I am struck by recent articles in the Review outlining a plan called the “Highway 1 Safety and Mobility Study,” which includes Miramar, El Granada, Moss Beach and Montara. The study calls for six new speed limits on what is currently a designated expressway with planned speed limitations of 40 mph in most of Montara and Moss Beach, installation of medians, gateways, flashing lights in the road, roundabouts, divided medians, and possibly undoing the expressway designation to allow for even slower speeds and designs.

There is also a planned commuter pedestrian and bike path parallel to and on the east side of Highway 1 and extending into our residential neighborhoods. This commuter path is intended to provide travel alternatives for Midcoast residents and is totally separate from the recreational Coastal Trail. Do the people designing these “improvements” really believe a commuter trail is a viable option for getting to work, taking our children to school or going shopping in Half Moon Bay? Do we really need a commuter trail that people will rarely use at the expense of slowing traffic? Coastside traffic issues impact everyone, but the solution is not to add more frustrations to our daily commutes. Or is it?

”Sustainable Development Agenda 21” is alive and well on the coast. It is also known as “smart growth,” “comprehensive planning” and “growth management” and has been a buzzword for a political agenda of the United Nations, rather than an objective and truly sustainable form of development. The fact is designing roads to make driving and commuting more difficult is the goal of sustainable development. Simply put, the plan is to remove cars and get people out of rural areas and into more densely populated zones near transit hubs.

Before the “Highway 1” study was presented and in advance of meetings and workshops, the Local Government Commission in Sacramento assembled and developed concepts and recommendations. Its advisory teams have sustainable development and smart growth as their mission with the goal to remove cars from the road. After these predetermined plans were initiated by this outside group, meetings were held in April 2011 and included, according to the Review, “stakeholders” and “Spanish-speaking residents of Half Moon Bay.” At these meetings, proponents of sustainable development promoted their own ideas and marginalized any local opposition, particularly those individuals who advocate the freedom to use and enjoy private property.

A typical meeting is run by trained facilitators guiding the participants to a predetermined plan by using fear tactics to portray a crisis, such as too many cars on a highway. Again, the agenda is to get cars off the road.

Lisa Ketcham, recently elected to the Midcoast Community Council, says that the “parallel trail has always been seen as a real solution.” Do you really want to commute by bike or foot? This is absolute nonsense. We need to reject the agenda of the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which are implementing Agenda 21. They have used the process to acquire funds for projects not in the best interest of Coastside residents.

The county has applied to ABAG to qualify the coast as a priority development area. They predict there will be twice as many jobs and 1,000 more housing units on the Midcoast. This PDA is in line with a regional planning initiative meant to support regional development that is “compact and connected.” As an example, look at the housing/business “stack and pack” building near the former Bay Meadows racetrack. Is this what the outside groups envision for “sustainable infill development” on the coast?”

These outside groups (ABAG, One Bay Area, Sacramento commissions, MTC) will decide where Planned Development Areas exist and where growth can and cannot occur. Bottom line? Our county has applied to qualify the coast as a PDA. Do we want more development here dictated by unaccountable groups outside of our area, groups who will decide what it will look like based on what is acceptable to them?

Beth Oehlert is a 25-year resident of the Coastside.

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