Now the infamous California Ghost Train to Nowhere is talking about laying tracks between Bakersfield and San Jose instead of Bakersfield to L.A. because it's cheaper than tunneling through the Tehachapi and San Gabriel Mountains to the south. But talk is cheap. Show me the money!
Caltrans says it has stopped some 90 percent of water leaks causing corrosion into the east span of the east span of the Bay Bridge -- with $100,000 worth of industrial-grade caulk to the joint between the asphalt road surface and the guardrails. Lisa Fulton, a Berkeley corrosion expert, said she is encouraged that Caltrans appears to have gotten a handle on the water problem. “Maybe they got something right this time — but we will have to wait and see.” (See the full story at the link above.)
Santa Cruz City Council member writes that even Caltrans admits widening Highway 1 won't fix traffic congestion in that coastal city.
In the Pacificans for a Scenic Coast (PSC) challenge to Caltrans’ highway widening EIR, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Weiner has not issued a final decision. Recently, PSC notified Judge Weiner of a new California Supreme Court decision that is relevant to this case. The new California Supreme Court decision is Center For Biological Diversity v. California Department Of Fish And Wildlife (Newhall Land And Farming Company), 62 Cal.4th 204 (2015) (“Newhall”). Judge Weiner has ordered PSC and defendants to file supplemental 10-page briefs in January 2016 regarding this new decision and how it affects the issues in PSC's case.
PSC believes that the Newhall decision is relevant to PSC’s claim that Caltrans violated the law by certifying an EIR, which failed to consider, or determine the significance of, greenhouse gas emission impacts when the EIR impermissibly claimed any determination of the significance of greenhouse gas emission impacts were “too speculative.”
In addition, the California Supreme Court in Newhall recognized that “fully protected species” are subject to stricter prohibitions under the Fish and Game Code than provided under the Endangered Species Act, and that any “take” (i.e., killing or capturing) of fully protected species is against the law. The San Francisco garter snake is a fully protected species present on and around the Caltrans proposed widening project. PSC believes the Newhall decision is relevant to its argument that the EIR was legally inadequate because it did not disclose that the snake is a fully protected species for which any take is prohibited. The PSC notice and Judge Weiner's order are at the links below:
Will Caltrans ever complete the San Pedro Creek bridge project on Highway 1? This thing has dragged on for months now, and it doesn't look like anything is happening out there anymore, with guardrails and shoulders still unfinished and El Nino storms on the way. It's now a critical public safety issue. After all the excitement about finishing the bridge on time, then a premature grand opening, and now this sloppy, slow anticlimax. Talk about your postcoital dysphoria! What the hell are the coneheads waiting for? Will it take deaths and injuries to spur them to action? Everyone should call Caltrans and the City of Pacifica to demand speedy completion of the bridge project.
Pacificans for a Scenic Coast (PSC) and Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) brought suit against Caltrans for violations of federal environmental protection laws. Caltrans asked to have this suit dismissed. A hearing on November 19, 2015 and a ruling issued today have resulted in Caltrans failing in its efforts to persuade the federal judge to dismiss most of the claims by PSC and PH1A. Although the judge ruled against PSC and PH1A on a few claims, most claims remain viable in the case, and the case will proceed. The judge referred to some of Caltrans’ arguments as “nitpicking.”
The judge is requiring that some claims be stated more specifically. PSC and PH1A will amend their claims to provide more details of Caltrans’ violations of the Endangered Species Act and Section 4(f) of the Federal Highway Transportation Act. PSC and PH1A’s claims of Caltrans’ violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Coastal Zone Management Act will also go forward.
This was not a ruling on the merits of the case. The judge simply said that PSC and PH1A need to amend the complaint to add more details. Attorneys for PSC and PH1A are already at work on amending the complaint to include voluminous information about how Caltrans violated the Endangered Species Act, how the consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was flawed, and how the Section 4(f) analysis was inadequate.
For updates as the case proceeds, go to PH1A’s website ph1a-pacifica.weebly.com or PHwy1A on Facebook.
How do you spell relief? C-O-N-G-R-E-S-S. After months and months of noisy overflights and lots of complaints to SFO, three Bay Area Congressional representatives (Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo, and Sam Farr) have persuaded the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to rethink the unpopular new NextGen flight pattern, which has turned formerly quiet neighborhoods into Thunder Alley. NextGen was adopted to save time and fuel for the airlines (and the environment), but the Feds forgot to consider lifestyle impact on airport neighbors all across the country. Pacifica was particularly hard-hit as SFO takeoffs flew directly over P-Town with greater frequency. Expect to see and hear some changes soon, as promised by the FAA.
Roy Schneider of Milwaukee, owner of Leon's Frozen Custard, also owns this 1936 Stout Scarab, a model often called the first minivan. Schneider says: "William B. Stout was a Michigan-based inventor, best remembered for building the first all-metal airplane and a portable folding house, one of which I own. In the 1930s, he turned his attention to the auto industry with his Stout Scarab, of which nine were made. His goal: to build a car of the future. It was no bigger than a normal car on the outside, with twice the room inside. It had flush window glass and fenders incorporated into the body, so it would drive without wind noise. It had a table, moving chairs, and three cigar lighters." (Photos: Sara Stathas for The Wall Street Journal)
Top: Peter Loeb, Chaya Gordon. Bottom: Cynthia Kaufman, Deni Asnis
Local voters swamped the Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) Fogfest booth September 26-27. More than 300 registered voters signed up to help PH1A educate the public with accurate information based on Caltrans highway-widening plan data. PH1A supports alternatives to the plan and advocates for an independent study that incorporates Intelligent Transportation technology and a multifaceted approach to reducing congestion and making improvements to Highway 1. (Story and photos by Leo Leon)
This news item gives new meaning to the term “pufferbillies.” Pueblo County (Colorado) is debating using money from pot-growing operations outside Pueblo, Colorado city limits to pay for track and signal upgrades and a new Pueblo stop along the route of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief train. Now that’s a super-smart solution for a dope economy! (Sources: Chieftain.com, NationalCorridors.org)
"From 30 feet away, you could taste the asphalt in the air, and from 20 feet away the smoke was choking. Traffic briefly shut down in both lanes as the San Pedro Creek bridge inched toward completion." (Photos and comment above by Pacifica.city, covering Caltrans roadwork on Highway 1 between milepost 40.6 at Ace Hardware and Linda Mar Boulevard)
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.
(story and photo from Pacifica.city)
[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 $55 million, displacing many hard-luck tenants. A town without pity. Read about it here: Last Trailer Park]
No matter which traffic configuration is in place at Highway 1 and Linda Mar, some dummies persist in selfish driving and making life hell for the rest of us who play by the rules. Tell Caltrans (dot.ca.gov) to put up a sign on southbound Highway 1 at Linda Mar saying “Right Lane Must Turn Right.” Some drivers sit in that right-turn lane waiting for the light to turn green so they can speed ahead and cut off legal drivers waiting in the middle lane to go straight. These road hogs also block motorists who want to turn right for Pedro Point. Honking and flipping the bird should not have to be the norm at this intersection, but the problem will just escalate until Caltrans creates some new signage: RIGHT LANE, RIGHT TURN ONLY, YOU @#$%^&*!