Pacifica Tribune/My Turn/Jim Wagner and Mark Stechbart, 1/19/17, "Highway 1 is Pacifica's lifeline."
|Highway 1 solution: retaining wall, and widening.|
Nextdoor erupted with comments. Concerns were expressed over the daily commute congestion in this stretch of road. With the loss of a lane due to the slide, people questioned how we would get out of town quickly and safely in the event of a major disaster.
The short answer is you won’t anytime soon. But we do have some suggestions.
The area where the slide took place is a vertical unstable rock and dirt cliff. A recipe for disaster. Notice the west side road cut opposite the slide area. The west side is contoured at an angle and planted. No slide here.
The solution is obvious: make sure City Council immediately takes action to cut back the east side to an angle and rock stability that stops slides. Install a nice painted and sculpted retaining wall that looks like the walls around the Devil’s Slide tunnel. No more grey concrete. The temporary white crash barriers currently installed to corral rock falls can then be removed.
The long-term Highway 1 commute solution is also obvious. We need to adopt the current plan of one more lane north and south to take cars turning to Vallemar School and up Fassler, and the cars turning north, out of the main two traffic lanes until the turning cars can merge.
|The ongoing alternatives (no solutions),|
and potential hazards awaiting disaster.
Will the new City Council pay attention to the clear wake-up call of this slide-induced commute mess? Not clear. We expect another round of debate over alternatives. Take the bus, ride share, work at home, ride your bike. If those suggestions had merit, folks would already be using them.
The newest “alternative” that we think is grasping at straws is light timing. Modern tech can somehow rig two traffic lights in a fashion that cures the commute congestion.
This issue will be before Council soon. May 6, 2013 was the last time light timing was evaluated by city staff and the actual light timing company (In/Sync). Councilmember Sue Digre set the meeting up but neglected to attend. The city manager’s report from the meeting says: “(Insync) said that synchronization would not result in any improvement in traffic flow during the peak periods…. the solution was to pursue a capacity increased improvement.”
Déjà vue all over again. 2006 Pacifica mayor letter says widen. 2013 light timing meeting says widen.
Will this City Council break the pattern of ignoring the obvious? We commute in cars. We drop students off at Vallemar School in cars. One more lane each way means we have an easier commute. And we can fix an unstable cliff waiting to slide again. Pacifica just had a wake-up call. Time to pay attention."
"Pacifica Tribune Editor’s Note: Jim Wagner and Mark Stechbart are long-term Pacifica residents. The documents referenced in the above My Turn column can be obtained through Public Records."
Permission to reprint text by Jim Wagner and Mark Stechbart
Related comment. "Council to Waste a Quarter of a Million Dollars. So we are going to spend $250,000 of money, designated for fixing our highway, on a system (InSync) that won't work when we need it!!? The company itself says it won't work during peak hours. Who's brilliant idea is this? Oh, let me guess. Is it the same council member that failed to show up for her own meeting with this company where they told the city it won't work a few years ago? hmmmmm. This is crazy. Fix the highway and quit fooling around. It's a choke point and it's dangerous." (Jim Wagner)
Related 1/9/17 mudslide news articles. NBC Staff, video, 1:29 minutes, "Mudslide closes portion of Highway 1 in Pacifica". KRON4 Staff, video 13:05 minutes, video 13:25 min "Landslide closes NB Hwy 1 in Pacifica." Note 1/9/17 photographs. Vehicle back-up image to Emily Kirschenheuter KRON4 tweet. "Landslide closes NB Hwy 1 in Pacifica." Mudslide image to NBC Bay Area/South Bay/Staff,"Weekend Storms Shut Down Highways in Bay Area." "A mudslide about 3 a.m. Monday closed lanes on Highway 1 in Pacifica at Reina Del Mar."
Posted by Kathy Meeh