Coastside Community First revives Foothill Blvd project

Posted by on Wed, May 3, 2006

Coastside Community First
The proposed roads are shown in red and go from Highway 1 between Terrace Ave and Kehoe Ave to behind the high school to intersect with Highway 92 and Stone Pine Road.

Riffing on the traffic congestion caused by the closure of Highway 1 at Devil’s Slide, the newly-formed Coastside Community First announced itself by proposing the revival of the idea of building two more major roads on the Coastside [pdf of proposal]:  Eastward from Highway 1 about halfway between Terrace Ave and Kehoe Ave (to be called Bayview Drive) and behind the high school (Foothill Boulevard) to connect with Highway 92.

The proposal cites a number of benefits: reduction of commuter traffic, speeding weekend visitors to the coast, improving access to the high school, improving access to Half Moon Bay’s new park, reducing traffic from Pacific Ridge on Terrace Avenue, making it possible to build the Beachwood subdivision, and improving access to downtown via Stone Pine Road, improving access to a future Boy’s and Girl’s Club near the Lutheran Church on Highway 1, and integration with the Highway 92/Main Street improvement project.

The new roads would be two lanes wide, but would include paved shoulders and bike paths. One suggestion in the proposal is to build an underpass at the intersection of Bayview Drive and Highway 1.

This is proposal has been around since Half Moon Bay was incorporated in 1959, but has always been problematic. In addition to its cost, Foothill Boulevard’s route contains known wetlands, and the addition of a underpass on Highway 1 will certainly change the character of spot on the Highway that is dominated by farmland and open space. This site currently has a view from the foothills to the ocean. The project is certain to increase the pressure for development along its route. The proposal says "Construction costs could be equitably shared between planned development owners and the public".

The proposal also does not address the issue of moving the current bottleneck from Main Street to the two-lane portion of Highway 92 and worsening weekend traffic on Highway 1 in El Granada.

Not a bad idea if the project stops at 92. There is no need to go throught the park and down Stone Pine. Let those neighborhoods live in peace.

Jim (HMB)


This is not a good idea for anyone who happens to live in the Highlands area.Increased traffic and population density at the expense of known wetlands and permanently robbing that area and the coast of the visual charm that we identify with Half Moon Bay.This proposed project does absolutely nothing to relieve our current state of congested arteries in and out of HMB. In fact if you allow yourself to look down the road, so to speak, the next logical step to occur would be the inevitable development along this proposed route thus making traffic matters even worse.

The article states that “Construction costs could be equitably shared between planned development owners and the public”. Who do you think would benefit from such a development? Not the public but the investors of said development. The public would foot half the bill yet the only return on their dollar would be increased population density as well as clogged traffic arteries.

Coastside Community First portrays themselves this way:  “Coastside Community First stands for a high-quality infrastructure sensitive to the environment”. Yet look at the map and you can see that all they want to do is develop this beautiful area for personal profit.

Jim, this proposal may never see the light of day but this is indeed a bad idea for both the stone Pine and especially the Highlands neighborhoods.

Coastside Community First smells of a wolf in sheeps clothing.

I agree wholeheartedly with John Marshall’s comment. 

As bad as traffic is at the moment, can you imagine how bad it would be if all the open space was built out?

Now that median home prices are declining in San Mateo County and on the coast, does anyone really think that increasing the supply of new homes (which would drive home prices down further) is really in the best interests of our Community?

Maintaining infrastructure is great.  But using it as a wedge to get more development is a bad idea.

I’m still hoping that one of the directors of CCF will provide us with some thoughts on the following:

1. Realistically, how much would this bypass cost, including all of the necessary permitting and environmental reviews?

2. How would the cost be shared between the City of Half Moon Bay (presumably the primary applicant for all permits, etc.), the County of San Mateo, and the developers?

3. How many new houses would have to be built to make the project worthwhile for developers to help pay for it?

4. Legally, how can a road can be built that runs directly through known wetlands or sensitive habitat?

5. How would a new signalized intersection on Hwy 92 (at Foothill) improve traffic flow?

The foothill plan is a pie in the sky. just keep the light green at 92 west from three to seven and make main street south right turn only and 92 east no left turn. (Close main street to through traffic) no more lights should be added until the HWY 1 and 92 are four lanes for a few miles out of town in boht directions. A one way cut-off to the road that serves the H.S.  from 92 to 1 would also add no lights and get traffic away from the intersection of 92 and main. Make HWY 1 north four lanes past frenchmans creek wiht a nice bike path.

