 280, thus urbanizing the coast.The above map tells thestory graphically.
(National Corridors Initiative report via BZ newspaper, Tagesspiegel, Deutsche Presse-Agentur) Stretches of Berlin’s U-Bahn subway network will have to be rebuilt after the city bought new trains too wide for the tunnels, although the Berlin transport authority BVG claims the work needed doing anyway. Wide ride – a partial mock-up of the new Stadler subway trains for Berlin transit operator BVG on display in Berlin. (BZ newspaper)
Two new train-sets from Stadler Rail were designed to be roomier for passengers, but these extra 10 cm (4 inches) of wiggle-room are proving a logistical nightmare, as the trains do not fit in older, narrower stretches of the underground rail network.
Safety regulations state that there has to be at 50 cm gap between the train and the wall of the tunnel, in order for people to be able to escape in an emergency, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Thursday.
A section of the U2 line between Wittenbergplatz and Bismarckstraße will be widened, meaning passengers will have to take replacement buses from the middle of August to the end of November 2014 during the week after 9 p.m. Other lines will be affected, but these have not yet been confirmed, the Tagesspiegel said.
Tunnels on newer lines such as the U5 and the U9 were built with more room, meaning they can take the new trains. U-Bahn network operator BVG plans on ordering 24 more of the trains from Stadler by 2015 – costing around €158 million (US $205 million) total.
A spokeswoman for BVG said the cost of widening the tunnels was included in the company’s maintenance budget. She said: “Even without the new trains we would have to rebuild the walls [of the tunnels] because in these places we have already reached the set safety distance,” the BZ newspaper reported.
(Posted by John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide, Pacifica, California)
Service area: The FLX Pacifica bus will travel clockwise from Linda Mar Park & Ride along Highway 1 to Crespi Drive, Fassler Avenue, Terra Nova Boulevard, Oddstad Boulevard, and back to Linda Mar Boulevard.
Service flexibility: The bus will operate on a fixed schedule serving SamTrans bus stops, but customers will be able to arrange for direct service within one-half mile of the route by calling one day in advance.
Service hours: Buses will operate every 45 minutes weekdays from about 7 a.m. to 5:40 p.m.
To arrange a ride: Customers will call a designated number up to one day before they want to travel. Rides will be reserved based on availability. The reservation phone number will be available after January 20.
Burlingame city officials want Caltrans to slow down and provide more information about a controversial safety project to fix the intersection on Floribunda Avenue and El Camino Real that could remove heritage eucalyptus trees if a left-turn signal lane is installed.
Burlingame City Council was to vote December 16 on sending a letter from Mayor Michael Brownrigg to Caltrans stating that the city wants Caltrans to adopt the most cost-effective option with incremental changes.
The letter states that “in the strongest terms, the city objects to adding the turn signal lane on historic, cultural and aesthetic grounds ... any improvements should be made with the least possible impact to the environment.”
“This is a really important point of principle and identity for Burlingame,” Brownrigg said. “It’s not just a few trees; it’s the very nature of the part of El Camino that passes through Burlingame. The character is more than just a couple of trees.”
The city recommends that both it, the town of Hillsborough, and Caltrans adopt the least invasive means of enhancing safety first and then assess the impact on the accident rate — roughly 10 accidents a year over the past decade, the letter states.
“If the accident rate has not diminished sufficiently over the next 18 months (for example), then the next more invasive solution would be adopted,” the letter states. “But more than that, it would ensure that the most draconian and irreversible solution — that of creating a multi-lane expansion to El Camino Real with dedicated turn lanes — is the LAST solution to be tried, rather than the first.”
Other options for the location where Hillsborough and Burlingame meet include signal timing modifications, prohibited left turns, and splitting of the main line with left turns to reduce accidents.
Some residents and council members were frustrated with Caltrans' scoping meeting in late November, with many stating that they wanted more statistics and information on the potential effects of different options for the intersection. One resident stated that the meeting seemed like crowd control rather than residents being able to talk with knowledgeable experts. (Editor: Sound familiar, Pacifica?)
Caltrans, which oversees El Camino Real, has filed a Notice of Preparation with the California State Clearinghouse to prepare an Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment to address safety concerns. There have been 107 collisions from January 2002 to December 2011, with 63 collisions left-turn related, according to Caltrans.
The city of Hillsborough wrote its own letter to Caltrans dated December 10. It states that the city “strongly resists any plan to remove [the trees].” It is also asking for another public meeting. The letter was spurred by a need for more data and details on the proposed plans, said City Manager Randy Schwartz.
There is a national register listing for the Howard-Ralston Eucalyptus Tree Rows that flank El Camino Real from Ray Drive to Peninsula Avenue. The listing means that the historic status of the trees needs to be considered as part of environmental scoping. These trees are a defining characteristic of the city and, without the trees, Burlingame is just another city that has opted out of the trees, said Councilman Jerry Deal.
For more than 15 years, Caltrans has been made aware of local interest to improve intersection conditions in the area, including at Bellevue, Oak Grove, and Forest View avenues, said David Reel, vice president and principal of design and planning at AECOM, Caltrans’ consulting firm on the project. Funding of $2 million to improve safety at the intersection was approved in 2011.
Caltrans can’t comment on either letter at this time since it has yet to see either, said Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro. Written comments on the Notice of Preparation will be accepted until December 21. Caltrans will consider hosting another meeting following the deadline, Navarro said.
Please mail comments to Yolanda Rivas, District Branch Chief, Office of Environmental Analysis, California Department of Transportation, 111 Grand Avenue, Mail Station 8B, Oakland, CA 94623-0660; fax 510-286-5600; or email Yolanda_Rivas@dot.ca.gov
(Reported by Angela Swartz: firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-344-5200 extension 105)
Rick Bauman here. I once wrote you about the sad state of Linda Mar Boulevard. Thanks for letting me whine. Well, I can't take it anymore on a similar front. When the late Measure V failed, I was opposed to some of the general points in the propaganda that was mailed out to my house. It stated that we as Pacificans would continue to enjoy city services such as fire, police, etc. But one that stuck out to me was the claim of road patching. Really? Not even the most cantankerous rut has felt the city workers' shovel. Take a poll at the coffee house on that! Well, my point is the constant attention to the island medians that separate the end of Linda Mar Boulevard at Highway 1. It is a big waste of time and city money. They plant and replant them, only to fuss over the weeds that overcome the plantings. The other day as I was waiting at the light, I suggested to a city worker: How about some cement, one and done. If this is some kinda beautification of the lower boulevard, it's sadly not been very successful. Please stop the madness and pave our beaten roads instead. Can we for once be a little practical? Okay, I feel a little better.
Pierre Messerli passes along this timely seasonal reminder: "The beginning of the rainy season may be a good time to remember that your headlights must be on if your wipers are on. Daytime running lights are not enough to comply with the requirements of 'headlights on' because with only the daytime running lights on, your taillights are not on. Don’t get caught!"