🛣 Headlines About California Highways – February 2021

Another month, another bunch of headlines. February was quieter. Here in Southern California, it was mostly dry and quite windy. In Northern and Central California, it was a different story. But beyond that, it was the new new normal. So recovery from COVID-19 as the numbers stabilize and the vaccine rollout continues, and the big news from DC was that there was no real big news. Nice for a change, to have the blustery hot air to be coming from the high desert.

Here are your headlines for February. As always: Ready, set, discuss.

[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls and  other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; FB/Fresno Bee; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; MH/Monterey Herald; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; NW/Newsweek; UKT/The Telegraph (UK) ]

  • /LAT 23 miles of Highway 1 near Big Sur close, require repairs. Caltrans officials say landslide repairs will keep Highway 1 south of Big Sur closed for months, rewriting travel plans for anyone who had been hoping to make a coastal road trip from Southern California in early spring. Beyond that, “It is too early to establish a timeline,” Caltrans spokesman Kevin Drabinski said. Though Monterey County officials partially lifted a storm-related evacuation order in the area Monday afternoon, the debris flow in some places “is still active. … And we have rain coming as soon as tonight.”
  • Peninsula Avenue interchange revamp returns. San Mateo city officials presented residents on Wednesday with updated information about its Highway 101/Peninsula Avenue Interchange Project, designed to improve public safety and reduce traffic while removing the Poplar ramps to the south. The project would address long-term safety and traffic operations and reduce travel times within the Peninsula Avenue interchange area for San Mateo and Burlingame residents. It would include improved bicycle and pedestrian travel options on Peninsula Avenue from just west of North Humboldt Street to North Bayshore Boulevard. City officials said the project would improve safety in the area near schools, reduce travel times and accommodate future traffic. San Mateo expects to have a significant traffic congestion reduction in the area during peak hours in the morning and early evening.
  • /PD Work starts on final phase of 20-year $750 million Highway 101 project in Sonoma-Marin counties. Blink and you might miss the recent lane shift on northbound Highway 101, just west of the dog park at Deer Creek Village in north Petaluma. In mid-January, Caltrans redirected northbound traffic onto a pair of lanes in the median, just as the highway begins a gentle incline and crosses over the SMART railroad tracks. Most drivers probably don’t even notice that subtle shift, which allows workers from Ghilotti Construction in Santa Rosa to keep widening that section of freeway from two to three lanes. To those tracking the progress of the Marin-Sonoma Narrows Project, that lane shift was a very big deal. It marked the beginning of a final part of this 20-year undertaking which, at long last, is on the homestretch.
  • /SJMN Storm could complicate Highway 1 slideout recovery. As crews continued working to assess the scope of the Highway 1 slideout south of Big Sur while starting clean-up and repair work, this week’s anticipated storm could make those efforts more difficult. According to Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers, additional rain and runoff in the wake of last week’s atmospheric river storm that drenched the Big Sur coast could delay progress being made on the 150-foot section of washed-out highway at Rat Creek about 30 miles north of the San Luis Obispo County line. “Any additional runoff or rain could create a scenario of more time to clean up, (and) more slide activity,” Shivers said. “Water is pooling in areas above the highway and we need to deal with that. Dryer conditions allow for more steady progress.”
  • Highway 101 at 135 bridge replacement to start Feb. 1. A project to reconstruct the bridges on US Highway 101 at the Interchange with State Route 135 in Los Alamos will begin on Monday, Feb. 1. Motorists will encounter one-way reversing traffic control on State Route 135 between Main Street and San Antonio Boulevard Monday through Friday from 8 am until 4 pm and during the overnight hours from 8 pm until 6 am.
  • /SDUT Caltrans seeks public input on widening state Route 67. Caltrans is seeking public comments to bolster its environmental studies that will be used to determine the practicality of widening state Route 67, including portions connected to Poway Road. Also under consideration for project inclusion are bike lanes plus human and animal crossings.
  • North Coast Corridor Program: Reflection and anticipation for 40-year vision. The North Coast Corridor (NCC) program jointly operated by SANDAG and Caltrans is a balanced set of transportation, environmental, and coastal access projects to improve the quality of life for residents, create a stronger local and regional economy for the future, and enhance the north San Diego County coastal environment. The $6 billion, 40-year vision is an implementation blueprint for developing and building projects as part of a holistic and connected system of mobility facilities. These efforts align with SANDAG’s vision for the 2021 Regional Plan, which reimagines how people and goods could move throughout the region in the 21st century, fundamentally shaped by five key strategies for mobility, collectively known as the 5 Big Moves—Complete Corridors, Transit Leap, Mobility Hubs, Flexible Fleets, and the Next OS.

