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April 29, 2014


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Engineers? At Caltrans' collapsing bridge in Willits?

Trust engineers -- they built the Bay Bridge; they can save the earth!!

Caltrans is going to cost the state billions of dollars in additional fees to repair and rebuild a broken Bay Bridge. Bridges, when they fail, cost innocent lives. Why would we let them build anything on the coast, let alone an unneeded, dangerous widened highway segment?



What works (sometimes) against Caltrans?

How wide is the highway? What Caltrans proposes:

So many people showed up in support of studying alternatives to the proposed widening of Highway 1, and several spoke.

The City of Pacifica, project sponsor and project owner, has never had any public meetings on this project, which will impact every aspect of life in Pacifica.

Caltrans claimed that it looked at alternatives; it is clear that Caltrans did not study alternatives thoroughly or adequately, and even in one case claimed review of school bus schedules -- by reviewing SamTrans bus schedules. SamTrans does not provide school bus service.

It is clear that Caltrans did not explore all the alternatives, nor did it look at any alternatives in combination.

And it is clear that Pacifica residents have never been asked whether they want a massive freeway section as wide as a football field, with merges on both ends.

San Jose Mercury News reports on the meeting:

The April 28 City Council meeting will be rebroadcast Thursday, May 1 at 3:30 p.m. -- and will be posted on the web as usual by local public TV Channel 26.

I'm with Bob. Over the past several years, the few times I did go to a council meeting, Tod Schlesinger was being egged on by members of the Chamber of Commerce board. Tod would get up bitch and moan about this or that on every item and then return to his little circle of Chamber of Commerce antagonists for pats on the back and "attaboys" from his handlers.

It's too bad the TV 26 cameras don't show that side of council meetings, the backside of council meetings.

One of the most beneficial & “funny” outcomes of last night’s City Council meeting was the Schlesinger episode that was captured on video by the cameras of local Channel 26.
What we witnessed was a Schlesinger episode in which he angrily identified his scapegoats while denouncing them by combining their existence with that of Leland Yee, who he denounced as a “crook.” The “scapegoating” & holding up both hands with the index fingers extended (the gynecology sign/gesture) was accompanied with a loud & manic torrent of words that demanded the attention of the council. Among those words were his demands to be heard & his bizarre assertion of his right to free speech (freedom of speech).
This behavior was marked with the acting out of grandiose thinking (important personage demands “order” & in a manic fury asserts “free speech”). All this while ridiculing hate objects & attempts by the chair to gain compliance in conformity with well-established public hearing procedures that deal with public communications with the council. Schlesinger’s “performance” episode amounted to what could be described as a form of “psychodrama” in the sense of Moreno.
The reality is that Schlesinger is one of the loudest voices of the reactionary right in town. His “performance” before a very well educated, accepting & mature audience amounted to generalized irrational anger that was directed at the conservation movement. The reality is that Schlesinger’s episode was just “laughed off” by the “cool heads” in the audience.
The Schlesinger episode proved to be somewhat of a laughable event & perhaps the touch of a catharsis for the gathering. If nothing else, Schlesinger revealed himself to be a very marginal man.

According to Caltrans’ Final Environmental Impact Report, construction of the project would last AT LEAST two years. Caltrans won’t predict how extreme the traffic delays would be, but it’s not hard to imagine the traffic delays during construction. After the project’s done, commuters would find their traffic improved at the Reina del Mar intersection and at the Fassler intersection. You might ask how much improvement commuters would experience. Caltrans predicts that during the a.m. commute, drivers would see an improvement of 23 seconds at the Reina del Mar light and about 2.5 minutes at the Fassler light. Is the cost of hours of delay during the “at least” two years of construction really worth it?

Haven't seen much support from anyone who wants the highway widened -- seems there are too few of them to attempt to get signatures or a show of public support. After all, only one-third of those who commented on the DEIR supported the widening.

Grassroots citizen involvement won the Devil's Slide battle (now everybody claims to have been pro-tunnel all along), and stopped the 380 freeway from extending to Pacifica. Someday, nobody will admit to having supported doubling the width of Highway 1, either.

The PCT website says the City Council meeting will be rebroadcast (or I should say, broadcast for the first time) at 1 PM today, April 29.

There was a problem with the Comcast uplink. The meeting was recorded and will be replayed. Check PCT 26 for times.

Fifty or more people showed up to tell City Council that they wanted council to look at a combination of alternatives to the Caltrans super-wide highway plan. They presented petitions signed by more than 1,200 people. The petitions say, "The Caltrans plan to widen Highway 1 is not good for Pacifica. It will cause more problems than it will solve. I support pursuing a combination of alternatives that can improve traffic congestion on Highway 1 and that will be less damaging to Pacifica."

Anyone know why the City Council meeting is not being televised tonight? I was looking forward to watching the discussion on Highway 1.

Is it a meaningless coincidence that Pacifica's most vibrant business district is where Caltrans didn't yet "fix" Highway 1? I think the primary reason why the south end of town is doing as well as it is has to do with easy access and a highway that does not funnel all traffic through and away from that section of town.

Alternatives to the "wide" and "wider" options have not been considered or adequately addressed by the City of Pacifica -- named by Caltrans as a project owner -- and Caltrans itself, despite many requests.

The proposed project is not just "one lane in each direction."

The proposed project in actuality calls for more than 10 lanes at intersections, wider than a football field -- more than double the current road width, more than a minute to cross, highway divider walls, a merge at each end, removal of trees on both sides of the highway, some 5 acres of quarry land by eminent domain -- all using public money at an initial estimate of $50 million.

Less intrusive, much less costly, easy to implement alternatives would serve the community in Pacifica much better, while keeping Pacifica a scenic coastal town that's a fun place to live. With money left over for public transit or other, well-qualified, and more-needed projects.

Alternatives are listed here:

See the Caltrans diagram here:

To see for yourself exactly how this project will affect Pacifica's vibrant business district, go to one of the presentations by PH1A. Using only Caltrans documents and diagrams, PH1A shows the full extent of this massive proposed highway segment and walls.

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