Tell the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) how you feel about Caltrans' plan to widen Highway 1. MTC's regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) allocates funding for Highway 1. MTC will consider all comments submitted by July 31, so do it now If the project does not make TIP, it is not funded. This draft is for your information only. Please write your comment in your own words and email it today to email@example.com
At San Pedro Creek bridge in the past few days, in the midst of Caltrans' cleanup of the marshy area where the creek spills into the ocean, a huge oil slick can be seen from the pedestrian walkway. Disgusting. Thought you might be in a position to ruffle some feathers about this. I'm guessing the ducks and other waterfowl that made the marsh their home are pretty ruffled about now.
Given the recent pedestrian accident just north of Pedro Point Shopping Center, I've noticed the southwest corner at Linda Mar Boulevard has a sign posted instructing pedestrians to use the crosswalk there to access the north side.
In fact, inasmuch as a signal light has been established at the Pedro Point Road intersection, the jaywalking law applies—CVC Sec. 21955: "Between ADJACENT intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk."
Pedro Point Shopping Center businesses, on (the former) Pedro Point Road, have always had a Highway 1 address. Now they really do!
Cheers to Pedro Point residents who posted a sandwich board at the new Highway 1/Pedro Point Road intersection instructing southbound motorists to bear left. Heaven knows how many southbound tourists intending to parallel the coast took the Pedro Point Road turnoff and wound up lost forever on Pedro Point.
*Editor's Note: Highway 1 is variously referred to as State Route 1, Cabrillo Highway, and Pacific Coast Highway. It just depends on how old you are and which part of California you're in.
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!
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has begun detouring Highway 1 traffic via San Pedro Avenue, south of Linda Mar Boulevard in Pacifica.
As part of the San Pedro Creek Bridge Replacement Project, this detour allows construction crews to begin work in the creek and to construct access to the creek.
Pedestrians have access along San Pedro Avenue facing Pedro Point Shopping Center. Pedestrian traffic south of Linda Mar Boulevard is no allowed east of the old bridge.
Southbound: Traffic continues to Highway 1 by making a right turn on San Pedro Road at the intersection with Linda Mar Boulevard, and then merging back into Highway 1 southbound up the hill to Devil's Slide.
Northbound: Traffic coming downhill from Devil’s Slide continues on San Pedro Avenue to the intersection with Highway 1 and Linda Mar Boulevard, turning left to get back onto Highway 1 northbound or going straight onto Linda Mar Boulevard.
Changeable message signs help guide motorists through the detour. This project ends October 2015 (weather permitting). Road conditions and other info:
I recently dropped by the Caltrans trailer park in Linda Mar and chatted with the man in charge of the San Pedro Creek Bridge project. His crew now has completed prep work for the Highway 1 detour via the Pedro Point frontage road, and actual traffic diversion began June 20. Expect gnarly traffic at reroute chokepoints.
The project is to raise the height of the old Highway 1 bridge over the creek to that of the newer frontage road bridge. The new Highway 1 bridge is supposed to be seismically safer and stronger than the 60-year-old span it replaces.
While I had Caltrans' ear, I suggested posting "WRONG WAY, DO NOT ENTER" signs at the Devil's Slide Tunnels north portal, where the roadway splits on a banked curve entering the Shamrock Ranch bridge to the tunnels.
Warning signs could prevent a southbound driver (especially a drunk or disoriented one on a foggy night) from accidentally entering the northbound lane and causing a horrendous crash with oncoming traffic.
If you drive south toward the tunnel entrance, you will see the split I am talking about right before you get onto the bridge. With all the crazy lane and line markings at that banked curve, you can see the visual confusion and potential for a deadly head-on collision with a wrong-way driver.
And don't get me started on the ridiculously narrow bike lanes alongside Highway 1 leading up the hill to the tunnels, which together with blind curves and excessive motorist speed can only mean that a really bad accident is just waiting to happen.
As you know if you regularly read this blog and my Wandering & Wondering column in the Pacifica Tribune, I am a huge fan of the tunnels. Always have been. But as we learn to drive the new Highway 1 configuration, we are discovering safety issues that could use a tweak or two to make Devil's Slide a safer place to drive and bike. Let's hope Caltrans and the City of Pacifica are listening before it's too late.
There's a common misconception that the public is in favor of the Highway 1 widening plan between Rockaway and Vallemar put forward by Caltrans.
Residents of Linda Mar bear the full effect of traffic on Highway 1 in the mornings and evenings, and would also bear the brunt of construction delays for years. My results from canvassing door-to-door refute the notion that Linda Mar residents favor widening Highway 1.
I knocked randomly on about 1,100 doors in Linda Mar in the order they were on the streets. At about half of the doors, someone answered. Of the folks I talked to, about 60 percent signed the petition to City Council asking it to hold hearings on alternatives to widening. This was about a 4-1 margin over those in favor of widening.
The most frequent reason they gave for signing the petition was the merge from three lanes down to two in each direction that would occur at either end of the widening project. Comments like "Are they (Caltrans) stupid?" were common.
Caltrans has run roughshod over residents in Linda Mar and other Pacifica neighborhoods in both the draft and final environmental impact reports on the widening, finding (without exception) that the suggestions and objections put forward by citizens were without merit.
