Thursday, April 4, 2013

Comments about the Highway 1 widening noted

Isn't it the case that the studies in bold below were already determined in the Caltrans DEIR?

Pacifica Tribune, Letters to the Editor, 4/2/13.  "class="letterhead">Highway widening" by Todd McCune Bray

Pacificans need 20 more years to figure-out traffic
"Editor:  At last weeks council meeting during Item number 7 (an item Council member Sue Digre had added regarding the highway widening project) there was a lot of talk by our city manager and council members about the final environmental document from Caltrans about the highway widening project. It seems that our council and city manager are awaiting the final document, commonly referred to as an FEIR, because it will have all the answers to their questions. Both staff and council are confident that all the issues they have, all their questions and pet peeves will be addressed in the FEIR.

That sounds great, but to my knowledge, and that of Caltrans itself, neither city staff nor city council ever submitted comments or questions to Caltrans concerning this project when the project's draft environmental document was being circulated to the public and public agencies like the city. A draft environmental document is commonly referred to as a DEIR, and by law must contain a list of impacts a project will have on a variety of issues from air quality, endangered species and even archeological resources.

To be clear, the only real difference between a DEIR and an FEIR is the FEIR contains all the questions and comments the public and public agencies had on the information provided in a project's DEIR (in this case, Caltrans highway widening project) and any responses to those comments. However, in most cases the responses need be nothing more than a brisk "Comment noted," which as you know means virtually nothing and provides no new answers what-soever.

So I'm curious by our city manager's insistence and that of our council about the answers they are waiting for in the highway widening project's FEIR since they never questioned the project or the information presented in the highway widening DEIR. If our council has questions they are waiting to be answered it would be nice to know what those questions are. Item 7 would have given the council a chance to ask those questions directly to Caltrans letting us, their constituents, know what those questions are even if it meant a response to their questions from Caltrans was nothing more than the legally obligatory, "Comment noted."
Reference Caltrans DEIR public meeting outline , 9/22/11, 25 pages, describes stakeholder relationship, opportunities for public involvement including comments, project progress, studies conducted, and alternative project considerations.  Other public meetings included the Environmental Scoping meeting 3/3/10, the public information meeting 6/22/10.  Prior to that there was a preliminary studies meeting (about 2005).  Caltrans is the lead agency for environmental process, and the owner/operator of State Route 1.  San Mateo County Tranportation Authority and  the City of Pacifica are sponsoring Agencies. Public comments provide scoping input to these meetings. Regulatory Agencies provide permitting (page 3).    Related Fix Pacifica articles - Highway 1 articles.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Scooters are the answer to Highway One problems

Beep beep!

todd bray said...

Kathy, why do you add bold script? My LTE did not appear with any kind of enhancements. Why do you add them here? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the city council will bow down to the hippies and noobees and vote down the highway fix.

Of course Pacifica, has to stay poor, broke, dirty and bankrupt, while every other city prospers.

Anonymous said...

coming from Pacifica's fiscal Conservative.

Free Scooters for all

beep beep

Kathy Meeh said...

Todd 9:47 AM, happy to answer your question after you answer my commentary question on the article: "Isn't it the case that the studies in bold below were already determined in the Caltrans DEIR?"

But the "air quality, endangered species and archeological" concerns were all studied in the DEIR. And you may have been asking similar questions then.

BTW, individual city council members did ask questions and make comments during the process, especially at the preliminary studies meeting (about 2005). Further, a written reply from SMCTA referred me back to my city council representative, Jim Vreeland. (At that time the City was the lead agency in initiating action).

Anonymous said...

What some council members asked in 2005 is irrelevant. The DEIR did not exist then. Neither the city council nor city staff asked any questions or submitted any comments on the DEIR.

Kathy Meeh said...

"What some council members asked in 2005 is irrelevant." "Spin it" Anonymous 2:04 PM.

Same questions, same answers, same city council action from about 1998. 15 years, same Highway 1 bottleneck. The DEIR studies are completed, awaiting the FEIR. The cash and financing is now available. Time to move forward and fix the outstanding problem. We all really understand that, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Answer for Highway One.

Scooters for all.

Beep Beep!!

Anonymous said...

I think Pacifica will push ahead on this. You gotta be impressed with council's sly handling of their role thus far. They're perfectly happy to let Caltrans take the heat from the vocal opposition for as long as possible. Then they'll poke their heads up, vote for it, and duck. Of course the real battle will be fought in the courts for many years. Just like the bypass that became a tunnel and took decades to be built. Still, despite some typical stumbling around, this council has found the path of least resistance, irrelevance, and that's incredible.

nyuk nyuk said...

Same old song.
delay, delay, appeal, sue, delay....till the money runs out and the opportunity runs off.
Don't get fooled again.