Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Turn: Common sense on Highway 1 safety

The Caltrans proposal to widen Highway 1 is a massive project that would have a large impact on our coastal environment. Some people have made the argument that we need this because of safety reasons--that we are all currently at risk because of potential traffic impacts on safety vehicles. It's time for some common sense on this issue.

First, it goes without saying that EVERYONE wants fire trucks and ambulances to get where they need to go as fast as possible. But traffic is a fact of life everywhere, not just Pacifica, so is our rush-hour traffic a significant enough safety concern to justify a $50-million project? I feel the answer is clearly no, and here are my reasons:

1. In the 20-plus years that Pacificans have been discussing this issue, there has not been one single, verifiable safety incident of the kind that we are told could happen. Not one. Anyone can imagine a "perfect storm" of bad things and say that it's possible, but the real world data say that the likelihood is very low.

2. Even in the worst traffic conditions, safety vehicles are not delayed very much. We've all experienced sirens in crowded traffic and seen how people move over and safety vehicles get through. Yes, they are slowed a bit, but everyone cooperates and the delays are kept to a minimum.

3. The peak traffic conditions that the proposed widening is intended to address happen very rarely. The morning rush hour is the focus of the safety concerns, since that is when people are trying to get out of town and streets in town are most clogged. This peak is about one hour per day (7:30 to 8:30 or so) on the days when school is in session, which is about 180 days per year--180 hours total. Safety issues can happen any time, and there are 8,760 hours in a year. So the "risk window", so to speak, is 1/48th of the time, or about 2 percent. It's no wonder that no dire safety incidents have occurred, since 98 percent of the time there is no major problem at all. Even if you add the evening rush hour, the no-problem time is 95 percent.


Posted by Steve Sinai


Hutch said...

Wholly mackerel Pete...

"safety vehicles are not delayed very much"

Do you know minutes count when facing life threatening calamities?

Firefighters say this is a serious safety issue. They have to routinely travel the wrong way to avoid traffic. And this is all summer long so your claims don't hold up.

Is it worth peoples lives to fight for your cause?

Evidently there was just an accident last week involving an ambulance having to drive on the wrong side of the highway because of heavy traffic.

Would you like to be the one having a heart attack God forbid and you are "delayed a little"?

Anonymous said...

If they widen the highway will we see a reduction in cliched and hackneyed arguments pro and con? Just a freakin' reduction? That's not too much to ask, is it? If it ends the mewling, I'd like 12 lanes, please. In both directions and a 300 foot wide median for the occasional out of gas jet. God forbid!

Anonymous said...

"Wholly mackerel Pete?" I'd read the rest if I could stop laughing.

Anonymous said...

You ever hear the oldest saying in the book.

If you can not dazzle them with brilliance.

Baffle them with BS!

Anonymous said...


"Sneaky" Pete Dejarnatt, said you you you people do not matter.

That is what and how they think of everyone who doesn't buy into their program.

Anonymous said...

I have wondered. If one of the "gang of no" needed medical attention and ended up not making to the ER. Would they sue the city cause highway 1 was unsafe.

You bet your house cat, top hat and mud bath they will!!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard Pete talk. I have never heard anyone so amp'd up in my life.

1000 miles an hour.

Anonymous said...

"If one of the "gang of no" needed medical attention and ended up not making to the ER. Would they sue the city cause highway 1 was unsafe. You bet your house cat, top hat and mud bath they will!!"

Excellent question! Now let's find out how many such lawsuits have been filed in the history of that stretch of highway. Shouldn't be too hard.

Anonymous said...

And when the answer turns out to be zero, what then?

Kathy Meeh said...

Blogmaster Steve Sinai nailed the insincere NIMBY standard. Build a quarry? Can't do highway 1 "traffic". Fix the highway 1 traffic bottle neck? Can't do "no traffic". Hence, ongoing, solvable city improvements are transitioned into enigmatic conundrums.

After 10 years of research and studies leading to two final choices only a) narrow median or b) wide median, the city and Caltrans thankfully will move forward to build this 1.3 mile highway 1 widening project. As Elaine Larsen (Editor, Publisher) said in her Pacifica Tribune "Highway to heaven" article, "..the current plan was the "compromise.."

