While some local residents and officials are excited about the prospect to wide Highway 1 and thereby, hopefully, relieve traffic and congestion, a new group of Pacificans are rising up and protesting the idea.
The group is calling itself "Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives," or "PH1A."
Representatives from the group, who sent out a press release earlier this week, say they believe widening the highway is not the answer to ongoing problems, and is not an efficient use of taxpayer money.
“PH1A wants alternatives implemented that can help relieve traffic congestion sooner than the widening project, at less cost, and with far less impacts to neighborhoods, businesses, and the environment,” said Pete Shoemaker, chairman of the new group.
Among the potential alternatives PH1A members are suggesting are re-timing and coordinating the Vallemar and Fassler traffic lights, modifications to the Reina Del Mar Avenue intersection, a flex lane with moveable cones, increased public transportation, increased school bus service, car and van pools, and changes to school schedules.
“In public meetings and in the 212 written comments submitted to Caltrans concerning its Draft Environmental Impact Report, two-thirds of all comments were critical of the widening project, which wouldn't offer traffic relief until years from now,” said Nick Leone, a member of PH1A.
PH1A supports the approach recommended by the California Coastal Commission staff, members of which said the EIR “should fully evaluate a range of alternatives that could meet the purpose and need of the project, including alternatives that would reduce traffic congestion, but would not result in significant adverse impacts on coastal resources.”
PH1A members say California State Assemblyman Jerry Hill has also called for studying the alternatives to identify the most cost-effective solutions.
“The highway widening proposal is the most costly project, it is years away from being implemented, there isn’t sufficient funding for it, and if it is ever built it will create terrible traffic delays during two-plus years of construction,” said Hal Bohner, another PH1A member.
“We want alternatives to the widening that can be implemented sooner to reduce traffic congestion, that will not create major traffic delays during construction, that will be far less costly, and will have far fewer impacts on our environment and our economy,” said Cynthia Kaufman, a PH1A member.
PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - Do you support the widening of Highway 1? Or do you think this group is right, and it's too lengthy and expensive of a solution? Tell us in the comments below.