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👩🏼👨🏾👧🏾🧑🏼👩‍🦰 From Mistakes and Missteps Comes Learning and Realization

For some reason, the whole mess at Gimlet Media related to the Reply All Test Kitchen series and its fallout, which I wrote about in my last post, has continued to fascinate me. I’ve been reading tweet threats by those involved and related: Eric Eddings, Starlee Kine, PJ Vogt, Sruthi Pinnamaneni, Alex Goldman, the Gimlet Union, Emmanuel Dzotsi, and others. As a long time listener, I never quite understood what the Union drive at Gimlet was about. One sees a company by the image they project, and I viewed Gimlet through the eyes of the Startup Podcast and Reply All, through Science Vs and Little Known Facts. This incident has made me realize that what I saw was a facade. More importantly, looking back, it showed they didn’t listen to what they were reporting.

As I noted in my last post, at the time of the starting of Gimlet, Alex Blumberg noted that there were major problems with diversity in Gimlet’s staff. They planned to do something about it. In an episode of Reply All that I cite to this day, they explored why diversity was so important in the workplace: when you hire people from the same background and the same institution, you always get the same view and the same answers. Yet even with that reporting, the recent Test Kitchen series and the subsequent fallout made clear that Gimlet didn’t learn. They hired the team and people from other podcasts they knew: from This American Life and Planet Money and NPR — all of whom had the same views and background and cliques. Just like the Bon Appetit situation they wrote about (at least from what I’ve been reading and hearing), they didn’t give spaces for the other voices. Well, perhaps they did for a short time, but they didn’t last. It was tokenization, not representation. At least, that’s from what I’m hearing and reading. I’m a long time listener, not a podcast. Just like with live theatre: I’m an audience member, which is vital for the industry.

But what is more disappointing is that this pattern of behavior is common across the podcast industry. Helen Zaltzman and the Allusionist podcast left Radiotopia. Why? Zaltzman cited a lack of racial diversity at the Radiotopia: “I have raised this fact repeatedly, recommended existing shows or potential showmakers to approach, questioned the excuses given for why the line-up stayed very white – small capacity and limited resources and insufficient money were frequently cited. So I offered money. And now, in case it makes more space and resources available, I’m removing myself.”

The problem is real. Stephanie Foo wrote a piece in 2020 about diversity problems in public media. It was her third time having to write the article, because people were not learning.  She first wrote it in 2015. In the introduction to that article, she noted: “It’s about time that public media came to terms with the fact that it does not serve the public as a whole. More hosts and program directors realize that a market of POC exists — and if they don’t cater to it, they’ll fail to grow their audience. And I’m glad the people in charge are realizing that when it comes to attracting minorities, throwing some hip-hop beatz as a transition between stories is about as effective and transparent as Mitt Romney’s spray tan. Finally, finally, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the solution to our diversity problem is hiring producers of color, and that diversifying your business is smart from a content perspective.” But did people listen? Did they really change their workplaces? Evidently not.

