Petition: Save Our Pacifica Resource Center
Opinion: Is It Time for the City of Pacifica to Start Thinking About the Unthinkable—Bankruptcy?

Opinion: Comments Impact Hwy. 1 Widening

By Bill Collins, Riptide Correspondent

The proposed widening of Highway 1 generated so much controversy in Pacifica and environs that the project’s environmental impact report (EIR) is delayed while 213 public comments are being considered. That moves release of the EIR from June to October. As the transportation staff says, this downgrades the Calera project from "green" for "on time" to yellow for "delayed."

Will alternatives suggested by the public be evaluated, studied, and given an estimated cost so the most cost-effective option(s) can be known? Before more than $50 million in sales tax (not gas tax) revenue is spent on a controversial, costly, and unsustainable “solution,” all the options must be considered and compared.

These suggestions may not all be effective, but we’ll never know until they’re studied. They came from citizens who participated in several public meetings:

1. Facilitate car-pooling. Most cars have just one occupant.
2. Add a flex lane in the middle, northbound in the morning, southbound in the afternoon.
3. Time intersection lights to reduce stops. There are no backups where Highway 1 is two lanes and without stoplights.
4. Adjust school schedules. This is a schoolday problem only.
5. Provide vans for schoolchildren (without parents driving their own kids).
6. School(s) could coordinate parents driving other nearby kids to and from school.
7. Study putting an underpass at the intersection to obviate the stoplights.
8. Institute more frequent and better bus service with benches and shelters at each stop. You shouldn’t have to use a car to get around in Pacifica.
9. Provide vans to major commuter destinations.
10. Limit turns onto Highway 1 to allow north/south traffic to flow with fewer stops during peak commute times.
11. Meter the flow of traffic entering Highway 1.

Some of these options may be effective in conjunction with others. Even if the highway were widened, car-pooling makes sense. But the transportation bureaucrats have already decided which option they prefer. (Clue: It's the one that allows them to let big contracts to the road builders.) They've stubbornly refused to study the alternatives, ignoring the public's suggestions and declaring our only options to be “widen or nothing.” While some people may not be able to envision other modes of getting around, most aren’t so easily misled. 

Those who don’t or can’t drive deserve better transportation. They also pay the sales tax that funds the Transportation Authority, whose staff is eager to fund the widening. We have a two-tier transportation “system.”

Each of the alternatives is probably less costly and less harmful to neighborhoods and the environment, and offer sustainable traffic relief sooner than the widening (slated for completion in 2016, but probably even later now).  Sustainable because the TA staff admits that someday even the wider Highway 1 would become congested. Then what—another round of widening? Remember when Highway 1 was just two lanes? 

We'll never know what's the most cost-effective use of tax monies until all the options get equal study, so they can be compared. Why hasn’t that happened? Why do those who purport to care about traffic congestion advocate only the widening, which offers no traffic relief for another five years, at best?

Widening highways is a 1960s fix widely discredited for its many limitations. You shouldn't need a car to get around in Pacifica, but that's how almost all of us get around, for lack of alternatives. That'll change as Pacificans demand more options to get around.


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You people do understand, our City Hall could have called Caltrans and asked them to reset the lights in Pacifica. In fact, I called Caltrans as a private citizen and they told me it is a simple request by City Hall. I brought the information to City Hall and they sat on it, circular filed it, or shredded the information. That would have been a very simple request. Asking the local schools to stagger drop-off times and asking the schools to try to car-pool kids in the morning. I understand parents drop off the kids on the way out of town, but many just turn around and come back home. Maybe the open enrollment has to be studied. Send kids to school in their own neighborhoods instead of having people driving kids all over town. A drop-off point in Vallemar would help. Keep in mind this intersection hasn't been changed or been perfected in over 30 years. 30 years ago Vallemar had considerably fewer homes than now.

Remember, the city had the chance to be the lead agency and put money into this project, but they did nothing. This Highway 1 debate has been going on since the mid-1970s.

It is sad that a core few in town would rather see the town fail, file bankruptcy, be dirty and not take its true potential as a beach town, and capitalize on it. Every other beach town on the West Coast makes money off being a beach town, except for Pacifica.

The core group continues to put their self centered needs and wants ahead of everyone else in town. Only the core 50 or so people can not see the writing on the wall.

Only a few parcels in town are left to bring in revenue-producing projects and the same old song and dance goes on.

You claim there was a traffic problem for Peebles to build in the quarry, but now you say there isn't enough traffic to justify fixing Highway 1.

What about the Manor overpass? Last I heard that was crumbling apart. Asking Caltrans to help fix this? I have heard nothing.

When I mention the area around San Bruno, the 1000 housing units built across from Tanforan, I don't hear a word. I offered to bring a couple of the core group over to San Bruno for a field trip and I hear nothing but crickets. I would even sit down with you two and buy you lunch. Traffic flows better through this area and when you consider Bayhill Office Park and Tanforan and the new housing across the street.

Caltrans will do what Caltrans will do. You can start a blog, whine, complain, start a bitch and moan site. Caltrans and the prison union are the most powerful in the state.

Try to sue to slow them down and this core group will be crushed.

Just my .02 cents

Now I am back to work.

please continue.....

Mary gets funny post of the year!

It really pisses me off (please pardon my French and my apologies to the kiddies out there) when the city requests an XGHFRD supplemented by a VYTHJ and augmented with an HFUYF from the DSJTF division of the DMNJUYY. But to make matters worse, they add insult to injury by filing for a BFVJOI. Now that just ain't right! Period. And imagine following that whole mess up by petitioning the GMZXZ for a PKWQA without even a public hearing? Well, now that stinks to high heaven! If only they had appealed to the DOA for an EIEIO PDQ we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. I know hindsight is 20-20, but why does it seem everyone other than me is wearing bifocals on this?

"...but according to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, the City Council must adopt the FEIR and then make a formal funding request to the TA for the TA to allocate $4 million for the design phase."

How can the city adopt an FEIR to fund the design of a project that will require a Coastal Development Permit from the city? There are far too many carts in front of far too many horses for me to understand this.

This is going to gut Pacifica's quaint, scenic Rockaway district, add highway sound walls, and pave over a lot of Pacifica -- changing the scenic and rural character forever -- without any professional look at the many, many alternatives that have been suggested by the public and ignored by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

The City of Pacifica elected officials owe the public they serve to have public forums on this "A Freeway Runs Through It" project proposed for Pacifica.

The City Council decided not to have a public hearing on the draft EIR. Several people appeared at a council meeting to ask the council to do that, but it was not required to do it, and so it didn't. Caltrans will certify its own final EIR. It's not clear yet if the City Council has to hold a public hearing on the FEIR, but according to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, the City Council must adopt the FEIR and then make a formal funding request to the TA for the TA to allocate $4 million for the design phase.

Pacifica City Council must hold a public forum on the Draft Environmental Impact Report. This is not a "backroom deal." This is public money being spent on a public project.

The local paper wrote up the local meeting here:

Once again, the voluminous public input was not taken into consideration -- or even read -- before this vote. There was less than a week's notice for this public meeting about the highway widening.

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