City Council has not listened to pleas for public hearings on alternatives, choosing to hide behind excuses that it would wait for lawsuits to be settled. Council should hire a traffic consultant to do the job that Caltrans did not do – exploring alternatives to widening that are less damaging to Pacifica.
When will Linda Mar and other Pacifica neighborhoods be heard?
What you see here is a picture of Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County, at the Morrissey Avenue Exit, heading toward Watsonville as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. That's just a few days ago. The traffic was barely moving.
Had you been at this same spot at 4 p.m. on June 10, 2011, three years ago, you would have seen virtually the same thing.
That shouldn't be surprising, right? Same time, same place, same highway; what else would you expect?
Well, you might expect something else if you knew that between 2011 and this year, the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission has spent at least $16 million to add "auxiliary lanes" to Highway 1, in exactly this location, with the idea being that this expenditure would improve traffic flow. What this picture illustrates is how the highway is operating today, with those auxiliary lanes. The project is now complete.
Remember, the idea was that these new auxiliary traffic lanes would relieve traffic congestion. How do you think we are doing with that?
Local environmental advocates, and specifically a group called Campaign For Sensible Transportation, strongly opposed the proposed highway-widening project, before the Transportation Commission made its final, $16 million commitment.
One of the points made by highway widening opponents was that a phenomenon called "induced demand" would result in new cars entering the highway when the project was done, using up any new capacity provided by the project. This is not some weird and wacky environmentalist theory, either. The reality of "induced demand" is well recognized by traffic planning professionals.
So, do you want to widen the highway? You can spend a lot of money. You can cause a lot of air pollution. You can increase the amount of gasoline consumed. But if you want to relieve traffic congestion, highway widening is not going to be your best route to success.
The phenomenon of induced demand means that the post-widening traffic congestion will be just the same as traffic congestion before the widening, but with more cars caught in the jam.
In other words, the Highway 1 Auxiliary Lanes project is working exactly as predicted!
Four years ago I reached out to local Pacifica officials in an effort to have a crosswalk installed at the intersection of Palmetto and Clarendon by Sharp Park Golf Course.
As most residents are aware, this intersection provides access to a park, the beach, and Mori Point. It is also the path that many residents take to get to the 7-11, the Pottery Shop, as well as other small businesses in the area.
There are currently two crosswalks in that area. One crosswalk is a block away in one direction and almost three blocks away in the other direction, therefore, most pedestrians just cross the streets wherever and whenever the traffic allows.
The traffic is heavier now on Palmetto and Clarendon, especially during rush hour, weekends, and most sunny days. Currently, a Highway 1 exit sign points to the direction for coastal access (which is to cross the Palmetto/Clarendon intersection).
Four years ago the city engineer’s office responded to my inquiry. I was told that the intersection didn’t warrant enough traffic. My response was that I’ve never seen anyone or any meters counting vehicles.
I was told that crosswalks give a false sense of security to pedestrians when there is no stop sign. My response was that there are a number of crosswalks in Pacifica without stop signs, for example, the crosswalk one block away by 7-11 or the crosswalk by Eureka Square, or the lighted crosswalk at Manor by Tam’s Restaurant, just to name a few.
The city engineer’s office even said that there have NOT been any known casualties at that location. It was then that I realized the dialog had ended. Since then, Palmetto has undergone a major project putting in underground cables.
Although it seems that this would have been an opportune time to paint the street, nothing happened. Since then there have been several Fogfests, bike races, beach cleanup groups, and running events, all of which pass THAT intersection.
I have watched people walk their dogs, and children ride their bikes across this intersection. I’ve witnessed "close calls" between seniors on mobile scooters and motorists at this intersection. And I’ve seen horseback riders cross the street to ride on the sandy berm.
This month, I reached out to local officials again. I received an encouraging response from a City Council member that the city should re-evaluate the practices in determining when, how, and by whom the traffic count takes place.
I’m not sure whether anything will change at this intersection, but I am calling upon the good people of Pacifica who are familiar with this beautiful area to support this effort. We want to be proactive about this effort and not wait for a tragedy like the rip current warning signs at the beach that were deemed necessary only after people had drowned.
For the safety of pedestrians as well as bicyclists and motorists, I ask that everyone request that the City of Pacifica install a crosswalk to enable pedestrians to cross Palmetto Drive at Clarendon Road. I believe it is in our best interest to not only increase pedestrian safety, but also to create a broader mission to have livable streets and develop a cultural "share-the-road" mind-set in Pacifica.
Along with pavement markings, it is requested that signage notifying drivers of the presence of pedestrians and possibly improved lighting in the vicinity be added as well. Marked crosswalks are used to raise driver awareness of pedestrian crossings and direct pedestrians to preferred crossing points.
Please join other residents who believe increased infrastructure enhancements could better protect our community. If it is determined by officials that un-signalized intersections are a breeding ground for bad motorist behavior, then a crosswalk with a light system or stop sign is requested.
Pacificans and visitors deserve an option considered to be safe, accessible, and comfortable for walkers, the disabled, cyclists, and motorists, whether it be to access the bus stops, coastal recreational areas, and/or the local neighborhood businesses. We are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to give this issue priority attention.
Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) presented its petition to Pacifica City Council on April 28. The petition reads:
"Caltrans' plan to widen Highway 1 is not good for Pacifica. It will cause more problems than it will solve. I support pursuing a combination of alternatives that can improve traffic congestion on Highway 1 and that will be less damaging to Pacifica."