Naomi Patridge Trail

Among the city’s plans for improvements along the Highway 1 corridor is the expansion of the Naomi Patridge Trail, which is a pedestrian and bicycle trail that fronts the busy highway.

Half Moon Bay planning officials put the brakes on a series of Highway 1 improvements last week after a chorus of citizens complained the project was moving forward too quickly.

Dubbed by one attendee as the “largest infrastructure project in Coastside history,” the Highway 1 proposal would drastically alter the city’s main thoroughfare. The plan would add three crossing signals, various sections of new traffic lanes and a further extension of the adjacent trail for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Those renovations were a lot to swallow for attendees at the meeting, who questioned why such a large capital project was being brought before the city’s new planning director for a decision. The hearing was held at the Ted Adcock Community / Senior Center on June 19, before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

The proposal would install new traffic signals at Poplar Street, Roosevelt Boulevard and Terrace Avenue — the last spot being a lightning rod of land-use politics for local residents. Those same sections would also be widened to four traffic lanes with other areas of the highway expanded to include a center turn lane. The trail extensions would add new swaths to the Naomi Patridge Trail, pushing it north to Mirada Road and, on the southern end, to Miramontes Point Road.

“You don’t approve something like this at the director level,” said Half Moon Bay resident Dana Kimsey. “This project was way too big and presented too many questions.”

Acquiescing to public demand, Interim Planning Director Pat Webb postponed making a decision herself on the plan, and she agreed to instead bring it next month to the Planning Commission.

But she insisted the planning director-led hearing was the appropriate venue to review the Highway 1 package because it was seeking only a coastal development permit. Projects requiring multiple approvals must go before the Planning Commission.

The notion that the Highway 1 project was racing through approval is just not accurate, city officials say. In their report, a city planner pointed out the improvements were part of an 8-year-old traffic study already approved by the City Council and Planning Commission. The highway improvements project came forward last week because city officials wanted to get a CDP in hand so they would have a better shot at competitive grants through the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

The city staff reports did not give an estimate of the total cost of the project. The 2004 traffic study reportedly pegged the cost at $17 million.

Webb said the city could lose out on this year’s round of transportation funding now that the project is being delayed. But she admitted that the postponement would give her more time to research the background of the project.

“People were fearful of approving the entire thing,” Webb said.

Webb said she would consider one suggestion from the audience — to split the bike trail extension and the highway upgrades into two separate projects. That could make individual aspects of the project more palatable to the public, she said.

“It’s clear there’s a whole lot more support for the bike trails than for the traffic lanes or the signals,” she said. “It sounded like it would be easier for the public to digest if they were split.”

No date has been set for the Planning Commission to review the project.

(5) comments

Laura McHugh

When was the CEQA review done? Is there a copy available at the library?

coastallaslo

It is irresponsible to degrade traffic flow on Hwy 1 until an alternate route is available. If implemented, emergency vehicles, commuters and freight that all use Hwy 1 would be channeled through a nightmare traffic jam every day.
Further, changing a highway to something like El Camino Real changes the rural character of the coast radically - something contrary to the LCP and the Coastal Act.
Please don't mess with Hwy. 1 until there's an alternate route!!!!

John Charles Ullom

This is just too good to be true. I mean way way way too good to be true.

Our City Manager hired a good old girl on her own. Without a resume or application or council approval, she signed a contract for just under 30 grand . *

It turns out that the crony that Ms Snideman gave a chunk of our money too has some stones. The lady actually cared what the public thought of something the city was hell bent to do.

You just can't get competent cronies these days. 180 grand per year plus benefits won't automatically buy the council a city manager that knows how to pick a crony that won't bite the hand that feeds her. I suspect that Ms Snideman will have a few memos waiting concerning this bold move by a sub contractor she picked without council vetting. Probably a refresher course in Good Old Boyism for Girls is in order. I bet one can be had for less than 30 grand.

*30 grand is the magic number in this fiefdom. When something costs less than 30 grand, no competitive bid is required and apparently, no council approval either.

I wonder how many contracts fall between 25 and 35 grand around here? Hopefully, the sidekick who Snideman tossed under the bus comes back from Vietnam with the key before I file an FOIA request for all contracts over the last 5 years that fall into that range.

Our City Manger is out of town until July 9th.

George

"But she insisted the planning director-led hearing was the appropriate venue to review the Highway 1 package because it was seeking only a coastal development permit. Projects requiring multiple approvals must go before the Planning Commission." Sorry Mark; another inaccuracy. At stake, and what was being requested was an approval (acceptance) of CEQA and a CDP. Both are boxes on the grant form that Mo Sharma said he wished to check off.

The CEQA comment period had expired before this meeting, btw. Another opportunity for public comment and input gone.

"In their report, a city planner pointed out the improvements were part of an 8-year-old traffic study..." followed by "The 2004 traffic study reportedly pegged the cost at $17 million" demonstrates part of the problem. If that is the posture the City wishes to take, then how do they reconcile the 2006 DEIR for the Terrace Avenue/Highway 1 light at that time? And yet they try to slide it through now -- for a shot at trail grant money?

Please, give us a break. Some of us were born at night, but it wasn't last night.

The Interim Planning Director did the right thing in this case.

George

"The hearing was held at the Ted Adcock Community / Senior Center on June 19, before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting." Not so, Mark. In fact, that was one of the primary concerns and discussion points. I even started a thread on this so folks would get it first hand.

With so much at stake, I was surprised and disappointed that no one from the press was there. Maybe that speaks to the stealthy way it was posed.

The meeting was the Planning Director's meeting, at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, 06/19/12 held in the Sun Room at the Adcock Center, for those interested. The driving point on this item, Item 3 of the agenda, was protocol and the public's right to know and participate.

The request was made to the Director to place the Item on the Planning Commission agenda to maximize public awareness and input. This "project" will impact everyone on the coastside and all visitors that come during its very long action.

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