Accident on Hwy 92 muddies impact of HMB’s emergency traffic measures

Posted by on Wed, April 5, 2006

This morning, Half Moon Bay implemented a series of steps to improve the flow of traffic from the southbound Highway 1 to eastbound Highway 92. This morning’s commute seems to have been better until an accident on the 92 has confused the matter. The city has taken several steps to improve traffic flow at the crucial intersection:

  • Changed the timing of traffic lights
  • Eliminated left turns from westbound 92 onto Main Street
  • Used barriers to keep cars from packing the frontage
  • Patrolling Strawflower Village to keep commuters from trying to short-cut

One commuter told us he was surprised by how quickly he was able to get over the hill from Frenchman’s Creek, leaving at 7:10am.

However, an overturn on the westbound 92 and Skyline at 7:30am reduced the highway to a single lane for 30 minutes, backing up traffic well past El Granada yet again, and making it difficult to know how much the new traffic measures helped this morning.

UPDATE: Another reason for short-term optimism is that Coastside schools are closed next week for spring break, so traffic should be much better in the mornings. It will also give us an idea of how much the schools contribute to the morning traffic mess, which has been the subject of much speculation this week.  This morning, the school district and principals are meeting to discuss changes in hours and other mitigations if the closure of the Slide continues past next week.

Click to read the city’s release on its new traffic measures.

Attention Motorists

Alternate Traffic Patterns In Effect For Weekdays

During The Closure Of State Route 1 At Devil’s Slide

As a temporary solution to the traffic problems caused by closure of State Route 1 at Devil’s Slide, the City of Half Moon Bay has implemented traffic control measures to limit access to State Route 92 from Main Street.  The City and Caltrans believe that by making State Route 92 at Main Street free flowing for east and westbound traffic, the current traffic jams will be reduced.  The peak morning commute hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.  The peak evening commute hours are from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The following changes to the traffic pattern will be put in effect during weekday commute hours starting immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

All through traffic on northbound Main Street at State Route 92 will be prohibited during major commute A.M. hours.  Drivers wishing to travel south on Main Street will be rerouted to State Route 1, then to Kelly Avenue for access to the downtown area.  Drivers wishing to access to the businesses on Main Street north of State Route 92 must use the intersection of State Route 1 and N. Main Street to do so.  All left turns from Main Street to State Route 92 will be prohibited during major A.M. commute hours.

During the morning commute hours, 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., no left turn will be allowed from westbound State Route 92 to southbound Main Street.  In addition, all eastbound traffic exiting the Strawflower Shopping Center next to the Burger King at the State Route 1 and 92 intersection will be rerouted to the Main Street exit at State Route 1 by US Bank.  Additionally, Caltrans is extending the timing of the left turn signal for southbound State Route 1 to eastbound 92 to move the largest number of vehicles through this intersection as possible during each cycle.  Also, Caltrans will phase the signals at State Route 1 and 92 with the signals at State Route 1 and Main Street.

At this time the evening commute turning movements have not been restricted.  However, the City and Caltrans may provide barricades to restrict certain turning movements if the traffic conditions and actions require the installation of the barricades at anytime.

Please direct questions to the City of Half Moon Bay at (650) 726-8260 or 726-8270.

Interested in Ride Sharing?

Call 511 and say Rideshare or and use Ridematch Tool

A huge kudos to the city for adding barriers to the areas people use to “sneak around” traffic.  Specifically the south bound area after Frenchman’s Creek.  It is rude and inconsiderate when people use that area to avoid the traffic other fellow coastsiders are patiently (sort of) sitting through.  By doing this, these rude people are adding to the commute time of those waiting because they need to merge with traffic.

I left the Princeton area at 6:15 this morning 4/5/06 and the traffic was backed up southbound on hwy 1 the worst I have seen. It took 40 minutes to get through the light at 92 and hwy 1 from Princeton.

It took me an hour and 1/2 leaving Montara at 8:15 to get to HMB.  The barricades that the city put up southbound on the right hand side at the frontage road (casa del mar area?) had been pushed to the side of the entrance and half the cars were using it to jump ahead of the jam.  My office overlooks Hwy. 1 in El Granada and the back-ups continued until about 11:00.

What are the chances of temporarily bussing kids from Montara and El Granada into HMB, rather than everyone driving separately?

We have a community transportation group made up of the Mayor (Marina Frasier), the CUSD, (John Bayless, John Mosley and Dwight Wilson) the County (Rich Gordon and Staff) and Sam Trans, as well as myself (I run the Coastside Opportunity Center) and our board,  and are looking into ways to ease the transportation issues of the coast both short term and long term.  I know that the school is meeting about solutions and the city counsel has taken the steps that Barry outlined earlier.  Transportation of children to school is a little more complicated than just getting a bus, as they need to be transported on an official yellow school bus. Carpooling is an obvious first step where we can focus.  I saw many cars this morning that had one parent/child, and the resulting gridlock is frustrating for everyone.

I left my house in Montara at 6:15 on Tuesday and arrived at work in Palo Alto at 7:15. Today, Wedsnesday, I left the house at 6:30 and arrived at work at 9:40. I didn’t reach HMB until 8:30ish. I guess tomorrow I wake up a half hour earlier.

I also had no problem on Tuesday. Today (Wednesday) was as bad as it has ever been.

Both days I left at 6:20 a.m. from Montara. But today traffic was backed up to the the airport at 6:25. By 7:45, I had only made it to Miramar. I don’t think that’s even 1 mile in that timeframe. I turned around and went home.

So the accident on 92 @ 35 was not the problem at 6:30.

