At the Pacifica City Council meeting August 10, Caltrans' bumbling apology for its nine-hour August 3 traffic jam consisted of a bogeyman "lost" email, a midday traffic accident, and three subcontracted asphalt truck drivers who apparently did not own cell phones thus could not be inserted on Highway 1 from the south.
But the real story at the council meeting was the 60+ mobile-home evictees from 22 units of the Pacifica Skies Estates on Palmetto. A parade of visibly disabled veterans, seniors, and long-term Pacifica renters recounted tale after tale of fixed incomes, 60-day notices, and nowhere to go. Several residents mentioned new construction (four-wall) in the Coastal Zone that would probably fall under the purview of the California Coastal Commission if they choose to pursue that option. Those affected may be able to find some temporary assistance from San Mateo County aid agencies.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Palo Alto is going through a similar upheaval as the mostly low-income trailer park between Highway 101 and the bayshore is going to sell for some outrageous sum around $55 million, displacing many hard-luck tenants. A town without pity. Read about it here: Last Trailer Park]
No matter which traffic configuration is in place at Highway 1 and Linda Mar, some dummies persist in selfish driving and making life hell for the rest of us who play by the rules. Tell Caltrans (dot.ca.gov) to put up a sign on southbound Highway 1 at Linda Mar saying “Right Lane Must Turn Right.” Some drivers sit in that right-turn lane waiting for the light to turn green so they can speed ahead and cut off legal drivers waiting in the middle lane to go straight. These road hogs also block motorists who want to turn right for Pedro Point. Honking and flipping the bird should not have to be the norm at this intersection, but the problem will just escalate until Caltrans creates some new signage: RIGHT LANE, RIGHT TURN ONLY, YOU @#$%^&*!
On August 3, Caltrans completely botched a routine road repair and left Pacifica with horrendous traffic all day and into the night. This is unacceptable: · We expect Caltrans to serve our needs. . The traffic mess on August 3 and the proposed widening project show that Caltrans does not have Pacifica’s best interests at heart. · Those on city staff and council who have not asked hard questions of Caltrans need to make a change, and participate in finding positive solutions. · We don’t want a conversation about what Caltrans wants to do to widen Highway 1. · We want a Pacifica-centered dialogue about what WE want for our town.
Let the city know that you want city staff and council to work with the community they represent to ensure that the people of Pacifica, not Caltrans, determine what is best for Pacifica! Also remind them that: 1. There is a lot of community opposition to the Caltrans highway-widening plan. 2. The City Council can and should reject it. 3. The city should hire a traffic engineer consultant to find alternatives.
Keep Pacifica Scenic!
Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) Steering Committee
Still very much a work in progress, the new San Pedro Creek Bridge on Highway 1 in Pacifica opened August 7, with some equipment in place and temporary concrete block guardrails. But the stoplights at Linda Mar need to be retimed, among other needed improvements. For instance, on Sunday northbound traffic was backed up from Linda Mar all the way down to Moss Beach. Ahem, Caltrans, yet another misstep. The ranks of opponents and skeptics of highway widening grew by leaps and bounds this past week, starting with the huge traffic jam on August 3, which Caltrans blamed on a lost email, and ending with this latest fubar of a bridge opening. Not a good showing at all by the state transportation agency. Where is the accountability? We suggest contacting Caltrans by calling, writing, or visiting in person at the Caltrans trailers in the Linda Mar park-and-ride lot. (Pacifica.city photos)
On August 4, Caltrans claimed that its failure to notify the City of Pacifica about planned Highway 1 roadwork was due to a lost email:
"Notification of that road closure came late in the day Monday as a Caltrans spokesperson initially lost the email that was supposed to be sent to the city of Pacifica and interested news agencies."
(Jane Northrop, August 5. Lost email triggers traffic gridlock, Pacifica Tribune, page 1)
But curiously, the August 3 Highway 1 lane closures that the email alerts would have been based on were never even entered into the Caltrans database (see chart above).
All those canceled Highway 1 operations don't bode well for the opening of the San Pedro Creek Bridge, planned for 7 p.m. on August 6, which as of 6 p.m. on August 5 didn't even have guardrails installed yet.
Caltrans Public Information Officer Gidget Navarro did not respond to a midday request for an update on the San Pedro Creek Bridge project.
Caltrans has apologized for not communicating to the city about daytime roadwork on Highway 1 that caused massive traffic backups and frayed tempers on August 3. Apparently, Caltrans "lost" the email notification of the road closure, according to Jane Northrop's Pacifica Tribune story:
"Notification of that road closure came late in the day Monday as a Caltrans spokesperson initially lost the email that was supposed to be sent to the city of Pacifica and interested news agencies." (Northrop, Jane [2015, August 5]. Lost email triggers traffic gridlock, Pacifica Tribune, page 1.)
Subsequently, the state transportation agency canceled plans to continue roadwork August 4. There was no word on when roadwork would be rescheduled. Angry motorists caught in the traffic jams are demanding that Caltrans move to a night schedule, and to give adequate advance notice of any such roadwork.
LOCAL CALTRANS OFFICIALS:
Bijan Sartipi, Caltrans District 4 Director
Sean Nozzari, Deputy District Director, District 4
Southbound Highway 1 in Pacifica was a parking lot August 3, due to two traffic accidents and Caltrans' bonehead decision to do major roadwork in the middle of a workday. Click Comments below this post for angry reactions by motorists caught in the traffic jam. Tellingly, Caltrans ended up canceling roadwork planned for August 4, with no word about when it would reschedule. Hey, Caltrans, here's a clue: Nighttime is the right time!
San Mateo County transportation planners are studying which traffic controls and safety measures to build on midcoast Highway 1 (Gray Whale Cove to Half Moon Bay). Whether you are a motorist, motorcyclist, bicyclist, pedestrian, or anyone else concerned about traveling safely on the midcoast, this plan affects you. Use links above to see all the proposed alternatives.
"Sorry, but we have to occasionally include a political post -- we usually don't do these, but this one would impact us SIGNIFICANTLY and could even drive us out of business: We are for TRANSPARENCY in this project, and it doesn't look like we are getting it. We live AND work right next to this intersection and move through it several times a day from all angles. All you need to do is look at the traffic now that school is out to be really really sure that our traffic problems do NOT stem from a highway that is too narrow, but from the school traffic that clogs up Highway 1 and Reina del Mar. Widening the highway is NOT the solution, finding a way to mitigate school traffic would be far more helpful.
The city manager's plan and critical public responses are available on Riptide. Scroll down to page 3 and see "Pacifica City Manager Reopens Highway Debate" and "Highway Hijinks" (posted July 11), also "Multiple Groups Fight Highway Widening" (posted July 12). And don't miss Carol Fregly's Pacifica Tribune op-ed, July 22:
This story covers most of the issues, with City Council member Sue Digre's mention of newly available traffic signal technology by Siemens and Rhythm Engineering. But it would have been nice if the Examiner reporter had interviewed anti-widening advocates and new council member John Keener, who was elected on an anti-widening platform. (Editor's note to Examiner: It's Calera Parkway Project, NOT Calera Creek Parkway Project.)
Pacifica City Manager Lorie Tinfow's July 1 Tribune op-ed announced a new city/community dialogue on Highway 1 issues. Click the link above to read her column, and click Comments below this post to join OUR highway "conversation."
Above are minutes from meetings of the Project Development Team (PDT) working on the Highway 1 widening plan aka Calera Parkway Project. (George Orwell would have had a field day with these bureaucratic naming parties.) These documents are courtesy of Riptide watchdog Todd Bray, who has been researching this issue for several years.
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)