I am not associated with CCF but after reading some of these comments I may be.

These responses are the standard “just say no” nonsense I’ve heard for years now. The roads and other infrastructure coastside are horribly and embarrassingly inadequate. And it is attitudes like those above that have kept it so - stagnated in inertia.

I have news for all of you naysayers - development and growth have occurred anyway. Refusing to expand infrastructure only hurts those already living here. Frankly, I support severe limits on growth *through legislation* - but making life miserable for those already here is just shortsighted not to mention ineffective.

Personally, I’d like to see more parallel roads like the Foothill proposal running all the way to Montara. It is insane and unsafe that the only artery is Highway 1.

The tunnel or bypass should have been built 20 years ago, Highway 1 needs to be widened to three lanes (with an alternating commute lane) from El Granada to HMB, and 92 needs to be widened to four lanes all the way to 280 (particularly with all the heavy truck traffic from the dump and the quarry).

I desperately hope that these recent fiascos with Devil’s Slide and the fiber optic cable being cut will cause the rest of the coastside to wake up and face the music.

I am tired of feeling captive to traffic and having my livelihood put at risk because of insane commute times. I feel like the HMB City Council, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and Caltrans have been woefully derelict in their duty to protect and serve the community.

Brian Dantes
El Granada

  Kevin Lansing has asked some good questions about the Foothill/Bayview discussion outline Coastside Community First released Tuesday.  I should emphasize that what follows is not authorized by CCF, and are my opinions alone.  To begin, I would like to emphasize two core beliefs I hope we all share: first, that reasonable people can disagree, meaning that the person who disagrees with you is not necessarily less reasonable; and second, that a community of reasonable people can find consensus in a way that balances conflicting needs for the overall good.

  Kevin expresses concern about adding two signalized intersections, one at Foothill/92, the other at Bayview/1.  I share that concern and prefer underpasses.  They’re more visually elegant (if built partway into the ground), safer, and do not interrupt traffic flows.  The County is planning some pedestrian underpasses for Hwy. 1 on the MidCoast, and we’re building a double-bore tunnel almost a mile long.  So they’re doable, but more expensive than stoplights, which brings me to Kevin’s second concern – that is, the price tag.

  I think the roadway should be only two lanes, prohibit trucks over a certain tonnage, and have residential speed limits.  Over half of the one-mile distance would be through planned development properties, whose owners had made prior commitments to finance roadway and intersection improvements through and adjacent to their projects.  Unfortunately both developers now have the City in court on unfavorable terms.  Because a bypass around the Hwy92/Main St./Hwy 1 Bottleneck would benefit more than Half Moon Bay, specifically the MidCoast and over-the-hill visitors, the City would have a strong case to receive outside funding for the roadway.

  Kevin asks how many houses would be allowed on the planned development properties.  The number should be reasonably low, include a diversity of types of homes, and require that the developers not create visually repetitive, tract-like subdivisions.  What I pointed out in Tuesday’s City Council meeting is that the City has made an agreement with Ailanto that needs to be reexamined.  The number of homes was reduced in the settlement, but the development’s aggregate square footage didn’t much change, so now the Ailanto houses will all be close to 5,000 square feet.  Previously many of the houses were planned to be about half that size.  Is it better to have all large homes, or have twice the number of homes that are half the size?  This is a complex question that will elicit a range of opinion.

    I’m focused on the access question for Ailanto, and am persuaded by the prior City and Coastal Commission approvals that were conditioned on creation of Foothill and/or Bayview, and which prohibited using Terrace for Ailanto’s sole access.  The 2004 settlement agreement eliminated those access conditions, even though the question of access was apparently not being litigated.  Members of the public, including some of those posting on, may not be aware that the City and Commission have approved the Ailanto project.  As it stands, the houses will be built with sole permanent access through Terrace.  In the agreement the City and Commission also exempted the Ailanto development from Measure D limits, which I question, as the Ailanto 2001 resubmittal was considered de novo. Measure D is a good piece of direct legislation, and since I can’t find any provisions for exemptions within it, I’m concerned that the Ailanto agreement might set a dangerous precedent.

