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SMCTA & Highway 1: A Very Controlled Meeting

 BY NICK DANGER, THIRD EYE

In Pacifica City Council chambers June 22, an informative, scripted, and controlled meeting was held on the proposed widening of Highway 1. The San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) presented information on its long-standing plan to widen Highway 1 from four to six lanes between the Fassler/Rockaway Beach and Reina del Mar intersections.

The preferred alternative plans, according to SMCTA consulting engineers, actually widen to eight lanes at the Rockaway Beach intersection, including two turn lanes. Many alternatives were listed on one sheet of paper for the first time, and visual diagrams of various alternatives were papered on the walls of the room.

Estimated commute time saved in building this "parkway" is five to seven minutes. The term "freeway" was mistakenly used several times by the moderator, an accomplished public outreach consultant. It didn’t fit the script and a public official was heard to mutter from the back of the room, "It’s not a freeway!"

A key question from the audience (on a form read by the moderator—no town hall style here, thank you) asked about Pacifica City Council’s responsibility in the coming process: What is council's role and how will it influence the process? SMCTA’s Joe Hurley replied that it was "too early to ask that question" but ultimately said that no formal requirement of the council is needed.

Public comment on the Calera Parkway Project closes July 22. Mail comments to SMCTA, P.O. Box 3006, San Carlos, CA 94070; fax to 650-508-7938; or email to smcta_feedback@samtrans.com (put "SR1/Calera Parkway" in subject line).

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"That the council may not be needed any further in this process and that any input from a regulatory agency will also address the quarry makes this issue a much larger issue."

Good gracious, WTF! If that's the best way someone can analyze it, we're in deeper doodoo than I thought.

The only folks for whom this is a "preferred alternative" are those who ran the very closed "informational meeting." City Engineer Van Ocampo spoke at the podium to say that "the widening segment of Highway 1 will help business in Pacifica." Well, if it goes through, it will keep his department busy. Maybe that's what he meant.

Reposted from Fixpacifica.nag:

"To Kathy and Batman, Kathy is right the next step is the EIR. However that does not mean the project is in anyway permitted. Regulatory agencies often offer comments to EIR's from staff. These comments are not determinations, which must come after the EIR is finalized and permitted through the lead agency which is not Pacifica but Caltrans. It looks like this project may not need to come before council for any further approvals before it is approved, permitted then built.

The project is confronted by the same regulatory agency issues as the Quarry. Any comment and/or determination by a regulatory agency will in essence be making those statements for both properties, the highway corridor and the quarry.

That the council may not be needed any further in this process and that any input from a regulatory agency will also address the quarry makes this issue a much larger issue. This permitting process for the project will also be the basis for permitting in the quarry, A two for one publicly fund work around for the quarry owner."


"What is council's role and how will it influence the process? SMCTA’s Joe Hurley replied that it was 'too early to ask that question' but ultimately said that no formal requirement of the council is needed."

City Manager Steve Rhodes says a memo will be released clarifying this statement.

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