Caltrans has apologized for not communicating to the city about daytime roadwork on Highway 1 that caused massive traffic backups and frayed tempers on August 3. Apparently, Caltrans "lost" the email notification of the road closure, according to Jane Northrop's Pacifica Tribune story:
"Notification of that road closure came late in the day Monday as a Caltrans spokesperson initially lost the email that was supposed to be sent to the city of Pacifica and interested news agencies." (Northrop, Jane [2015, August 5]. Lost email triggers traffic gridlock, Pacifica Tribune, page 1.)
Subsequently, the state transportation agency canceled plans to continue roadwork August 4. There was no word on when roadwork would be rescheduled. Angry motorists caught in the traffic jams are demanding that Caltrans move to a night schedule, and to give adequate advance notice of any such roadwork.
LOCAL CALTRANS OFFICIALS:
Bijan Sartipi, Caltrans District 4 Director
Sean Nozzari, Deputy District Director, District 4
Gidget Navarro, Public Affairs, District 4
Dear Mayor and City Council Members:
I am submitting my Public Comments here because I will not be able to attend and speak in person at the City Council meeting on Monday night, August 10, 2015.
Like many others in Pacifica, I experienced the Caltrans Meltdown on Highway 1 last Monday. I am certain that the reasons and excuses will be talked about for a long time. And we'll continue hearing Caltrans excuses and shift of blame well into the future.
Here's my view on Caltrans handling of Highway 1 and what it means to everyone who lives here and travels on Highway 1 in Pacifica.
The planning and execution of this small project by Caltrans was a disaster. Caltrans' performance here speaks volumes because roadway design, construction, and maintenance are core functions of Caltrans. Its communication plan was nonexistent. The take-away lesson for me is do not rely on Caltrans or let it dictate what is best for Pacifica. It is not working for us or with us.
I have lived here in Pacifica for 30 years and on the SF Peninsula for more than 40 years. I have seen traffic and congestion steadily get worse everywhere.
Congestion is rampant in the entire Bay Area. No matter how many millions and billions of dollars Caltrans spends making the roads bigger, the congestion has worsened. We will not solve congestion in Pacifica by following Caltrans "make it bigger" policies.
Pacifica is a wonderful place to live and we have increasing appeal as an attraction for nature lovers and as a coastal destination. Looking forward to what Pacifica should do, any conversation should be focused on what we Pacifica residents want for our town. There is no need for Caltrans to have a say at our "community conversation" meetings.
We need to continue with efforts to reduce congestion and make smart improvements. We should not be distracted by anything Caltrans wants to do regarding the widening of Highway 1. That is our call.
I recently took a look at the Midcoast Community Council website for the towns south of Pacifica. They are pursuing alternatives and doing it without Caltrans. It is a Community Developed Plan. We should look and learn from their experience. Here's a link to their plans:
Please consider all that I have written, and review the link regarding Highway 1 improvements underway at the Midcoast Community Council.
Caltrans' track record on the Bay Bridge, our own San Pedro Creek Bridge, and Highway 1 are examples, and serve as a warning for the existing plans Caltrans has for Highway 1, such as its Calera Parkway Project proposal.
I urge you to JUST SAY NO TO CALTRANS!
In closing, I hope to hear from the city manager very soon regarding my questions about our Pacifica CIP, AB 1600, and Pacifica Municipal Code Section 08-15, relating to the Highway 1 Fund and other related issues.
Posted by: William Leon | August 07, 2015 at 11:45 AM
"What we got here is...":
Posted by: Carl May | August 06, 2015 at 08:27 PM
Bumbling, stumbling Caltrans in action. And they're arrogant about it! This was just a preview of coming attractions.
Posted by: Julie Hartsell | August 06, 2015 at 06:06 AM
Caltrans District 4 mouthpieces:
Posted by: Carl May | August 05, 2015 at 11:05 PM
I understand the email can be found somewhere on Hillary's private server, i.e., as long as it wasn't marked "Classified".
Posted by: Mary Jana | August 05, 2015 at 07:12 PM
" District 4 of Caltrans has its own PR department" --
Does anyone have the contact information for those in this department?
