Did you leap today? It is, after all, a leap year and today’s the leap day. A perfect day for a headline post. For those unfamiliar, this post generally contains headlines about California Highways that I’ve seen over the last month. It also serves as fodder for the updates to my California Highways site, so there are also other pages and things I’ve seen that I wanted to remember for the site updates. Lastly, the post also includes some things that I think would be of peripheral interest to my
highway-obsessed highway-interested readers. Speaking of the California Highways site: I’ve been busy working on updates, and all I have left is incorporation of this headline posts and checking the AARoads Pacific Southwest Forum.
So what has happened in February with me? Well, I received my sample ballot, which means I did my five-part deep dive analysis: I—State and National Offices (excluding judges); II—County and City (Los Angeles) Local Offices (excluding judges); III—Local and State Measures (nee Propositions); IV—Judicial Offices (County and State); and V—Summary. We also saw a few shows: The Wiz at the Pantages; The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On at Canyon Theatre Guild; and Matthew Bournes’ Romeo + Juliet at the Ahmanson Theatre.
The podcast continues apace. Two more episodes dropped in February, and I’ve got more recording to schedule with Tom. Season 2 scripts are done; I’ll start writing Season 3, covering Routes 3 through 7, once I’m past the highway page updates. Episode 2.07 prompted a friend at Caltrans to offer to do an interview to talk about Fastrak and tolling in California; we’ll coordinate that as a bonus episode. Please tell your friends about the podcast, “like”, “♥”, or “favorite” it, and give it a rating in your favorite podcatcher. Yes, the sound quality of the episodes does get better — we were learning. As always, you can keep up with the show at the podcast’s forever home at https://www.caroutebyroute.org , the show’s page on Spotify for Podcasters, or you can subscribe through your favorite podcatching app or via the RSS feeds (CARxR, Spotify for Podcasters) . The following episodes have been posted this month:
- CA RxR 2.08: Route 1: Marin and …. Episode 2.08 of California Highways: Route by Route continues our exploration of Route 1. We’ve now crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and are continuing north from the Marin Headlands, up along the coast through Sausalito and Marin, Muir Beach and Stinson Beach, Point Reyes, Bodega Bay, Jenner and Fort Ross until we reach the Marin Headlands. As always, we’ll cover the history of the route, and some current projects along the route. (Spotify for Podcasters)
- CA RxR 2.09: Route 1: The Redwood Forest. Episode 2.09 of California Highways: Route by Route continues our exploration of Route 1, as we complete discussing present-day Route 1 in Mendocino County from Gualala to Leggett and current Route 1’s end at US 101. Along the way, we’ll discuss the communities of Gualala, Point Arena, Albion, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Westport and Rockport, and Leggett. As always, we’ll cover the history of the route, and some current projects along the route. (Spotify for Podcasters)
Looking forward, episode 2.10 will conclude the exploration of Route 1 by exploring a former portion of Sign Route 1: The Lost Coast. This will focus on what is now Route 208 and Route 211. The season will conclude with two episodes on Route 2: One on the flatlands from Santa Monica to Glendale; and one on the mountain segments along the Angeles Crest Highway.
Well, you should now be up to date. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for February. Note that there aren’t as many this month: There are fewer major projects of interest, as I tend not to note resurfacings or most storm repairs that are fixed by the time I do the end of the month post.
[Ħ Historical information | ＄ Paywalls, ＄＄ really obnoxious paywalls, and ∅ other annoying restrictions. I’m no longer going to list the paper names, as I’m including them in the headlines now. Note: For ＄ paywalls, sometimes the only way is incognito mode, grabbing the text before the paywall shows, and pasting into an editor. See this article for more tips on bypassing paywalls. 🎧 indicates an primarily audio article. 🎥 indicates a primarily video article. ]
- News Flash • Funding Approved for Highway 49 Evacuation Rout. (Nevada County) The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has approved a project to widen Highway 49 between Ponderosa Pines Way just north of Alta Sierra to Wolf Road in Grass Valley. The $101.5 million project includes the addition of shoulders and a center two-way left turn, which will allow safer operations for vehicles entering and exiting the highway. The improvements will also reduce wildfire evacuation times if the need arises. The commission approved the project at its December meeting; no timeline has been set yet as to when construction will begin Supervisor Ed Scofield serves as chairman of the Nevada County Transportation Commission, who submitted the project for funding in coordination with Caltrans District 3.
- ＄Fight over I-15 express lanes exposes rift between freeway widening and California climate, pollution goals. (Los Angeles Times) Express lanes on eight miles of the truck-choked Interstate 15 will break ground this year and, officials promise, speed up commuters’ slog through the Inland Empire’s ever-growing sprawl of warehouses, subdivisions and polluted air. But its contentious approval by the California Transportation Commission last month exposed a deepening rift in the state between its climate goals and the list of freeway widening projects that some say are gliding through without scrutiny and threatening the health of the people who live near them. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now looking into allegations that the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and the California Department of Transportation may have misled it about the potential environmental harm the project could cause communities that breathe in some of the nation’s worst air. Both say the project was vetted thoroughly and is sound.
- Metro Releases New Lower 710 Freeway Proposal; Agency Still Plans to Widen 710, Doesn’t Rule Out Residential Demolitions. (Streetsblog Los Angeles) Remember when community pressure killed Metro and Caltrans’ planned $6+ billion widening of the lower 710 Freeway? That was less than two years ago. Metro and Caltrans canceled their plans to demolish hundreds of homes, apartment buildings, and businesses in Black and Latino neighborhoods. At the time, Metro proclaimed it had turned over a new leaf, and was now centering equity and supporting multimodal transportation, and that Metro home demolitions for freeway expansion were a thing of the past. This week, Metro is back with a new proposal to widen the lower 710 Freeway. But wait, there’s some lipstick on this pig! In truth, it’s not as bad as the mega-widening that Metro was hell-bent on a couple years ago, but there’s still harmful freeway widening.
- Caltrans announces completion of environmental documents for Highway 37 work. (The Bay Link Blog) Caltrans announced on Friday the completion of environmental documents needed to begin design work on the SR-37 Flood Reduction Project in Marin County. The Fairfield Daily Republic reported on the Highway 37 issue in its Friday edition(link is external). Caltrans also announced that several new agencies are joining the short- and long-term efforts to improve the 21-mile corridor that runs between Vallejo and Novato. The Resilient SR-37 Partnership agencies include Caltrans, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Transportation Authority of Marin, Napa Valley Transportation Authority, Solano Transportation Authority, Sonoma County Transportation Authority and Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART).
- Richmond-San Rafael Bridge managers reexamine westbound lane options. (Marin Independent Journal) Bay Area transportation planners are taking another look at what it would take to open the westbound shoulder of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge for commuter traffic. The emergency and maintenance lane on the bridge’s upper deck was converted into a bicycle and pedestrian path that is protected by a moveable barrier in 2019 for a four-year trial period. The controversial path remains open pending a final report that could determine the fate of the test project. Critics, mostly commuters and their employers, say traffic is worse than ever, while supporters maintain the path is a successful multimodal connection between the North Bay and the East Bay.
- Slide on Highway 1 in Big Sur moves closure north of Paul’s Slide. (KSBW) A new slide along Highway 1 in Big Sur has moved the highway closure further north of Paul’s Slide. According to Caltrans, the slide happened near Big Creek Bridge, located 45 miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The highway was already closed at Paul’s Slide, where damage from the 2023 storms forced Caltrans to reroute Highway 1 away from the cliff. There is no estimated time for reopening this new slide on Highway 1.