Back in 2015, Wired wrote about the lack of diversity in podcast voices: “Don’t replicate the stale listenership of public radio, and offer yet another way for the same culturally dominant demographic to tell each other their ideas. Rather than build a wider network of white male voices and listeners, let’s take the momentum and support of networks to promote some podcasts featuring everyone else.” There was an article on this in 2016. This was pointed out again in 2017: “Diversity is another huge challenge faced by the podcast industry, according to the report. As of mid-2016, only a few of the top-100 iTunes podcasts — shows like “Code Switch” and “Snap Judgment” — were designed to amplify diverse voices. Most podcast hosts are also male.”

But just as with theatre: diversity in the hosts at the front is only the visible tip. Diversity needs to be throughout: from the researchers to those pitching the stories to those producing to those editing to those marketing to those … The Reply All podcast perhaps said it best back in 2016:

LESLIE says that Twitter’s lack of diversity doesn’t just affect the workplace atmosphere, but it goes straight to the heart of the product itself.

LESLIE: Obviously if you don’t have people of diverse backgrounds building your product, you’re going get a very very narrowly focused product that may do one or two things really well or just may not do anything really well. And if you look at Twitter as a product, it doesn’t a lot of the simple things. It doesn’t do direct messaging well. It doesn’t do media sharing well, right? And if you had people from diverse backgrounds, you may have been able to expand, you know, what what you thought was possible?

GOLDMAN. Let me ask you this how must of your desire to see diverse workplaces comes from the fact that it’s just morally correct to have diverse workplaces versus it will make your product much better.

LESLIE: Yes. The answer to that question is yes. It’s going to, you know, diverse teams have better outcomes, that is, there’s so much has been written on that in the last 30 years I don’t even know why we’re talking about it. And and I think, you know, I hate sounding like, you know, like a total socialist, but arising tide lifts all boats.

Looking back at this transcript, you know what stands out at me? Who did the interview. Alex Goldman. Not PJ.  And in the latest problems at RA, who was there arguing for diversity and its benefits and the union. Goldman.

As audience members — as listeners to podcasts — I’m starting to wonder if we are hearing but not listening. The problems with diversity have been there. People have been talking about them for years. They have been writing about them. But I’m not sure we have been hearing. But they have been coming to the foreground now. We are learning about the problems at Radiotopia and Gimlet. It is just like how in mid-2020, we because to learn and understand about the problems in the Broadway theatre, and that we needed the diversity throughout.

So what can we — as the audience — do. I think we need to let the podcasting companies — Spotify, Earwolf, NPR, etc. — know we want diversity throughout. Not a host here and there, but in the research, writing, producing, and technical staffs.  We need to find podcasts that exhibit those characteristics and make it know that we are going out of our way to listen to them, and that we want those diverse viewpoints. Although I’m pretty backed up on podcasts, I’m open to recommendations for podcasts that fit this mold.

I also hope that Gimlet uses this incident to do what it does best, and what it did when it started: Turn that microphone on itself. I’d like to see the remaining hosts at RA — Alex and Emmanuel — explore how diversity went wrong at Gimlet, going back to when the problem was first cited in 2015, to when RA touched on the importance of structural diversity back in 2016, exploring the diversity problem in the podcasting industry. They might even be able to salvage some of the Bon Appetit story. But most importantly, I hope they can talk about how the problem is being solved, and being solved in a permanent, long lasting way.

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📰 Diversity, Gimlet, and Hindsight

As you know, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Fewer, since I’ve been working from home; but still, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Today on my walk, I made a special effort to listen to an episode of Reply All from Gimlet about the mess at Bon Appetit, the first episode of “Test Kitchen”. This came about because an article in the LA Times talked about how Reply All had discontinued this podcast after episode #2 of 4. Why? Here’s a quote:

The decision comes after a former Gimlet staffer accused two members of the “Reply All” team of creating a “toxic dynamic” at the company. Eric Eddings’ allegations went viral on Twitter earlier this month and prompted the departures of host PJ Vogt and senior reporter Sruthi Pinnamaneni.

After this, one of the remaining hosts Alex Goldman posted a 2 minute message that noted:

We now understand that we should never have published the series as reported. And the fact that we did was a systemic editorial failure.

