[Editor's Note: The following press release was submitted by Cynthia Kaufman of Pacifians For Highway 1 Alternatives]
What happens when city government refuses to hold a public hearing on a local issue? In Pacifica, the citizens decided to hold their own hearing.
On October 9, over 100 people assembled in the Vallemar school auditorium to hear about and express their outrage about the controversial proposal to widen Highway 1 in Pacifica. None of those in attendance spoke in support of the widening, and many wanted alternatives analyzed.
Speaker Peter Loeb gave a history of the project, and noted that citizens stopped a freeway from being built through Vallemar, and it was citizen action that turned the tunnel into such a positive project.
Leo Leon showed images that gave a sense of the footprint of the project. He said that the proposed plan would double the width of the roadway and potentially significant impacts to the visual and existing business frontage on the Highway1 of Rockaway beach. He also raised concerns about the ability of pedestrians and bicycles to cross the wider highway.
Pete Shoemaker argued that the city should hire a traffic consultant who would work on a set of softer alternative, such as light timing, school start time shifts, and a pedestrian overpass. He claimed that Caltrans tends to not do simple solutions, and for our purposes a more complex and subtle solution is needed.
Hal Bohner explained that he and Peter Loeb are suing the city because the general plan specifically states that highway capacity should not be increased.
Cynthia Kaufman urged people to get involved and announced the next meeting for Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives it will be at the Sharp Park library October 21, 7:00-8:30. More information can be gotten from: http://ph1a-pacifica.weebly.com.
The overwhelming public interest and opposition to the project reflects prior public comments, as when over 200 citizens wrote their thoughts on the Environmental Impact Report and just one-third supported the widening.
Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives asked the City Council to hold a public hearing on the widening, but Council failed to do so. So far the City Council has not taken any public position on the project. PH1A is asking the city to hold hearings and consider alternatives.
Once the pending litigation is settled, Caltrans will come to the city for permits for the project.