Posted by: Laurie Soca | August 05, 2015 at 03:52 PM
"no paper trail in lost emails"
Findable with forensic analysis.
Posted by: Jay Bird | August 05, 2015 at 03:51 PM
Ha, lost the email -- no paper trail in lost emails.
Posted by: todd bray | August 05, 2015 at 02:08 PM
My dog ate my email! What a pathetic excuse! I don't think adults are entitled to use this lame old fib. If the public buys this load of crap, maybe they would be interested in hearing about Caltrans' rusty bolts from the Bay Bridge, or Rosemary Woods' missing 18 minutes of tape from the Nixon White House. Give me a break!
Posted by: John Maybury | August 05, 2015 at 01:28 PM
What do comments on the stupidity, cupidity, waste, and arrogance of Caltrans have to do with the legal points in the lawsuits against Caltrans and associated pavementheads? Do people realize District 4 of Caltrans has its own PR department (operating under the guise of "public information") pushing the agency's agenda and shading issues and the truth surrounding Caltrans's activities and self-serving intentions?
Posted by: Carl May | August 05, 2015 at 01:11 PM
Lost Email Triggers Gridlock
"Notification of that road closure came late in the day Monday as a Caltrans spokesperson initially lost the email that was supposed to be sent to the city of Pacifica and interested news agencies."
Northrop, J. (2015, August 5). Lost email triggers traffic gridlock, Pacifica Tribune, p. 1.
Posted by: www.Pacifica.city | August 05, 2015 at 12:58 PM
I don't know if you are personally involved in the current Highway 1 litigation. I know Mr. Loeb is.
Whatever happened to the comment "Due to pending litigation, I cannot comment"?
I have been told never to comment to anyone during pending litigation.
I am sure lawsuits have been lost in the past due to social media posts.
Posted by: bigbanker | August 05, 2015 at 08:09 AM
If you relied solely on the Caltrans alerts as your information source, you would be left with the FALSE impression that the six-hour "rush hour" on July 3, 2015 was caused by a traffic accident, not an intentional Caltrans lane closure.
"Received 8/3/2015 - 12:58pm ////
Be aware that there is heavy traffic on Hwy 1 in Pacifica due to a couple of accidents. Emergency crews will be towing the wrecked vehicles thus traffic may be heavy until 130pm. Use alternate routes as can. Thank you. -- See more at: http://www.pacificariptide.com/pacifica_riptide/2015/08/caltrans-admits-it-screwed-the-pooch-today.html#comments" - Jay Bird
Posted by: www.Pacifica.city | August 05, 2015 at 07:21 AM
Carl May's comment is Right On! Caltrans apologized for "failing to communicate" that it would be creating a horrific traffic jam, but it did not apologize for actually creating the traffic jam. What AMAZING arrogance and insensitivity!
Posted by: Hal Bohner | August 04, 2015 at 06:53 PM
Don't you mean "CALTRANS COMMITS A 'CHRISTIE'"
(as in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's traffic jam collusion scandal)?
San Mateo County Emergency Alert system sent out four alerts re Highway 1 traffic on 8/3 & 8/4. Is it credible that the City of Pacifica could not be notified in a timely manner?
Received 8/3/2015 - 12:58pm ////
Be aware that there is heavy traffic on Hwy 1 in Pacifica due to a couple of accidents. Emergency crews will be towing the wrecked vehicles thus traffic may be heavy until 130pm. Use alternate routes as can. Thank you.
Received 8/3/2015 - 4:36pm ///
On Tuesday, August 4, 2015 between 9:30am and 3:30pm Caltrans will be doing road work in the northbound #2 (right) lane of SR1. The right lane will be closed and you should expect traffic delays. Please plan accordingly.
Received 8/3/2015 - 4:59pm //
On Tuesday, August 4, 2015 between 9:30am and 3:30pm Caltrans will be doing road work in Pacifica in the northbound #2 (right) lane of SR1. The right lane from Fassler Ave. to Reina Del Mar Ave. will be closed and you should expect traffic delays. Please plan accordingly.