So, although I had been waiting to listen to the episode for a while, thinking it would be similar to a series from The Sporkful, I now understood this was different. And listening to it with the benefit of the additional hindsight, it took on additional meaning.  But more importantly, it made me think back to an episode of Reply All from 2016 that I loved, about the importance of diversity in the workplace. It explored diversity at Twitter. It made me think of an episode of Gimlet’s Start Up podcast that explored diversity at Gimlet, where the host noted:

If you were to walk into Gimlet HQ, there are a few things you’d probably notice right off the bat. First, it’s crowded – like a grungy dorm room. Second, the lighting… it’s not great. Not many windows. Third, it’s white. Really white. 24 of Gimlet’s 27 employees are white. In this episode, we look at diversity (or lack thereof) at Gimlet. And we try to figure out what diversity should mean for the company going forward.

It goes to show: you can talk about diversity all you want, but if you don’t learn the lesson … if you don’t make that workplace better .. you fail.

I look forward to future Reply All episodes where they address this.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – January 2021

And with the flip of a calendar page, the first month of 2021 is in the books. This year was supposed to be better—and in some ways it is. We have competent leadership again, with scientists and smart people using facts to make decision. But the COVID related impacts continue, and the vaccine rollout is slow. Roadtrips will likely still be day trips, if they happen at all, and they won’t be until the summer at best. Theatre? Although I’ve got a few shows ticketed, I expect them to cancel and reschedule until June or later. The COVID waiting pattern continues…

But our highway workers are essential workers (and thank you to them). Our highway planners can work remotely. As such, the headlines continue unabated. Here are your headlines of various articles and other things posted related to California Highways during January 2021.

[Ħ Historical information | Paywalls and other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; FB/Fresno Bee; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; NW/Newsweek ]

Highway Headlines

  • Historic Patton Depot demolished. The Santa Fe Kite Route Patton Depot on Highland Avenue, just west of Patton State Hospital was recently emolished for safety reasons after it was found to be structurally unsound. According to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which owns the building and property, demolition of the building began on Monday, Dec. 14, after the city of San Bernardino issued a demolition permit. Demolition work is expected to continue through the middle of January. The Moorish brick train station, opened by Santa Fe Railroad in 1898 as part of the historic Kite Route, connected several San Bernardino Valley towns and Los Angeles area cities with passenger and freight service.
  • SANDAG to Enforce SR-125 Toll Violations for First Time Since Last April. State Route 125 toll violations will begin to be enforced Tuesday for the first time since the San Diego Association of Governments officially waived them last April in light of economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SANDAG Board of Directors voted late last month to approve the reinstatement of toll violations for the South Bay Expressway. Those tolls, along with the practice of placing vehicle registration holds for nonpayment of violations, had been suspended for the remainder of 2021. FasTrak monthly maintenance fees were also suspended.
  • Downey Freeway Fighters Hang NO MORE LANES Banner over 5 Freeway. This morning, freeway fighters hung “NO MORE LANES” banners on a pedestrian overcrossing over the 5 Freeway in the city of Downey. “No more lanes” is a slogan used by the Happy City Coalition, a group that recently formed to oppose Metro and Caltrans’ plan to demolish hundreds of homes to widen the 605 and 5 Freeways. Last summer, Metro project staff announced the demolitions. In October, in response to community concerns, the Metro board directed Metro staff to study less destructive alternatives.
  • /OCR Busy year ahead in Orange County transportation construction. People staying home during the coronavirus pandemic led to emptier streets and freeways and sped-up roadwork schedules in 2020, and that progress will continue in 2021, transportation officials said. The year will start off with completion of a key project for south county drivers: the new Oso Parkway bridge is expected to open this month, said Samuel Johnson, CEO of the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which operate the toll road system including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 routes.
  • /FB Highway 41 deaths lead to construction, closure near Fresno. Changes are coming next week to a stretch of Highway 41 south of Fresno, what officials vow will lead to other improvements along a six-mile stretch of two-lane highway that’s been the site of numerous accidents – many fatal. State Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes held a news conference in November with family members of those killed along the highway and members of Facebook group Widen Highway 41 to push for changes. The politicians held another Wednesday with transportation leaders to announce Highway 41 between Excelsior Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue will be permanently designated a no-passing zone.
  • San Diego leaders open portion of new West Mission Bay Drive bridge. Crews started work on the new West Mission Bay Bridge in the summer of 2018. And now nearly three years later, the project is halfway finished. With the cutting of ribbon, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Council President Jennifer Campbell unveiled what the new West Mission Bay Bridge looks like. Though the project isn’t completed, motorists will be allowed to drive on the finished portion starting Tuesday evening.

