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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(3) comments

Sabrina Brennan

Open Letter to ABAG Executive Board,

The Coastside Bicycle Coalition supports the concerns outlined in the letters from the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, and Committee for Green Foothills regarding the proposed San Mateo County unincorporated Midcoast Rural Priority Development Area (PDA).

The Midcoast is a small coastal fishing, farming, and tourism community located far from Bay Area jobs and transit.

While we appreciate the staff recommendation to "defer" a decision on Rural Priority Development Area's we are concerned that the recommendation does not go far enough. The Rural PDA place type was pushed through without careful consideration and lacks stakeholder vetting.

If the intent of the Rural Town Center/Rural Corridor PDA place type is not to encourage more growth in outlying rural areas but is instead simply to make existing rural areas more complete communities and improve connectivity, then this should be done outside the PDA framework.

The Coastside Bicycle Coalition supports reducing auto travel and improving bicycle and pedestrian safety; however, Measure A is the appropriate avenue for funding these projects.

The Coastside Bicycle Coalition is concerned about the lack of local participation in the County's recent decision to apply for a PDA designation in the unincorporated Midcoast. We did not receive adequate notification about the County PDA application. We are very concerned that this item was put on the Board of Supervisors consent calendar without first vetting it through the public.

The Rural Town Center/Rural Corridor place types promote sprawl. We respectfully request that the ABAG rescind the Rural PDA place type.

Coastside Bicycle Coalition

Cid Young

1.) The Tunnel will open soon, and the Developers are licking their chops in anticipation.

2.) BIG WAVE (Huge commercial project -225,000 sq feet -near the Harbor) is on appeal at the Coastal Commission and one (merely one) of the items mentioned was traffic. Their Traffic study did not take into account the Hwy 1 and 92 increased traffic) in spite of a 700 car parking lot to accommodate commuters I would imagine.

3.) The Housing Element must be updated every 5 years and each county at that time must assess their regional housing needs. The allocation to each city and county identifies the number of housing units, by income category, for which that jurisdiction must plan in its Housing Element. San Mateo County is running out of in-fill housing locations on the Bayside so we are their likely target for the future. Hampering this of course is: TRAFFIC.


I completely agree with your observations, and would like to offer a few more that I read in a previous Review article and elsewhere.

First, I'm not clear how we can have twice the jobs and 1,000 more housing units without increasing the new home density. Any additional units will affect density to some degree, as I see it. I'm not sure where 1,000 infill lots are going to be found, unless whole areas that are now rural are developed.

Second, We're being referred to as the Midcoast Rural Corridor in one paragraph, and the Midcoast Urban Area in the next. Is someone confused about the difference between rural and urban, or am I missing something?

Third, I had read that this money was supposedly for transportation. Are we being urbanized in order for somebody to justify mass transit here?

Fourth, We have sustainable development now, but we won't if 1,000 new units are added. There are considerations such as lack of water, narrow highway access and egress, less than totally reliable electricity, etc. Parties in San Francisco would like to see the Hetch Hetchy Dam removed. Except for Montara and Moss Beach wells, the other areas depend on Hetchy Hetchy. Are there plans to reinvent the Oceanshore Railroad, which has already drowned once? Devil's Slide hasn't finished sliding, and won't in the foreseeable future. Neither have Hwy. 92 or 84. We'll be in great shape after the next tsunami, and we won't talk about earthquakes.

Fifth, apparently the local governments who have been creating a shared concept of where growth can occur don't know they're supposed to be representing the people, or maybe we here on the Midcoast don't qualify.

Sixth, I just went out in a downpour to retrieve a cyclist who couldn't make it home from work in the dark in this storm. I'd love to see an actual count of the number of people who would actually use this proposed commuter trail. I'm sure there are a few intrepid souls who want to ride their bikes from Montara to Half Moon Bay every day, and back, and who can't be shifted over to the Coastal Trail. But most people leave the Coastside to go to work, and that's not going to change regardless of consultants' expensive projections. Like it or not, we need cars, cars need highways, and slowing them down to 25mph on those highways will just use way more gas and make it impossible for even those people who already live here to get where they're going, never mind the influx of people in those additional 1,000 new housing units.

Seventh, I've been hearing complaints about how hard it is to continue the Coastal Trail all the way north to the Slide. Where do these folks propose to put a second trail?

Eighth, you mentioned the “stakeholders” and “Spanish-speaking residents of Half Moon Bay” who were purportedly involved in those meetings. I know who our Spanish speaking residents are, but who are the stakeholders? Sounds like that means the developers, who hold lots of stakes in any effort to build and build and build. Doesn't sound like the rest of us who I would have considered the real stakeholders had much input, with these trained facilitators (i.e. "gatekeepers") keeping the agenda under tight control so the primary objectives didn't get interfered with. Well, remember those old fighting words, "No taxation without representation?"

Ninth, neither the state nor the county bureaucrats own my property, or my neighbors' or their neighbors', we all do. In a democratic society, don't we, the property owners, have a little bit of decision making input into a process that will change the entire character of the area we've chosen to live in? We fought off the developers once years ago, and we all helped to vote in the Coastal Commission to safeguard this valuable part of the state and keep it from looking like L.A. so people could come here from the cities on the Bay side and see what a beautiful coast is supposed to look like. The county and CalTrans hated us for fighting the infamous Bypass that would have cut Montara in half and given the rest of us freeway views. Now again, the consultants and outsiders are trying to urbanize us so we, too, can live in a concrete jungle. All because of greed and the inability to leave nature alone.

Tenth, Enough!!!

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