Sunday, July 12, 2015

Highway 1 widening proposal in Pacifica remains contentious

By on July 12, 2015 12:30 am

Proponents of a plan to widen part of state Highway 1 appeared to suffer a setback when Pacifica’s
Caltrans has proposed widening a 1.3-mile stretch of Highway 1 in Pacifica. (Brendan Bartholomew/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Planning Commission and City Council recently changed some wording in the town’s Capital Improvement Program document.

While the changes solidify the city’s commitment to studying alternatives to widening the highway, officials note that all options are still on the table.

Known as the Calera Creek Parkway Project, the plan put forth by Caltrans, the state transit agency, aims to address traffic congestion by widening a 1.3-mile stretch of Highway 1 from Pacifica’s Sharp Park to Rockaway Beach neighborhoods. The highway currently has two southbound and two northbound lanes, and the project would add an additional lane in each direction.

Supporters decry the increasingly long commutes residents have been experiencing. Proponents also claim the rush hour bottlenecks could delay first responders during emergencies, because that section of Highway 1 lacks adequate shoulders, thus making it difficult for motorists to get out of the way of emergency vehicles.

Opponents claim the project would transform the affected section of Highway 1 into a “speedway” inconsistent with Pacifica’s small-town nature. They further argue that the project would not significantly reduce congestion, and they want extensive public discussion of several proposed alternatives.

These concerns were brought into focus as the commission prepared to approve the city’s new Capital Improvement Program, said Planning Commission Chair Richard Campbell. He explained that a line item allocating about $6,000 to study the project and its possible alternatives was seen as problematic by some commissioners, because its title implied that the funds were only for studying the project and not proposed alternatives.


Posted by Steve Sinai


Anonymous said...

None of the proposed alternatives would provide the same congestion relief promised by the Caltrans project, said Fix Pacifica blog co-founder Steve Sinai. In a previous interview with the San Francisco Examiner, he noted that all of the proposed alternatives had already been studied by Caltrans, which rejected them because they are “ineffective, too expensive or too disruptive.”

so much for fact check

Anonymous said...

There are several errors in this article. One is that it is not the Calera Creek Parkway project. That's repeating an error that Jane Northrop created in the Tribune. It's just called the Calera Parkway.

And I've never heard opponents say that their objection is that it will create a "speedway." In fact, it won't do anything to help at all because it will just create new bottlenecks at either end of the widened section.

Anonymous said...

John Curtis, in all his infinite wisdom calls it, like everything else he doesn't like. A drag strip.

His panties were in a bunch about Walgreens and the drive through prescription pick up window.

Steve Sinai said...

"And I've never heard opponents say that their objection is that it will create a 'speedway.'"

A lot of them certainly use the term "freeway", even though none of the stop lights will be removed.

Kathy Meeh said...

309, picky, picky. Here's the Calera Parkway Widening project. Some opponents may have called the project a "speedway", clearly they called the 1.3 mile widening through the Calera Creek land area a "freeway".

Caltrans highway research and personal observation show evidence that highway 1 access and exit roads to other areas of the City actually exist. Overload to and from these access and exit roads causes a traffic bottleneck convergence, which pressures the main Highway 1 road.
Past Crespi Drive to the south, other area roads, and freeway access to the north, the Highway 1 traffic congestion disburses.

Hence, the ideological theory that widening highway 1 will cause additional bottle neck congestion both north and south past the 1.3 miles (Vallemar and Rockaway intersections) is not scientific, bodes against logic, does not pass the "smell test", and fails.

Anonymous said...

Do have concerns that if the widening were to increase traffic speeds that individuals would just pass through Pacifica and not understand what nice things the City has to offer. That said, since there is no proof that widening a highway resolves congestion problems, and in fact, there are many studies that say that widening doesn't fix the problem (including the CalTrans report that continues to show congestion during peak commute times, and a University of Toronto study* of all new roads built in the US between 1980 and 2000, that reported that adding roads just increased demand - if a city added 10% more capacity, then traffic just went up 10 percent) agree this is a non issue. This is why alternatives are so important to resolve the issue that happens at such very limited points of time. (And please, don't bring up recent weekend traffic -- there is the bridge work and fact that every beach town experiences traffic on gorgeous weekends.)

Paving isn't the answer.
*"The Fundamental law of Road Congestion - Evidence from US Cities," by Gilles Duranton and Matthew A. Turner, September 8, 2009

Anonymous said...

Here's some simple engineering logic that anyone can understand. Caltrans says the widening will not increase capacity of the highway through town, and it will reduce congestion by moving more traffic more quickly through the widened section. If more traffic is moving faster through one section of the highway, yet the overall capacity of the highway has not been increased, that necessarily means that there will be congestion where the widened section goes back down to 2 lanes in either direction -- the 2 bottlenecks that will be created by the widening. You can model this on a table top using any small objects. It's basic physics. You can't move something faster through a wider tube without slowing it down again and causing congestion when the tube gets narrower.

Kathy Meeh said...

725, well gosh, gee whiz, with all that non-specific, generalized "read the book" information, CalTrans wouldn't have had to do all those professional, expensive, specific studies over 10 years, culminating in a complete Environmental Impact Report.
But good work, call CalTrans immediately and let them know you have the non-specific, generalized "don't fix it" U of T, and data book verbiage alternative.

In response to your other comments: Traffic reduction measures should be complementary to the widening, not alternative unless the Bay Area population is shrinking rather than growing-- is it? No.
And the weekend traffic back-up is mostly related to San Pedro Bridge replacement-- remember the potential of the 100 year flood?

PS: Because of the convergence of traffic through Calera Parkway, paving is the core answer. The answer!
Besides 10-30 years of talk, traffic congestion has been a known Highway 1 infrastructure issue. Yet there has been no City (or NIMBY group campaign) attempt to fix this issue through "alternatives"-- whereas, the studied highway widening is completed and funded. And the elusive "alternatives" are the usual zero fix plan, (with zero funding).

Kathy Meeh said...

1208, no. Traffic will move more efficiently through the access and exit roads disbursing, rather than backing-up. Thus, highway 1 congestion will be reduced.
Probably you can figure-it-out by driving the area. (1.3 miles, Vallemar and Rockaway intersections are affected).

Lane transitions occur throughout California, including the Bay Area, and no speed bumps are required. Following a regulated process, CalTrans oversees and builds all the highways and freeways in California.
Will fixing the highway work in Pacifica, similar to other areas and cities? Should work. And no need to even "model this on a table top by using small objects" (your words).
Such modernization and safety updates efficiency are common sense, as well as practical and green.

George said...

Go down to HMB, turn right on 92, voila Hwy 1 fix. So it works in HMB but the gang-of-no says we Pacificans are too stupid to merge. Frankly, I'm a little pissed off that they think this way. Most of them drive, merge, and continue on their way but, oh, no, won't work in Pacifica, we're dumb. Can't drive, can't merge, can't think for ourselves and realize their theme in NO! All the time for anything. I'm done. Build the damn thing. I'm tired of sitting in traffic.

Anonymous said...

I travel through Half Moon Bay going north on 1 at evening rush hour. The widened highway narrows just beyond the 92 intersection. It's always congested because of the merge. The same thing happens on 101 in Marin near Santa Rosa.

Incredulous Ira said...

Wow! You have a long commute! HMB to Santa Rosa. How do you have time to post here at 10:26AM?