There is perhaps nothing that bumps up the blood pressure of a Coastside resident like the subject of traffic. Longtime residents attest that the situation has gotten much worse along highways 1 and 92, and new visitors have to wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into on a busy, sunny weekend.

Finally, there is a coordinated plan to do something about it.

That is not to say Connect the Coastside, as it’s called, will be universally admired. And there may well prove parts that are inadequate or not fully considered. But taken as a whole, the five-year process that is now coming together is one of those rare, focused, government planning efforts that attempts to make things better for all the right reasons.

Planners have released a draft of the document, which grew from Safety and Modality studies that began a decade ago. The work has involved city of Half Moon Bay and San Mateo County planning professionals as well as the Midcoast Community Council. It considers current traffic patterns on the two main corridors of the coast as well as future development. Planners aren’t attempting to run roughshod over existing land-use protections and even expressly note the desire to protect the rural character of the Midcoast.

Much will be made of the plan’s suggestion for as many as five roundabouts on highways 1 and 92. Local residents may roll their eyes and long for the days of 50-mph commutes up and down these largely two-lane highways, but those days are already in the rearview mirror much of the time. If the alternative is doing nothing — or installing traffic signals — consider the ramifications of those decisions too. They are not set in stone. The Highway 92 suggestions, in particular, require more thought.

And the roundabouts would be part of a system of improvements that together could lessen the number of cars entering them in the first place. Connect the Coastside also calls for pedestrian crossings, a biking and walking trail through the Midcoast, increased public transit and park-and-ride lots.

This is one of those public projects that is greater than the sum of individual parts. We should see it through and we might even see improved

traffic in the years to come instead of what we are assured in its absence: ever-worsening

congestion on our two main roads.

Connect the Coastside aims to increase transportation choices from Devil’s Slide south and over to Interstate 280. It would make travel safer for pedestrians and cyclists. It might improve flow at traffic bottlenecks, and maybe even get more people out of their cars and onto bicycles and their feet. Wouldn’t that be grand?

— Clay Lambert

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