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🛣 Changes to the California Highways Web Site covering October-December 2020

And with that, 2020 comes to a close. What a year it has been. We started out thinking this was going to be a somewhat normal election year. What we ended up with was a dumpster fire: a year consumed by a pandemic, with far too many deaths, far too many trips curtailed, and an election that seems to never want to end. There are some things you don’t want to see in your rear view mirror, such as a CHP cruiser with red lights flashing. But there are somethings that are best in the rear view, receding away. 2020 is in that latter group.

But as we enter 2021, we can take some comfort in that we’ve been rebuilding the roadbed, and that rebuilt foundation should be strong. We need to watch out for the fringes of the road. If they continue to deteriorate, they can weaken the stability of the entire road. But if we take care to not let the fringes (on either side) overwhelm us, and if we follow both the written and unwritten rules of the road, we should be able to travel safe. May 2021 see us all arrive at our destinations safely, and see us back on the roads and byways of this great land.

On to the updates.

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum (Ꜳ). This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail or ꜲRoads) from Michael Ballard(2), Nathaniel B(3), Mark Dierking/Metro.Net(4), Tom Fearer(5), Andy Field(6), Kurumi(7), John Lumea(8), Scott Parker(9), Joe Rouse(10), Chris Sampang(11), Joel Windmiller(12): Route 1(1), Route 3(5,9), Route 4(1), I-5(1,5,2), Route 11(1), Route 12(1), Route 20(1), Route 25(1), Route 29(1), Route 33(11,9), Route 36(5), Route 38(1), I-40(1), US 48(5), Route 49(1,5), US 50(1), Route 51(12), Route 52(1), Route 55(1), Route 57(1), Route 58(1), Route 60(1), Route 71(1), Route 74(1), Route 76(1), Route 78(1), I-80(1,3,8), Route 91(1,5), Route 92(1), Route 96(1), US 97(5), US 99(2,5,12), US 101(1), I-105(1), Route 108(1,5), Route 120(1,5), Route 125(1), Route 140(1), Route 156(1), Route 172(5), Route 180(5), Route 219(5), Route 221(1), Route 254(5),  Route 262(11), Route 263(5), Route 265(5), Route 271(5), I-280(7,9), US 395(1), I-405(1), I-580(1), I-605(1), I-680(1), I-710(1,4), Route 740(1), I-880(1), Route 905(1), County Sign Route A12(5), County Sign Route A28(5), County Sign Route G15(5), County Sign Route S21(1).

Added a link for the newly created Historic Highway 99 Association of California to all the appropriate places. Added a page on the US Bicycle Route System, as County Sign Route S21 was about to be designated as part of USBRS Route 95. Added a link to the 1935 State Highway Map(5). Update the page on exit numbering(6,10).

Reviewed the Pending Legislation page, based on the new California Legislature site. As usual, I recommend to every Californian that they visit the legislative website regularly and see what their legis-critters are doing. As many people are unfamiliar with how the legislature operates (and why there are so many “non-substantive changes” and “gut and amend” bills), I’ve added the legislative calendar to the end of the Pending Legislation page. A new legislative session started after the November elections; all of the 2019-2020 bills are dead. For the 2021-2022 legislative session, this is extremely early in the session and there were very few bills to review, and even fewer related to transportation.

