Comments, please? Well, maybe later. Calera Creek Parkway’s EIR is ready!
BY LIONEL EMDE, RIPTIDE CORRESPONDENT
More than 100 people attended a public meeting September 22 at Pacifica Community Center to make public statements and/or ask questions of Caltrans and San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) about the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Calera Creek Parkway project.
After budgeting more than $2 million for consultant help on the study and the three presentations the public has been faced with, only three alternatives are offered: a six-lane highway between Vallemar and Rockaway with a planted median, meaning shrubbery and a wider roadway; a six-lane highway between Vallemar and Rockaway with a “narrow” unplanted median; or no project at all.
The transportation agency presenters ate up 43 minutes of the two-hour meeting supposedly devoted to public comment. They rehashed the project, presenting the same material many people attending had already heard at two previous meetings.
Of 31 people who spoke before this writer went home at 9 p.m., 18 said no to the highway widening, nine said yes, and four either didn’t state a position or had further questions for authorities before issuing an opinion. Some commenters had interesting questions:
Mike Ferreira, representing the Sierra Club's Loma Prieta chapter, asked why Pacifica City Council had not held any public meetings on this issue since 1999. He also asked what the council's position might be.
Tod Schlesinger asked, if the project does not go forward, whether other traffic problems in Pacifica would be addressed. He mentioned eliminating the Fairway Park pedestrian crossing and “fixing the Manor Bridge,” as well as other local issues.
Sabrina Brennan, a resident of Moss Beach who is part of a “Coastside Bicycle” group, said she asked authorities if bicycle lanes were part of the project; authorities said they were not.
Several people requested an extension of the public comment period beyond October 7 to clarify Pacifica City Council’s position and solicit further public comment. Also noted was the age of the data presented as justification for the highway widening. 2005 to 2007 were the years when data were taken. But Todd Bray said a very recent study had noted an improvement in the level of service to “E,” slightly better than in earlier studies.
Send public comments on the project until October 7 at 5 p.m. to Yolanda Rivas, Branch Chief, Division of Environmental Planning & Engineering, California Department of Transportation District 4, Attn: Thomas Rosevear, 111 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94623. Fax to 1-510-286-5600 or email email@example.com