Posts Tagged ‘CEQA’

As one of the most scenic places on Earth, the California coast is not the place to be constructing expressways. The fact that CEQA allows this is a huge problem:

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Marie Weiner tentatively denied the claims in the CEQA lawsuit brought by Pacificans for a Scenic Coast about the proposed widening of Highway 1. The Calera Creek Parkway project seeks to widen Highway 1 from Fairway Park to Rockaway by adding an additional traffic lane, a shoulder and a bike lane on each side.

The CEQA lawsuit contends the Calera Creek Parkway project was not adequately described at the time of the EIR, that the project is out of scale with Pacifica’s scenic nature, the EIR contains contradictory information on impacts of threatened species, and that the EIR did not adequately address adverse impacts of the project, according to Pacificans for a Scenic Coast.

The topics explored during the two-day hearing included concerns about noise, water run-off, species protection, traffic and pedestrian safety, greenhouse gas emissions and what the new road will look like in the neighborhood.

The “bike lane” in this case just means cyclists get to ride on the shoulder of an expressway. The new Devil’s Slide Class I path opened just down the road, but who wants to ride on an expressway to get there?

Before and after photosimulation

Before and after photosimulation

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I am not of the opinion that CEQA law itself requires “reform”. In the vast majority of projects, the process works fine for all concerned. There is, however, a small number of cases where inexperienced or clueless Judges have made some really baffling decisions. Case in point: the Metrolink Perris Vally extension:

The court released a single-sentence ruling late Thursday, March 28, denying a writ of mandate filed by the environmental group Friends of Riverside’s Hills. The group sued the Riverside County Transportation Commission in 2011, claiming it had failed to address a number of environmental consequences of the commuter train plan.

Yet the full text made available Monday, April 1, shows Judge Sharon J. Waters ruled for Friends on five of 15 points noted in the project’s environmental impact report: the effects on soil, use of track lubricant, pedestrian safety, train wheel noise and construction noise.

Hopefully the project won’t get held up because the EIR failed to mention the use of track lubricant.



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