I checked California Transportation Commission page for the results of the California Transportation Commission meetings from October through December 2020. As always, note that I tend not to track items that do not impact these pages — i.e., pavement rehabilitation or replacement, landscaping, drainage, culverts, roadside facilities, charging stations, or other things that do not impact the routing or history, unless they are really significant. As such, the following items were of interest:

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – December 2020

Ah, 2020. So nice to finally have you in the rearview mirror of history. You’ve left mayhem and destruction in your wake, and you’ve even sent debris ahead of you. We’ve had to send out significant crews to clean up the mess that you have left. Precious little good has come out of the 2020—a new president, some new vaccines, and the site redesign of California Highways. But the year has seen sickness and intense work to “flatten the curve”. This, in turn, curtailed vacations and roadtrips. We couldn’t get out there and visit the roads, and explore the history. But the workers on our highway—they are essential workers working on the road so we can get where we need to go. It is their hard work that makes these headlines possible.

To everyone reading this, may you have a happy and healthy new year. The periodic update for the California Highways is in the works as I post this. As they say, “watch this space”. So let’s look back at the headlines and post of interest for December 2020 … and toast to a much better 2021.

[Ħ Historical information | $ Paywalls and  ∅ other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; ]

Highway Headlines

  • Granite Awarded $39 Million Highway Widening Project in Southern California. Granite (NYSE:GVA) announced it has been awarded the State Route 74 Ortega Highway Widening Project by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in Lake Elsinore, California. The $39 million contract is anticipated to be included in Granite’s fourth quarter 2020 backlog.
  • /PE 60 Freeway median work near Fontana, Jurupa Valley to be wrapped in 2021. Q: Gabro Gonzales recently noticed construction work being done in the median on the 60 Freeway around Fontana/Jurupa Valley near the Country Village exit. He said lights had been installed in the same area and he questioned why workers were now removing the concrete median and lights in the same area.
  • I-8/Imperial Closure Starts Dec. 3; to Last 6-8 Months. Construction crews will close the westbound Interstate 8/Imperial Avenue ramps on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 9 p.m., which will leave the eastbound and westbound I-8 ramps at Imperial closed for six to eight months for Stage 2 work on the I-8/Imperial interchange project, according to a press release from the state Department of Transportation.
  • The International Road Federation Announces Global Road Achievement Award. The International Road Federation (IRF) has announced that the “Pacific Coast Highway – South Los Angeles” Project performed for Caltrans by VSS International, Inc. of West Sacramento, CA, has won the 2020 Global Road Achievement Award (GRAA) in the category of “Asset Preservation & Maintenance Management.”  The award was presented to VSS International, Inc. on November 13th at the 2020 IRF Global R2T Conference. This award-winning section of the Pacific Coast Highway stretched 22 miles from Seal Beach north to Artesia Boulevard in Los Angeles County consisting of over 130 lane miles.
  • Ninth Circuit Clears Path for Contested Highway Project in Ancient Redwood Grove. The Ninth Circuit gave California a green light Wednesday to move forward with a contested highway project through a majestic grove of ancient redwood trees, reversing a lower court ruling that halted construction pending further environmental review. The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, has been trying for more than a decade to alter a 1.1-mile strip of Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County, about a 3 ½-hour drive north from San Francisco. Established in 1922, the park is home to redwood trees as old as 3,000 years old and soaring up to 300 feet and with diameters as wide as 18 feet.
  • /MIJ State allots key funds for Marin-Sonoma Narrows project. A years long project aiming to address one of the North Bay’s worst traffic bottlenecks is closer to completion after receiving $40 million from the state. The funds approved by the California Transportation Commission in a unanimous vote on Wednesday will go toward finishing the Marin-Sonoma “narrows” project on Highway 101 between Novato and Petaluma where traffic clogs as the highway narrows from three to two lanes. The project will add a carpool lane in each direction along the 17-mile stretch of highway. An estimated 146,000 cars and 6,900 trucks used the section of highway daily prior to the pandemic.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – November 2020

Boy, it’s been quiet on this blog.