Oh, c) choice is "no build", and all the NIMBY 11th hour "alternatives", obstruction and lawsuits lead there.

Anonymous said...

More ridiculousness 746 & 901. How many lawsuits? Ha. There's nothing to sue for. The hwy was built in the 60's. How is present day Pacifica responsible?

But the gang-of-no is responsible for delaying widening. Maybe we can sue them?

I haven't heard one good argument against the widening. They keep jumping from one excuse to the next. Haven't heard much about the overpass lately. What did some of your Vallemar recruits object?

Now the gang of no has gone back to the basic lies, time the lights and vary school times. Haha.

Anonymous said...

Hard to get beyond that "wholly mackerel" intro. Stick a fork in it.

Anonymous said...

Overpass, baby, overpass.

Steve Sinai said...

Hippie logic - If it hasn't happened yet, that's proof that it will never happen.

Anonymous said...

If you live in Pacifica, you've got to be ready to roll the dice.

Chris Porter said...

Pete, I have to disagree with you. Again, I believe you live in Vallemar so this congestion does not bother your commute. With the increase in the Tunnel traffic, there is not a significant decrease in traffic if school is not in session. An ambulance that was trying to get to the Highway last week from Park Pacifica did not even attempt to go down Fassler but traveled down Linda Mar Blvd and hit the traffic jam on Highway 1 and Linda Mar Blvd. When the ambulance got to Crespi the driver tried to go on the opposite side of the freeway with sirens blairing and lights flashing and was hit by a driver coming up the hill between Fassler and Crespi. To say emergency vehicles are not delayed very much is absurd and if your loved one had been in the vehicle I think you would change your mind but again you live in Vallemar so do not experience the delays we all do. Also, weren't you one of the very vocal people against People's building in the Quarry because of "too much traffic"? Now with the increase in the tunnel traffic there is "no traffic". Some people remember..................

Anonymous said...

I super wide highway with cars speeding above the limit through red lights will kill far more then your faux "delay the ambulance" BS. Safety issue? Heck yes. Don't build this death trap.

Anonymous said...

Idiots don't pull over for emergency vehicles. Same idiots will behave the same way with more lanes to squat in. Seen it many times. Wouldn't hurt to widen the shoulders a little but the real safety problem...idiot drivers.

Anonymous said...

Chris Porter

Do you know what day the emergency call and the opposite direction traffic ambluence call was?

Was it during the morning or afternoon commute.

I forget if you grew up in Pacifica but when I did we had strict school bounderies. Kids in Park Pacifca went to Oddstad and Ortega. Kids in Linda Mar went to Linda Mar or Sanchez and kids in the front went to Cabrillo and so on.

Now you have parents driving the kids from Park Pacifica over to Lacy School and Vallemar. That adds to the morning commute.

Anonymous said...

The ambulance accident happened around 7 am. on Wednesday the 26th. Traffic was backed up as it usually is. Nothing to do with Vallemar school which starts at 8:15. These things happen all the time, ambulances held up in morning, evening and weekend traffic.

Anonymous said...

More like 725ish but still well before school although there were quite a few cars going by with kids inside. Probably to Vallemar or some other school further North and parents dropping them off on the way to work.

Anonymous said...

3/26/2014 6:51:41 AM (30 min)
FS72 North County Fire
Medical aid

3/26/2014 7:28:48 AM (15 min)
FS72 North County Fire
Traffic accident pd request c3
BC20, E72, T95

Anonymous said...

Looks like the first call in Park Pacifica, then an accident on Highway 1 and Linda Mar Blvd.

Anonymous said...

Hippie Mantra.

1. Lie.
2. Twist the facts.
3. Repeat #1 & #2

Peabody said...

Shoemaker's rant shows just how far out of touch these obstructionist are. No safety issue! Talk about ironic. I would think that while Pete was writing this, some poor person was stuck in an ambulance in a life and death struggle trying deperatly to get to a hospital. It's true, Pete does live in Vallemar. The results of the Measure V vote show that the overwhelming majority of folks in Vallemar are not tax and spenders and obstrucionist and I would think that they understand the need for safety improvements to Hwy 1 as well. Pete, you're out of touch, along with the rest of your cohorts. Hunker down down Vallemar and let the rest of the town move forward and try to rectify the mess you and your no-nothingers have created in this town!