Received 8/4/2015 - 11:36am /
The Caltrans work scheduled for today in Pacifica on northbound SR1 between Fassler Avenue and Reina Del Mar Avenue has been cancelled. As of now, there is no information regarding future road work.
Posted by: Jay Bird | August 04, 2015 at 06:51 PM
JUST SAY NO TO CALTRANS
Posted by: Peter Loeb | August 04, 2015 at 05:04 PM
In similar traffic situations on Highway 1, does anyone else get as frustrated as me when impatient individuals traveling home start taking the frontage roads and cause even more of a backup? Doesn't anyone realize that the MERGING is the issue? Anyone else notice that it all clears up right AFTER the Moose Lodge? Anyone?
I'd love to see our PD, as a test, just once, keep traffic on the highway in "unexplained" backups. I know that in situations like yesterday, other tactics are needed, and this wouldn't have solved the issue by any means. But I'm sure it would work. Compare to your commute out of Pacifica. It's the same amount of traffic.
Posted by: Frustrated Commuter | August 04, 2015 at 03:32 PM
So Caltrans apologized for failing to communicate that it was going to clog traffic for miles (not only on Highway 1 but on all the frontage streets and on-ramps), but not for the mess itself?
This is the agency we are supposed to trust with the multiyear widening project? This is the agency our local pave-to-infinity, highway-widening proponents have in mind when they say, "Leave it up to the experts"?
Posted by: Carl May | August 04, 2015 at 03:10 PM
Let's hope the apology was more than a phone call.
Posted by: todd bray | August 04, 2015 at 02:55 PM
I have a question for Riptide. Your headline says "Caltrans Admits Screwup." Where was the admission? Could you publish it, please?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Please see the August 3 Pacifica Police Press Release linked at the top of the story: "The City of Pacifica did not receive any advance notification from Caltrans regarding today’s work at the highway and Caltrans has since apologized for failing to communicate.")
Posted by: Hal Bohner | August 04, 2015 at 01:30 PM
@Tony, yes and no.
At 6:58 p.m. northbound on Highway 1 (at Reina Del Mar, hence RDM), no police directing traffic.
At 8:45 p.m. southbound on Highway 1 (at RDM), two officers on foot in center of intersection directing traffic.
Not positive what the strategy was, but it appeared they were free-flowing traffic south and stopping traffic north only to empty the southbound left-turn lane when it filled with cars.
In a potential worst-case southbound traffic emergency, there is also the possibility PPD could block all southbound left turns from Highway 1 to RDM and U-turn (currently prohibited) all RDM-bound traffic at Highway 1 at Linda Mar Boulevard back north.
Posted by: www.Pacifica.city | August 04, 2015 at 12:54 PM
If Bijan hasn't lost his job over the new Bay Bridge or the $10 million coffee table book he had made for the project, I don't think there is a way for anyone at Caltrans to lose their job. Bijan Satipi has got to be as secure as a Bay Bridge anchor bolt.
Posted by: todd bray | August 04, 2015 at 11:54 AM
I still want to know what the heck they were DOING (besides staring blankly down at the road as I was driving by). Repaving the road, yes, but WHY? What was the issue or problem that necessitated this kind of work and subsequent negative COMMUNITY-WIDE EFFECT?! Caltrans too often seems to get away with "roadwork" like this. Is it job security? What exactly is going on?
Posted by: Marie | August 04, 2015 at 11:28 AM
I hope all officials learn from this deplorable mistake:
Pacifica City Council and Police Department:
1. This traffic is right in front of the Police Department building, but I did not see any officers directing traffic.
2. Someone from the Police Department should have suspected Caltrans was up to something and questioned if they had a permit to block Highway 1.
3. Elected Pacifica City Council members must have been aware of this traffic and should have acted in a civil service fashion.
4. I saw construction people sitting on their vehicles when I passed through the construction zone on Highway 1. Were they waiting for miracle?
5. How much of a carbon footprint did hundreds of vehicles stuck in the traffic jam leave at that time? There goes our healthy Pacifica air quality.
Posted by: tony | August 04, 2015 at 08:18 AM
It's the old standby: do it, and ask forgiveness afterward.
Posted by: Jay Bird | August 04, 2015 at 12:46 AM