There are a lot of reasons. Theatre has been on hiatus since COVID hit, meaning my weekly (or more) theatre, and thus theatre reviews, have been on hiatus. I’ve been writing about politics, but that’s been ephemerally over on Facebook… and it has been politics or COVID dominating the news. Further, for some reason, Westhost was very slow when I would try to update the blog (the server wasn’t provisioned right), so I hesitated to do updates here. Now, combine that with the blur that has been 2020: this is been both the seemingly fastest year in memory as all the markers between work and home life are blurred when your “office” is a 90° turn of your office chair and there are no vacations; it is also the seemingly slowest year in memory as it has been an endless political season, with endless Coronavirus news, and seemingly no end until we start to return to normal. But take heart: with this batch of headlines, we’re crossing into December. We’re rapidly approaching 2021, with a new incoming administration, and vaccines on the horizon. Perhaps normal will return in 2021.

But there is one thing that does go on: headlines and news about California’s highways. Here is my monthly collection of articles I’ve found through various sources, posted here both for your enjoyment, and so I can find the information when I do my next batch of updates to the California Highway pages. As always…. ready, set, discuss.

[📃 Historical information | 💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; NVR/Napa Valley Register; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; SONN/Sonoma News; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; PD/Press Democrat; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal]

  • South Pasadena gets funds for new ramps at the 110 and Fair Oaks, an interchange untouched for nearly 90 years. Fair Oaks Avenue runs like an arrow through the heart of the quaint city of South Pasadena, home of shops, restaurants and the historic Rialto Theatre. But during commuting hours, it resembles a parking lot, jammed with bumper-to-bumper congestion to the point where many commuters using the Waze app take Fremont Avenue and side streets, causing a second set of traffic problems for the residential city.
  • I-15/SR 78 Managed Lanes Direct Connectors Project I-15/Rte 78. Continued residential and economic growth along the east-west State Route 78 (SR 78) corridor in the cities of Escondido and San Marcos has placed strain on its connection to and from Interstate 15 (I-15), a major north-south managed Express Lanes system in San Diego County. New direct connectors between the existing I-15 Express Lanes and three miles of new Managed Lanes on SR 78 are intended to improve connectivity and traffic flow on and between the two corridors, increase access to homes and jobs, and improve overall quality of life in north inland San Diego County. Managed Lanes are a tool that help to increase freeway capacity and manage congestion by prioritizing carpool, vanpool and transit, and may allow solo drivers to travel if they are wiling to pay a fare, an alternative to traveling in the regular lanes. The I-15 Express Lanes system is a Managed Lanes system. The interchange improvements are being coordinated alongside the development of a Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (CMCP) which will look holistically at integrating and improving all modes of transportation in the north inland region, and aid in meeting specific greenhouse gas reduction goals, reducing vehicle trips, and minimizing the overall time people spend in the car.
  • After years of delays, Caltrans set to expand Highway 156. The daily commute on Highway 156 can be a drag, especially during the busier peak hour traffic times. But Caltrans announced last week that a new road expansion project is coming soon in hopes of reducing some of traffic congestion and saving millions in vehicle operating and accident costs. The San Benito Route 156 Improvement Project will be a five-mile, 4-lane expressway between The Alameda in San Juan Bautista to the Business Route on Highway 156 near Hollister.
  • What’s best for Gleason Beach? The iconic Gleason Beach / Scotty Creek watershed presents a prime example of a place where early pioneering settlers, digging out a dirt road by hand and horse-drawn equipment, followed the shortest distance between two points. Before contemporary land use planning was even a thing here, a precarious subdivision was sold off and houses built on an already-crumbling cliffside that has, quite predictably, continued to crumble.
  • Addressing Highway 92 traffic could carry toll. Every once in a while, a Coastsider will propose adding a toll to Highway 92 to keep visitor traffic at bay. Transportation experts say it’s not a bad idea, as “congestion pricing” is an increasingly popular way to deter solo drivers from busy areas during peak times. It’s not likely, either. While tolls aren’t new to the Bay Area, they’ve never been tested on the Coastside, and no local agencies are moving to charge drivers as they come over the hill.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – October 2020

