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November 16, 2011

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If anyone actually reads and critically analyzes the Calera Parkway DEIR, it’s readily apparent that it’s a very poorly prepared document. Now we have the Coastal Commission letter pointing out some of the many ways in which the DEIR is inadequate. This is why a number of people were asking the Pacifica City Council to look at the DEIR and take public comments on it. The CCC letter is saying that the DEIR does not address so many obvious and important issues that Caltrans should revise and re-circulate it. The letter also says “the majority of the project lies within the City’s jurisdiction,” something that city staff and City Council seem not to appreciate.

The CCC letter says the widening will “result in significant adverse impacts to coastal resources.” Some of the major issues that the letter says the DEIR does not adequately address are visual impacts, especially of retaining walls and other barriers, and impacts on “important public views” and impacts on biological resources, including wetlands and sensitive species habitats. The letter says the DEIR’s brief discussions and dismissal of alternatives besides the widening are inadequate, especially because the DEIR does not even consider the benefits of combinations of the alternatives, such as combining widening at Reina Del Mar, signal timing improvements, and increased school bus service.

One possible outcome of this process is that the final EIR will be so bad that it will not be approved by the Coastal Commission, and even if it is, it may not survive a legal challenge. My concern is that people who are critical of the EIR will be blamed for stopping the widening, when in actuality the blame should be on Caltrans for doing such a crappy job.

CCC makes a good point that the widening option gives no traffic relief until 2016 at the earliest, so why disregard the 10 alternatives suggested for study by the public?

Anyone who really cares about traffic congestion should be calling for quicker solutions, even if you wanted the widening.

Very pleased to see the CCC staff agree with so many points most Pacificans have brought up recently and in the past, especially the issue of rewriting the DEIR/EA document and recirculating it because so much information is missing and because of the document's blatant bias for a six-lane project. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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