December was an interesting month. It started with the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC). That — combined with a post-conference cold and difficultly coordinating an interview — led to a delay in getting Episode 1.06 up. But it’s there for your listening pleasure now.
I appreciate much more what a podcast producer does, especially the hard job of scaring up interviews. I think I’ve got a lead for 1.07; I’m still working on 1.08 and beyond. I’m looking for someone who is willing to talk for 30 minutes or so on the following:
- For 1.08: We return to the US highway system, so I’m looking for someone from AASHTO on the process for getting highway numbers approved.
- For 1.09: We return to the Interstates, so I’m looking for someone with some interesting insights on California’s interstate submittals.
- For 1.10: We’re looking at the county sign routes, so I’m look for someone from the Caltrans Local Assistance Programs office, or someone from a County public works department.
If you or someone you know would be interested in helping this project, please contact me.
The headlines for December were light. Perhaps fewer piqued my interest this month, but I do think the pace has turned to a focus on resurfacing and disaster repairs, and that’s of less interest for the pages. Speaking of the pages: I’m working on the last round of updates to the California Highways pages for 2022, which should be up slightly after this post.
Enough of this shameless self-promotion. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for December:
[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.]
California Highways: Route by Route Podcast
- CARxR 1.06: Chronology – CEQA and Reality.In this episode, we conclude our exploration the history of the State Highway System with the last episode in this 6-part miniseries. This episode focused on the post-1969 era in the stat highway system: the changes in the highway system after 1969; the impact of the environmental quality acts, and the growing involvement of the regional transportation agencies. We also explore the changes in governance of state highways. Our interview is with Gary Ruggerone, who was the Caltrans District 5 Environmental Branch Chief from June 1980 until December 2010 when he retired from Caltrans. He started as as an Environmental Planner in D7 in March 1979, one of 5 environmental planners hired off the very first Environmental Planner Civil Service Exam. He was directly involved with Caltrans during the early days of CEQA and NEPA and is joining us to provide valuable insight on the impact of the CEQA. Gary is currently the Owner/Principal Environmental Planner of Piedra Environmental Consultants, a local environmental planning firm specializing in CEQA and NEPA analysis and regulatory permit compliance for transportation-related projects. A life-long resident of California, Gary earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, and a Master of Arts in Population Aquatic Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Back episodes are available at the Podcast’s forever home, as well as on its anchor.fm home. The anchor.fm also has links to the podcast’s page on most major podcasting services.
- The future of Bay Area freeways could have per-mile tolling (SF Gate). Transportation officials for the Bay Area are in the middle of a planning exercise to adapt the region’s freeway system for the next generation of drivers. One proposition in the early stages of consideration is to treat freeways as a public utility, therefore subjecting them to operation costs that would be accrued through tolling. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is starting to envision a future of Bay Area travel where per-mile tolls appear on freeways and highways across the region.
- Lawmaker May Take SF Out of Its Freeway Removal Slump (San Francisco Standard). A state lawmaker asked the state’s transportation department to figure out what it would take to remove what’s left of San Francisco’s Central Freeway and to look into what can be done with two other freeways. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) formally asked the California Department of Transportation to study the cost and logistics for taking down the Central Freeway, the Bayshore Viaduct of Interstate 80 between 17th Street and the Bay Bridge, and Interstate 280 north of U.S. 101.
- Transportation officials consider plan for Bay Area commuters to pay tolls on busy freeways to reduce traffic, emissions (ABC7 San Francisco). The future of Bay Area commuters could include tolls, not only at bridges but also on freeways. Transportation officials are considering the proposal as part of an effort to ease traffic congestion and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Officials say congestion is mounting, partly because they’ve kept the user price of driving on freeways down. Officials are considering the Plan Bay Area 2050, a joint project between the MTC and Association of Bay Area Governments. They say the tolling idea would include all lanes of certain freeways-not just the express lanes.
- Contractor: Golden Gate Bridge suicide net will cost $400M (AP News). A suicide prevention net on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge that is already years behind schedule will cost about $400 million, more than double its original price, because of problems sparked by the government agency that manages the span, the lead contractors allege. The allegations filed Monday in state court by Shimmick Construction Co. and Danny’s Construction Co. say that changes to and flaws in the government’s net design and the lack of transparency about the deterioration of the bridge’s maintenance platforms have raised the construction price from $142 million to at least $398 million.
- Modesto’s State Route 132 West Project | What to know (ABC 10). The State Route 132 West project has been a goal for the city of Modesto for 60 years. Highway 132 currently runs through streets in Modesto, causing issues with congestion, shipping, and even pollution due to idling vehicles. The project is supposed to make the area safer and keep trucks moving by relieving some of the traffic on Maze Boulevard. The long-anticipated $100 million project received over 70% of funding from the state and federal government, with a majority from the state. The local region funded about 30% of the project.
- ＄City’s path followed Agoura Road (The Acorn). The vintage, late-1940s postcard shown above provides a glimpse of Agoura Road when it was part of the main route from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara long before the 101 Freeway was built. The tall “Agoura” sign at the upper right of the picture—possibly dating back to the 1920s—welcomed travelers to a little hamlet where they could grab gas and food. But it was more than that. Known now as the Historic Quarter of Agoura Hills, the area south of the 101 Freeway off the Chesebro Road exit along Agoura Road, can also be thought of as the closest thing to a downtown the city has ever had.