Sunday, December 29, 2013

Coastside Highway 1 traffic almost as much fun as driving through Pacifica

Half Moon Bay Review/Katarina Stein (Special), 12/26/13.  "Let's do something about that morning traffic."

Morning traffic about 50 minutes,
El Granada to Half Moon Bay
"School doesn’t begin at Half Moon Bay High until 7:55 a.m., but I have to leave my home in El Granada at precisely 7, and not a minute later. It may seem strange to leave an hour early, considering that Half Moon Bay and El Granada are only about a 10-minute drive from each other. However, the amount of traffic between the two towns is grueling. 

Even after getting past the traffic of the commuters, getting up the hill to the high school is a whole different ordeal. Public transportation on the coast is incredibly lacking, and something needs to be done unless our community enjoys wasting mornings sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The roads are gridlocked in El Granada all the way around the intersection of the four feeder streets. Many people take Obispo Road, hoping to squeeze in ahead, even though there’s a stop sign. The people who have been waiting in line for ages to get on the highway are forced to let them in, and it’s extremely rude and irritating.

....  The problem is clear. Traffic affects all Coastsiders who have places to be in the morning. We live in a community that is especially aware of the negative effects of cars on our marine ecosystem. Shouldn’t it be an easy sell to get the entire community interested in creating alternative modes of transportation? I am sick and tired of wasting my mornings in traffic, and I’m sure everyone else on the coast is too. Let’s do something! 

Katarina Stein is a Half Moon Bay High School junior. She wrote this originally to fulfill an assignment in Bryce Hadley’s English class and agreed to let the Review publish it."   Read article.

Note:  photograph from  Places, Earth. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Interesting article written by a high school student. Morning traffic congestion south of the slide is a problem just as it here on that stretch of Highway 1 from Rockaway to Vallemar. The solution proposed by the student isn't Caltrans widening the highway though. She says, "Staggering the start and end times of the elementary, middle and high schools would change the times parents leave the house and cut down on traffic. The school’s management of start and end times for the school day has the greatest impact on the traffic on Highway 1 and determines quality of life for all Coastsiders."

Hutch said...

Good solution 548 except there is traffic morning, evening and weekends here in Pacifica. The school is not the problem. I know you guys think you know more than highway engineers. Maybe you should team up with the high schoolers and come up with more alternatives that won't work here like timing traffic lights.

Anonymous said...

The congestion on Highway 1, both in Pacifica and in Half Moon Bay, is caused by the traffic lights. Eliminate the traffic lights and you eliminate the congestion problem. That's why widening the highway won't work. It's why an overpass and underpass system that eliminates the light at Vallemar will solve the congestion problem in Pacifica. It doesn't take a traffic engineer to figure this out, although the Caltrans traffic engineers have said exactly that.

Steve Sinai said...

If you get rid of the traffic lights, how will people get onto and off of Fassler?

Anonymous said...

But the Pacifica Brain Trust and think tank, Loeb, Bohner, Bray, Butler etc say the school is not the problem.

Retiming the lights is a very simple fix.

The Brain Trust also said we had too much traffic in town for Peebles quarry project now we have too much traffic for a highway 1 fix.

The Brain Trust is Pacifica's major problem.

Anonymous said...

Eliminate the light at Vallemar, not at Fassler.

Hutch said...

830, You're full of it. Show me where Caltrans engineers have said an under/overpass would be a better option.

You said "It doesn't take a traffic engineer to figure this out"

You guys said that timing the traffic lights was the solution until the company who does it said it wouldn't work here.

You were wrong, experts were right.

Then you said buying buses and changing the school schedule was the answer until the district said that is not an option.

You were wrong, experts were right.

Now you're saying an overpass is the answer even though Caltrans doesn't think so.

Why don't you just admit that your real goal is to kill this project any way any how because you think it will open the door to a building boom?

Anonymous said...

FEIR vol 1, p. 37. "This [grade separation] design alternative would provide a vertical separation between SR 1 and Reina Del Mar Avenue. Direct conflict between SR 1 and Reina Del Mar Avenue would be eliminated and access would be provided by interchange on and off ramps, creating stop-sign controlled intersections on Reina Del Mar Avenue for traffic entering and exiting SR 1. Northbound and southbound through traffic on SR 1 would no longer have to pass through a signalized intersection at Reina Del Mar Avenue. This alternative would provide the most substantial travel time benefits for traffic on SR 1."

Anonymous said...

By all means, let's push for an interchange/overpass at Reina Del Mar and Highway 1. Perhaps a huge concrete monstrosity, the bigger the better. Something spectacularly large that will really put a blight on our town. We should also push for similar interchanges at Fassler, Crepsi, and Linda Mar Blvds, so that we don't slow those motorists down who are headed to scenic Half Moon Bay.

Hutch said...

10:28 I just looked at Vol 1 p. 37 of the FEIR and see no statement about an overpass.

It's probably taken out of context. At any rate we would need two giant overpasses. One at Fassler too. Not really "better" than the widening in that it costs more and would look like a horrible monstrosity.

Anonymous said...