    Finally, I share the wetlands concerns Kevin raises.  My belief is that planned developers should be encouraged or required to create water impounds – large ponds or small lakes – with perennial fresh water that will truly sustain hydrophytic plants and animals.  The problem with many of the delineated wetlands on the Beachwood/Ailanto properties is that they identify seasonal or ephemeral wetlands that can’t support a true wetlands biome through a prolonged dry season, much less a multi-year drought.  That’s why the Coastal Commission biologist reported that the only element of the Ailanto property – five times the size of Beachwood – that reliably promotes biological diversity is the manmade stock pond.

    The way to return the Coastside to something of the garden of Eden it once was is to recreate sustainable perennial wetlands, most of which have been destroyed and which no amount of seasonal wetlands on fallow farmland will match.  About a century ago, what we know as Lake Merced was a river releasing into a vast oceanfront estuary, as was the area occupied by the golf course at Sharp Park, and Linda Mar, and our own Pilarcitos Creek.  Today, our interest in wetlands should be based solely on a concern for encouraging biological diversity.  That means creating perennial wetlands where they’re most effective.  And perhaps allowing a roadway bypass of the Bottleneck where our community most needs it.

From one Brian to another,

Not surprising that you saw right through more of the same old rhetoric.

Folks like Mr. Lansing are simply trying to confuse people and steer the debate towards himself.  Seems like some of the others are simply confused - perhaps their reading comprehension is failing.

Find out for yourself - call one of the CCF folks.  They’ll be willing to talk…and listen and act.  Others just talk and impede.

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”
-Nigel Tufnel


What is so confusing?  Don, who I am assuming is a CCF member, didn’t appear too confused by any of Kevin’s questions.  Neither did I. Kevin brought up some very good common sense questions that I think many people would ask.

If improving infrastructure includes major bypasses, expanding HWY 1 so that it looks more like PCH and proposing HWY 92 be 4 lanes up and down, then many people will are going to have questions and concerns.  Is there a problem with that?


I don’t think it does us much good as adults to be focusing the blame on the wrong agencies.  The State highways are the primary
responsibility of the State government, as in State Highway Route #1 and State Highway Route #92.

When we read in the headlines that the State’s budgetary problems require “reprogramming” of billions of dollars of highway money that means there’s a local effect.

We shouldn’t be forgetting that the Schwarzenegger administration
pulled its share of the funding for Bay Area highway projects last
year in what San Mateo Councilmember Sue Lempert called a
“Transportation Disaster”.  If memory serves, that pulled something
like 5 million dollars out of the 92 & Main Street Widening project
just as the County and City were pulling it all together. 

I also remember that Councilman Jim Grady and Supervisor Rich Gordon worked out a deal whereby a County agency is “advancing” the State’s share of the money so the project could keep moving…

How about that? The County “loaning” money to the State so a State
Highway can be improved?

It doesn’t look to me as if the County or City is where we should be looking for correction to our infrastructure problems.

John Lynch

Foothill Blvd. Fantasy
Following is the opinion piece I submitted to the Review before the newly formed Pac sprung a surprise at the May 2 City council Meeting with their 7-color brochure promoting a new abbreviated version of Foothill Blvd. The editor of the Review claimed to have insufficient space to include my comments in May 3 issue.

Dear Editor,

Anyone who has been listening to public comment at recent HMB City Council meetings or reading letters to the Review must be aware that since the Devil’s Slide failure, some vocal coastsiders want to resurrect the idea of constructing Foothill Blvd.  The latest salvo is the opinion piece by Mr. Larimer in the April 26 issue of the Review. Frustrated motorists who might be tempted to jump on the Foothill Blvd. bandwagon might first wish to consider a few pertinent facts.