And with that, October is done. Only two months left in the strange year that is and soon will have been 2020. I think few don’t want 2020 to be overwith. Folks are counting the days. Me? I’m counting the headlines. Only two more headline posts left in the year. So while your little one are pestering you for candy because they aren’t out walking the streets, here are some headlines to keep you busy so you can tell them to come back later.

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; NVR/Napa Valley Register; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; SONN/Sonoma News; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; PD/Press Democrat]

  • 💰/LAT Long Beach prepares to open a $1.47-billion bridge. Fog hovers just above the new Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach. Workers are scattered over a job site cluttered with traffic cones, construction vehicles and a few small cranes, and Duane Kenagy is giving a tour. Since signing on as executive director for the project in 2014, Kenagy has grown accustomed to playing docent to an international cast of visiting politicians, students, bureaucrats and media. Barring delays, the bridge will open Monday, and cars and trucks — by some estimates, 60,000 a day, now rattling across the old bridge just a few feet away — will sail over this gleaming new span connecting the 710 Freeway and downtown Long Beach to the nation’s busiest port complex.
  • The new long beach bridge: Gerald Desmond bridge is being replaced. The bridge has served its purpose. Half a century after it was built, the Gerald Desmond is still able to serve the City of Long Beach in southern California but it has come to be called “functionally obsolete” by engineers. The stress caused by the higher number of cars and trucks that have come to use it as a result of the port’s growing importance to the U.S. economy has taken its toll on the massive structure. In fact, 15% of all imports that arrive to the country as cargo travels across the bridge, which connects the city with Terminal Island where several of the port’s large tenants are located.
  • $1.47 Billion New Bridge, With 100-Year Lifespan, Opens In Long Beach. A new bridge that will connect Long Beach to the world officially opens Friday with a lyover of military planes, a boat parade, and a procession of zero-emission and low-emission cargo trucks. The six-lane, cable-stayed bridge replaces the Gerald Desmond Bridge and will be a major regional highway connector as well as improve the movement of cargo.
  • Metro Plans to Take Out 200+ Downey Homes to Widen 5 and 605 Freeways. The full details are not yet entirely clear, but Metro and Caltrans are finalizing plans to widen portions of the 605 and 5 Freeways – and the project will destroy hundreds of homes, primarily in the city of Downey. Metro calls the project the “I-605 Corridor Improvement Project” (605 CIP) though the project includes portions of other freeways: the 5, 10, 60, and 105. The project would touch on nine San Gabriel Valley cities – Baldwin Park, Downey, City of Industry, El Monte, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, and Whittier, as well the unincorporated county areas Avocado Heights, Rose Hills, West Whittier/Los Nietos.
  • 💰/SDUT Caltrans tries again to tame the roller coaster ride that is San Diego’s Route 52. In Southern California, where the car has long been king, completion of a new section of freeway can be cause for celebration. So it was on two summer days in 1987 and 1988, when officials held four-hour parties in the center of soon-to-open stretches of state Route 52 in Kearny Mesa. There were refreshments, live music, dancing, military exhibits, parades — mini-carnivals, minus the thrill rides.
  • Completion of Iconic New Bridge Celebrated in Long Beach. A sparkling parade of green trucks, a dramatic vintage aircraft flyover and fireboat sprays christened today’s ceremonial opening of the new bridge at the Port of Long Beach, reaffirming the region’s importance to international shipping and heralding in an iconic structure that dramatically shifts the Southern California skyline. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201002005503/en/

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