Creating some separation
Pedestrians make their way along the Highway 1 detour necessitated by the closure of the Coastal Trail bridge at Medio Avenue. Adam Pardee / Review

After the Coastal Trail’s Medio bridge was closed earlier this month, San Mateo County is working to safely reroute users onto Highway 1, but some locals worry the efforts come too late.

San Mateo County Public Works Director Jim Porter and Deputy Director of Road Services Khoa Vo presented initial plans for a new bridge and temporary reroute and answered questions at this week’s Midcoast Community Council meeting. They say the project is their top priority at the moment.

The replacement bridge, which is still in its design phase, will likely be made of aluminum and industrial plastic and will be of a similar size to the current bridge. The county's reroute plan, approved by Caltrans on Monday, will redirect trail traffic along the shoulder of Highway 1 between Miramar Drive and Medio Avenue, eliminating the left turn lane and placing K-rail dividers to insulate trail traffic from southbound motorists. Half Moon Bay Mayor Adam Eisen said signage and rail installation will be implemented in the coming weeks.

The county staffers were met with comments from council members and the public calling for an urgent, safe solution. El Granada resident Chris Johnson criticized the effort as delayed and lacking foresight.

“We’ve had over two years to come up with a solution,” Johnson said. “That’s just not acceptable from a community perspective.”

Other community members stressed the importance of the Coastal Trail as a central artery for travel of all kinds, and said a solution needs to prioritize access and safety.

“It is very important that this bridge be treated not just as a recreational trail bridge, but one that gets our workforce from one side of the Coastside to the other,” said Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau CEO Krystlyn Giedt.

Some speakers called on the county to look at longer-term solutions because of the known concerns about sea level rise and erosion that will eventually necessitate moving the Coastal Trail east. Porter noted the necessity of an eventual rerouting, but said that effort will take much longer and require extensive public input, while the new bridge could be built by this time next year.

Vo said the expected life-span of the planned replacement bridge is estimated at 30 or 40 years. Councilmember Dave Olson called on the county to begin planning for the reroute early.

“I think it would be a really good idea for the county to start that process as soon as the bridge replacement is done, because of sea level rise and erosion ... that is not going to be there for very long,” Olson said.

Also discussed at this week’s MCC meeting is a proposal from Caltrans to install a painted crosswalk across Highway 1 at Miramar Drive similar to the one installed earlier this year at Virginia Avenue.

The two efforts are not connected, and Chris Hunter, chief of staff to Supervisor Don Horsley, said his office was not aware of the effort until this week. The proposed crosswalk is set to be discussed at a virtual public meeting from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 26. More information on joining the meeting is posted on the MCC website.

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