A lawsuit has been filed in San Mateo County Superior Court challenging the adequacy of an environmental impact report for a Highway 1 widening project planned for Pacifica.
Pacificans for a Scenic Coast filed the complaint Friday and contend the project is out of scale with “Pacifica’s scenic nature” and that the EIR contains contradictory information on impacts to threatened species or any other adverse impacts of the project.
“We would like to have more details to know if it’s a project we like or not,” group spokeswoman Cynthia Kaufman told the Daily Journal Tuesday.
The plan is to widen Highway 1 between 2,300 feet north of Reina Del Mar Avenue to approximately 1,500 feet south of Fassler Avenue, a stretch of about 1.3 miles, according to Caltrans.
The project proposes to widen Highway 1 from four lanes to six lanes to have three through-lanes in each travel direction, according to Caltrans.
The highway gets heavy traffic during the morning and afternoon commute.
The EIR was approved last month and the cost of the project is expected to be about $52 million.
Kaufman’s group is concerned that the EIR does not give enough detail on how wide the road will ultimately be or how big the soundwalls will be and how pedestrians and bicyclists will be impacted by the project.
“There are other ways to deal with traffic other than widening,” Kaufman said.
The California Environmental Quality Act requires that the EIR includes an “accurate” project description.
Pacificans for a Scenic Coast filed the complaint against Caltrans under CEQA.
“At minimum it must include a detailed map with the ‘precise’ location and boundaries of the proposed project. Instead the EIR vaguely described the project as widening ‘primarily on the west side of the roadway’ varying somewhere from ‘20 feet to 50 feet wide’ and referencing pictures which are purely conceptual and ‘not to be used as official record.’ In conjunction, the width of the highway at the pedestrian and bicyclist crossing points was not adequately described,” the group wrote in a statement. The lack of details in the EIR, the group contends, prevents an adequate analysis of the project’s impacts.
The EIR also contains contradictory information regarding the habitat of the California red-legged frog, the group contends.
In October, Pacifica residents launched an organization to oppose the city’s plan to widen Highway 1 called Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives which wants the city to consider various alternatives to the Calera Parkway Project, which would widen the highway from Sharp Park through Rockaway Beach.
Pacificans for a Scenic Coast is an offshoot of Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives, which has about 50 members, Kaufman said.
The project will be funded from San Mateo County Transportation Measure A and State Transportation Improvement Program funds and is expected to take about two years to complete.
The work will be done by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority as Caltrans will be the lead agency under CEQA. The SMCTA, the Pacifica City Council and city staff have worked with Caltrans for years to solve the area’s traffic congestion problems.
Caltrans’ officials told the Daily Journal yesterday they cannot comment on pending litigation.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106