1. The City’s official version of the Foothill Blvd. Highway 1 Bypass (Circulation Element, 1992) calls for a 4-lane road that would extend east from a signalized intersection at Hwy. #1 & Young Ave. and then south behind the neighborhoods of Frenchman’s Creek, Seahaven, Grandview, and Highland, behind the High School, across Hwy #92 at the Goat Farm, and finally connect to Stone Pine Road in Cypress Cove.  The construction would require a 4-lane bridge over Frenchman’s Creek, additional bridges over seasonal creeks, and probably causeways over wetlands.  The cost for a project of this magnitude can be expected to exceed $150 million.
(Two years ago, when examining alternatives to the Terrace Ave. light, Ailanto Properties was given a professional estimate of $13 million for a short 2-lane segment of Foothill Blvd. which would only extend from its signalized intersection with Hwy 92 north to Pacific Ridge.)
2. There are no federal, state or local funds for a costly new road project on the Coastside for the next 27 years of Transportation Authority planning.
3. Even if there were a miraculous source of funding for construction, the multimillion-dollar cost of maintaining Foothill Blvd. as a Bypass would fall on the City of Half Moon Bay, which has limited financial resources.
4. Oil stockpiles worldwide are declining while the worldwide demand for oil is increasing. As we all know too well, the price of gasoline has gone up and it can be expected to rise unless we drastically reduce consumption. At the present time, the most feasible way to lower our gasoline consumption and fuel costs is to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road.

I believe it’s time to put an end to the Foothill Blvd. fantasy and implement realistic solutions to our local traffic woes.  Realistic solutions include improved public transportation, school bussing, carpooling, and the construction of our already planned pedestrian/bicycle trail parallel to Hwy #1.

Sofia Freer


Don’s post, which I agree with wholeheartedly, was not available when I posted due to the time lag from when he posted it until Barry released it.  Nothing confusing about his message.

I didn’t say Mr. Lansing’s questions were confusing.  I said the others were confused.  How about this little gem:

“Yet look at the map and you can see that all they want to do is develop this beautiful area for personal profit.”  Where is that from?  What basis exists for that statement?  Pure rhetoric.  “...using it as a wedge to get more development is a bad idea.”  huh?

The CCF proposal depends on the assumption that the Foothill Blvd. bypass will improve traffic around Hwys 1 & 92.  But what is this assumption based on?

If there is an over/underpass from 1 S to 92 E, then sure, there might be some relief for the morning commute.  But if Foothill & 92 is a stoplight, the most likely effect is that traffic would be worse.

Especially with the slide closed, the flow of traffic at commute time is best when the existing “bypass”—Main St.—is closed.

Is the problem that there aren’t enough roads, or that there are too many cars?  If you’re trying to stuff the proverbial 10 lbs. of sh—into a 5 lb. bag, is the bag too small, or is there just too much sh—?

Before we spend $100+ million on turning 1 & 92 into a Pacifica-inspired maze of concrete, let’s take a serious look into reducing the number of cars entering that intersection.

If I wasn’t already enjoying my day job so much, I’d be looking into running a bus service up & down the coast.  Between taking students to HMB HS, Cunha, & Hatch, and taking commuters to BART and the Park & Ride lots, I bet the buses would be full—and relatively inexpensive—much of the time.

Why put the burden on taxpayers when the problem can be solved so much more efficiently (and profitably) by the private sector?  I don’t think we’ve even begun to explore the possibilities.

In response to Dan Blick who feels there are too many cars and that a solution, in part, might be a bus service that he would start if he didn’t enjoy his day job so much…

Certainly a convenient on time service covering a wide area might get people out of their cars. Has anyone explored the reason why Sam Trans doesn’t offer more service on the coast?

Mr. Blick also says (and I agree) that we haven’t even begun to explore the possibililtes.

Rethinking Foothill is a possibility. Why not examine it in view of an updated perspective? As well as other possibilites—ferry service, Sam Trans, car pooling etc.

And do it for the long haul, not just until Devils Slide is fixed or the tunnel bored.

A forum for exchanging ideas is a Good Thing!

Mary I did post about two weeks ago suggesting a ferry service from pillar point to fishermans wharf. Have spoken to others on dog walks whatever, there is an interest in a ferry service at least while devil slide is under repair. Have been talking to the Water Transit Authority with some success. They have $1.6 billion for emergency ferrys when we have the big quake. One problem is the ferry has to be certified to go out in the ocean, all ferrys we have now are just certified for the bay. Second the trip would take about 1.5 hours each way & cost would have to underwritten at least during the time DSE is in effect.

Steve Habelow
<email>[email protected]</email>