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April 25, 2017

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Caltrans is largely a jobs program. If it can get a project, it can get the funding. Competition is limited or nonexistent, and oversight is minimal. Large money is involved. Some of it goes for those workers, a lot goes into a lot of heavy machinery sitting idle (but still generating revenue for the owners of the machinery), and materials sitting idly for years, and a lot of it goes into the administrative side needed to hunt down more projects. All the while, local residents get to tolerate the mess as they squeeze by, hugging those Jersey walls and enduring the closed lanes.

You only need to drive anywhere in the Bay Area to roll through multiyear "improvement " projects that in the end accomplish little more than providing funding for the jobs program. My favorite example would be 238 in the East Bay -- that mess went on for more than 10 years, and once completed, it was no more than two years later that the same crews were out there again "improving" their work of the past decade.

Jobs programs may be a good idea, but if Caltrans wants one, maybe it should go tear up 101 through Burlingame again -- oh wait, it still hasn't finished the last "improvements."

I think killing and defunding this plan needed to happen many years ago. You aren't going to "Fix Pacifica" by paving over it.

Traffic delays during ongoing construction need to be mentioned over and over again. Has anyone tried to drive to Santa Rosa in under two hours? How long has the 101 project there been going on? It seems like a decade.

Down south, on the way to Monterey between San Juan Bautista and Highway 1 (101 to 156 corridor), the bypass and widening project began when my daughter was a freshman at CSU Monterey. I thought the project would have been finished by the time she graduated in 2013. It wasn't. It wasn't done in 2014 when we visited a friend who was graduating.

Then there is the way Caltrans handled the little project that turned our 40-minute commutes into hours, with no coordination with Pacifica PD or City of Pacifica. Nope.

Andrew, hmm -- there's a few problems with your idea -- crosses thru a county park and
would have to eliminate either senior housing on one side or St. Peter's Church; crosses thru parklands;
crosses over water supply lines; would mean a brand-new highway interchange in parklands;
would require highway pushing the grade maximum to go from the flat valley that is San Pedro Valley to cross over the hills to 280; and would create enormous traffic problems as Linda Mar Blvd. would have to be adjusted to line up with this new road. To do the above would require multiple houses to be eliminated.

Looking at that list, I respectfully disagree that your idea "makes far more sense" to do.

Good letter, Bill!

Let's put a stake through this turkey of a highway plan and be done with it.

In an era where self-driving cars will enable greater traffic volume with the same square footage of road, it makes no sense to widen roads or highways in this contentious way.

The bigger threat is temporary blockage of the highway. It makes far more sense to push for an additional connection to I-280, for example, Weiler Ranch Road in Pacifica to Trousdale Drive in Burlingame.

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