Montara residents are at a real disadvantage because we are at the end of the line and everyone else has “cuts”. I called the CHP and they said extended closures are the responsibility of CalTrans. Hopefully, they will take some measures to improve traffic flow during the commute. The last time this happened there weren’t as many traffic lights on Hwy. 1.

At 9:00 AM it took about 30 minutes from El Granada to 92 @ Hwy 1.

I am wondering if this incident would help make the tunnel to complete sooner with more resources made available to the project.

Barry, just for grins I set up a website up where people could track travel times during the closure in a consistent fashion.  might be able to glean some patterns from this info.  All…feel free to use, contribute, steal, etc:

Thursday 8:15 am,
We live in Moss Beach.  My daughter left at 6:30am, arrived in HMB at 8.  She just called and said the traffic just stopped in El Granada…

I live in Moss Beach and entered hwy 1 via the harbor light at 5:52 am. It was evident traffic was building rapidly but I made it thru the 92 light in 20 minuets. From yesterday and todays reports traffic after 6am is frightening and I would image it could start getting worse earlier as more people try to leave earlier to beat the mess.

As a recent resident of Montara, I was concerned with the commute to my job and my children’s schools over the hill in Burlingame. I suppose that I, and other recent ‘coastsiders’, have been living in a fantasy land regarding the seriously under-planned, under-funded, and under-resourced transportation needs and realities of the coast in this new era. Where are the parallel N+S roads to take some of the load off Hwy1? What happens if there is a life threatening emergency that requires travel to resources not on the coast? Can we expect our children to sustain 4:45am wakeup, 2+ hour transit times, after school activites and homework until 9 or 10pm? Where has the leadership been in this area to address these needs? I hope we all remember these times in the upcoming election season. I sure will.

Mr. Clabaugh,

Welcome to the Coast!  You should probably call/email the folks on the Mid-Coast Community Council that “represent” you.

Believe it or not, there are many people who live Coastside who actually don’t have a problem with the roads and infrastructure being the way they are (not specifically any of the MCC officials, mind you…)

You will find plenty of info here on the MidCoast LCP - read up.  Some of the comments will really open your eyes wide.

CARPOOL, CARPOOL, CARPOOL!  As stated in Cheri Parr’s comment: “Carpooling is an obvious first step where we can focus.”  I have carpooled everyday this week with one or two others.  Yet, all of the other vehicles I glanced at only had one person in them.  And, NOT EVEN ONE Coastsider has registered (at 511.Org, Rideshare) since Monday to find a carpool!  The only way that it is going to get better is to reduce the number of vehicles, so PLEASE find someone to share the ride with at least one day a week.  Yes, carpooling can be a little inconvient and sometimes add a little extra time, but compared to the extra 30-60+ minutes we are all spending on our commute now, wouldn’t just a few mintues be worth the trade off?  We ALL need to make some effort toward improving the situation and travel times.

chris clabaugh wrote
“As a recent resident of Montara, I was concerned with the commute to my job and my children’s schools over the hill in Burlingame. I suppose that I, and other recent ‘coastsiders’, have been living in a fantasy land regarding the seriously under-planned, under-funded, and under-resourced transportation needs and realities of the coast in this new era.”

I agree. It is a fantasy to believe that one can live in a pristine, rural coastal area and at the same “enjoy” all the “conveniences” of modern urban living, such as high capacity freeways, big box stores, multiplex theatres, etc.

There is no shortage of people, however, who are working hard to bring all those modern urban conveniences to the coastside, so that it may soon look like every other community over the hill.

Radical suggestion: commuters leave cars at top of 92 (like there is room….) buses transport to HMB for pick up or transfer to Hwy. 1 northgoing commuter bus.

“high capacity freeways, big box stores, multiplex theatres, etc.”

sorry, but my rhetoric meter went off the charts.  Really, come on now.  I was hoping we could have a great big Target and Lowes soon.  Would save me lots of money on gas.  Not going to happen?  shoot.

Oh no, not again!  Having survived the 1995 closure, I am now retired so I don’t have to deal with the commute over 92 with the slide closed.  Le me whine a bit.  We could have had a beautiful scenic bypass already built.  But no, we got conned into an expensive, longer to build, dangerous (car in front of you on fire!)tunnel.  I remember when the tunnel people had booths at fairs.  They made it sound like we were going to pave over the garden of Eden.  My friends at work, who live over the hill, asked me why they had to vote on this tunnel, after all, they don’t live on the coast.  I told them because if they left it up to common sense coastsiders, we would have voted for the bypass, so it was made a countywide vote to scare the “over-the-hiller’s” into a tunnel.  We could have built a Ritz Carlton for the frogs and snakes and still have money left over.  We have more people since 1995 and gas prices have doubled, so that makes this closure worse.  So much for the “sooner, cheaper, safer” tunnel. I can’t believe it’s going to take so long to build our 14 caret tunnel.  What do we have, 2 people with teaspoons digging it?  Overseas seems to be able to get a tunnel built in 2 years.  The California taxpayers have been ripped off on this tunnel.

In response to Chris Clabaugh….did you ever ask yourself these questions BEFORE you moved your Family to the Coast?  Didn’t your Realtor warn you about this? LOL..Did you not notice shabby condition of Devils Slide? Think the tunnel is going in just to make our property values higher? As in 1995, things will calm down and we will adjust to the traffic and inconvience. We have great schools in Montara and HMB, you choose to take your kids to school far from home, that is your choice.  Your comment about elected officials is out of line, I do not agree with alot of what they do but no human could have prevented this.