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March 03, 2010

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How will the six-lane plan affect Rockaway Beach businesses and Pacifica Farmers Market? What is the reaction from Rockaway Beach businesses?

Have the City of Pacifica and SMCTA studied/considered a two-lane modern roundabout at this intersection as an alternative to a short six-lane segment of Highway 1? If so, please publish a link to the study.

I'm for the over/under solution but with a large enough overpass (not a single lane each way like Manor) to accommodate the hordes of tourists expected to visit the pampas grass, homeless-occupied quarry with the well-hidden endangered species! Sorry to be so facetious, greenies...

No offense intended here, gentlemen, but Pacifica has been divided for a very long time, before Highway 1, even before the Manor ditch. The geography that allowed the collection of villages that became Pacifica is more of the reason that comes to mind.

The half-empty retail units in Eureka Square have more to do with bad management than with the freeway being there. I understand that when the Palmetto streetscape improvements are done, I'll finally get my "Palmetto Business District" sign on Highway 1 to let people know we HAVE a business district. Not sure when or if that will happen, but I'm trusting the system on this one for a little longer.

Ask merchants in half-empty Eureka Square how much they like having a freeway that divides Sharp Park and makes access to their businesses difficult.

Another thing to worry about with road-widening and associated "improvements" is last year's SB 375, which exempts development on transportation corridors with mass transportation loci from CEQA and other state environmental regulations. Transportation designs are being created to allow associated development to come under SB 375 guidelines--a far cry from the law's pre-passage PR that said it would help concentrate new development in existing urbanized areas with public transportation hubs.

Uh, lowering the roadbed is what destroyed the town in the first place. The "Great Ditch of Pacifica" is a 1960s abomination that forever divided Pacifica east and west.
The Devil's Slide bypass was another holdover from the bad old days of Embarcadero freeway-type design.
Why these terrible ideas have such persistence is a tribute to inertia, I guess.

BTW, "Caltrans, as owner and operator of Highway 1..." is a false statement. The people of the state of California own the damned highway, not some faceless bureaucracy.

The solution provided by DPZ, and confirmed by Korve (a civil engineering firm specializing in traffic solutions), was to lower the road bed similar to Manor. From a construction standpoint, it's much less expensive and much less invasive. If I remember correctly, there was a preliminary discussion between Peebles, Korve, and Caltrans. At the time, Caltrans was open to that suggestion.

I wonder if they might still be open to it?

I have grown to dislike using the word charrette in anything I write. However, I cannot resist. During a recent charrette put on by Andres Duany, the well known urban planner, he specifically said, "Widening a highway doesn't solve traffic problems. Widening a highway just brings more traffic." It's hard to argue that.

Thanks, Larry, it was Nasha v. L.A.

The case Todd is talking about is probably Nasha v City of Los Angeles. I found a letter from the Alameda County Counsel's office that talks about this issue:

http://www.acgov.org/cda/egp/documents/memo_el_portal_ridge.pdf

When I was first on the Pacifica Planning Commission, a court ruling came out of LA concerning an appointed planning commissioner writing emails, letters to the editor, and newsletters against a certain project that he later voted on. His vote was against the project. The project applicant sued the city of LA, saying the planning commissioner showed bias outside of the public hearing process and should have been recused. He won.

I can't remember the case name, but any Pacifica School District board member from back in 2005 most likely could because I was accused of the same thing. It was a baseless accusation. As a planning commissioner, I had submitted written comments concerning the item to the planning department after first asking if it was okay. The planning director said sure, and the comments were submitted well in advance of the next hearing on the item. In my comments, I had said I thought the project was too big, and according to City AttorneyCecilia Quick that was enough of a concern. But I had said the same thing during the previous hearing, not in letters to the editor, emails, or newsletters.

Feeling I was a no vote against the Cypress Walk project that was to give $15,000,000 to the school district, the board made a big stink about me showing bias based on the outcome of this recently decided court case in LA.

The joke was on the school board. I was going to be a yes vote, but hey, paranoid is as paranoid does. Ask Mike O'Neill or Connie Menefee about it,

"An elected person can show bias, but an appointed person cannot."

Todd, I've never heard of this before. Has anyone else?

Matt, here's a link to the CEQA site, which has an FAQ part.

Mark, the SMCTA staff are well aware of Jim's and Barbara's advocacy for the widening and have instructed those two to knock it off long ago. That advocacy turned into "regional equality," which is just another way of saying the same thing. Measure A doesn't do equality. Both Jim and Barbara are appointed. Jim is an elected official in Pacifica only, and has been appointed by a board of other elected officials to serve on the SMCTA board, not by his constituents in Pacifica.

Steve, as a "fair government" person, you of all people should be interested in the difference between an appointed person, which both Vreeland and Arietta are, and an elected person. An elected person can show bias, but an appointed person cannot.

What would be the reason for recusing themselves?

Public officials often say which options they favor before they vote on them. Is the problem that Barbara and Jimmy V. are in favor of solutions that Todd doesn't like?

I'm a little confused about what we're being asked for input on. What is the "scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Report"?

Could someone please translate that into English?

Mr. Bray misses the point, as he does from time to time. The San Mateo County Transportation Authority board of directors is all elected officials appointed to represent their specific jurisdiction (cities, North County, etc.).
The Citizens Advisory Committee is also all appointed. By design.
So no need to step down because of an appointment: They are all appointed.
As for bias, I am not aware, for example, of anyone on Pacifica City Council recusing themselves from an issue they have supported in conversation, in print, or in a campaign. Ever. Look at Vreeland and the biofuel grease refinery. He was joined at the hip with that thing and voted to spend thousands of dollars on the project that evaporated into thin air with no thought of recovery!
For further information, Mr. Bray can call SMCTA for a full, but accurate, explanation of the appointment details. See, a teachable moment.
Best to all
Stechbart
Rip irregular

John, the need for Jim and Barbara to recuse themselves, versus appreciation any of us have for either public official, are two separate issues. There is an unhealthy stigma attached to recusing oneself that should not exist. If Barbara or Jim wants to advocate for the widening in print, as they have several times in the past, they can do so and should, but it requires recusing themselves from the dais if the issue comes forward. They are both appointed to their seats, which is the kicker.

Barbara Arietta is on the Citizens Advisory Board of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. Barbara was appointed to the board. She should recuse herself from any further votes on this item if it comes to the advisory board. This press release, among other such written comments as a public official for the SMCTA in which she has advocated for the six-lanes solution, makes her deeply biased.

For the same reasons, City Council member Jim Vreeland, as an appointed member of the TA board, should recuse himself from any further votes on this item.

I find it deeply disturbing that Riptide is publishing this piece without notifying its viewers of Barbara's relationship with the TA.

(Editor's Note: Thanks, Todd. Your comment here will serve as clarification of the posted news item by Barbara Arietta, but we also will clarify on the post itself. We appreciate Barbara's civic spirit and actions, but Todd is right that we need to post full disclosure.)

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