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The Alternative to Widening Highway 1
David Foster, a City planning commissioner and candidate for City Council, will lead a community meeting to promote alternatives to widening Highway 1. Foster says, “The history of highway widening has shown that the congestion relief is only temporary. People choose to live farther from their workplaces and in a little while traffic is clogged again. A more effective and environmentally friendly solution is to develop our rail corridor for commuting.”
Foster favors an immediate development of a bike and pedestrian path along the corridor, and planning towards a future electric trolley. “Electrified public transit is the way of the future, not only to avoid toxic diesel exhaust, but to have a resilient transportation system in place when oil shortages hit.”
Foster will be joined by members of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, which is engaged in a lawsuit of CalTrans to stop the next phase of Highway One widening, the 1-mile segment between Morrissey and Soquel Ave. exits. The CalTrans environmental study issued a “negative declaration” on the segment, claiming the project has no significant environmental impacts. The Campaign for Sensible Transportation points out that in 2004, 65% of Santa Cruz voters rejected Measure J, a sales tax measure to fund Highway expansion from Santa Cruz to Aptos. The Campaign maintains that the 1-mile segment is part of the larger highway widening project. The Campaign’s lawsuit seeks to enforce state law that says a large project cannot be broken down into segments in order to avoid a full environmental impact report.