"Grade separation" MEANS overpass/underpass. Sheesh. That's what Caltrans is talking about on p. 37 where they say that grade separation at Reina del Mar would eliminate the light and "This alternative would provide the most substantial travel time benefits for traffic on SR 1." You don't also need grade separation and elimination of the light at Fassler to eliminate the traffic congestion. That's why Caltrans didn't look at that alternative. They only looked at grade separation at Reina Del Mar. Now who's playing traffic engineer?

Anonymous said...

344, There are many reasons more complexthan you may understand why the widening is a BETTER OPTION. That's why Caltrans decided to go with it. Sheesh.

todd bray said...

The widening is far from being the better option. When asked for their opinion Cal Trans employees got positivelt reinforcd with toasted ham and cheese sandwiches if they agreed to the widening.

At least judging by the overly produced cluster @#$% of an EIR they produced what else are we to expect?

District 4 is inhabited by a culture stimulated by toasted and grilled cheese. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anonymous said...

There's no point arguing with the True Believers of this blog. They believe what they believe with a religious fervor which will brook no facts not in line with their faith.

"The highway must be widened."

That is the whole and breadth of their simpleton worldview.

Question why Caltrans wouldn't at least TRY a series of solutions at one-tenth the cost and scope? You're not a traffic engineer!
Caltrans' own EIR states that a grade separation would be preferable? Taken out of context!

Faced with facts that contradict their carefully crafted dreamworlds, they double up on the Kool Aid.

Though loud, this motley crew of misanthropes may ultimately be ignored as the insignificant bunch they are; reality tends to trump ones' fevered swamp dreams in the end.

Drink up, boys!

Kathy Meeh said...

532, ALL the studies were completed over several years, done. The Environmental Report is completed, done. Lawsuits from your eco-NIMBY buddies will be determined, mediated,or set aside. Then it will be time for city council to vote, followed by Caltrans building the highway 1, 1.3 mile widening project.

Believe our State of CA, Caltrans professional road builder verifiable statistics, statewide experience, and scientific reports-- or, believe an abusive anti-progress anonymous who dismisses past studies, spouts nonsense, and refutes practical solutions? Gee, that's a really tough call, maybe for you.

Hutch said... eh I mean Anon 532 come on man, you stole my motley crew moniker that I hung on you. Your little "group" has held up progress here for decades. Now thank God you no longer have a puppet council. Once you lose your second frivolous lawsuit please feel free to step aside or even move to say Oregon or Colorado. The overpass design is not less expensive. That is one of the factors in Caltrans going with the widening. So the grade separation is NOT preferable. Get it now? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Hutch, Anon 5:32 is not who you think it is.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that Caltrans has done extensive work and used its vast statewide construction experience to determine the best solution for alleviating Pacifica's Hwy 1 traffic congestion. I'm not even sure if that the people who object to the highway widening are really objecting to the improvements we all know such a widening will bring. I think one of the real issues is the concern that once built, what will be the true visual impact on our town. Pacfica is stilla pretty bucolic place with lots of scenery. While improving traffic flows might be necessary, I would like to think that most of us do not want our roadways to wind up looking like the 1-80 corridor in the Sacramento area. A wider highway perhaps; a wider highway with sound walls, increased trash, etc, might not be what we really want to see. Perhaps it was our bad luck that the Hwy 380 extension into Pacifica wasn't actually built. It would have been a long standing done deal by now and any further widening would seem miniscule in comparison/ Those of us that didn't like the new freeway would have had the chance to move out years ago and the "newbies" would just accept what is already here. A cloverleaf interchange at Vallemar would have completely over shadowed Vallemar Station, perhaps resulted in it being torn down. The police station would likely not have been built nor would have the Calera Creek sewer plant.

Bones said...

The cheapest solution would be driver education. The backups consist primarily of the exact same people every day. If we all just paid attention and stopped letting huge gaps appear in front of us, twice as many cars would make it through each light cycle, even without adding lanes!

In fact, I'm pretty sure that if people heading south in the afternoon would go as fast as they could once the light at Reina del Mar went green and didn't let huge gaps form between them and the car in front of them, three times as many cars would actually make the next light at Fassler and there would never be more than a one light cycle wait for anyone. No big backup stretching past Sharp Park.

How much would a public education campaign cost? Mailers, kids standing on the sidewalk with bullhorns yelling at people to catch up, etc.?

Anonymous said...


How can I check all my e-mails and do my texting if you expect me to keep up with the flow of traffic? Jeesh!

Steve Sinai said...

I don't know that tailgating is a legitimate solution to traffic problems.

Anonymous said...

I have the solution. One word.


Why hasn't Caltrans looked at this very viable option? Listen, I know what I'm talking about, I have studied this. In Europe it's the newest thing. If Caltrans doesn't listen to me and my little group I may file a lawsuit and try to stop any improvement.

Tom Clifford said...

In fact tailgating could made things go from bad to worst in a heartbeat.

People do need to put down their Phones,coffee,and breakfast and pay attention to going on around them, it would make for a smoother and faster commute for all of us.

Anonymous said...

3:28...No way...Walking Buses are the Solution!

Anonymous said...

The At-At walking machines from Star Wars. That's the answer!

Anonymous said...

Catapult from 24/7 Launch Lounges in Vallemar and Rockaway. Serving the Last Supper?
Expect an occasional misfire lands in Bray's neighborhood. Guess we could put up big nets.