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All Growl but No Bark

Mayor Plays High-Stakes Game of Chicken with Caltrans over Freeway Widening


Thursday, September 19, 2013
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CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE: Someone really smart once told me that the massive freeway-widening project now envisioned by Caltrans wouldn’t be necessary if area employers instead figured out how to stagger the times employees showed up for work. And you wouldn’t have to tinker with the schedules of all that many people, he added, to avoid rush-hour gridlock. Given that he served on the board of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) ​— ​Caltrans’s alter ego in the world of local government ​— ​the comment carried weight. I was interrupted by that thought last Wednesday as I was trying to keep score in a game of full-body contact ping-pong pitting Scott Eades of Caltrans against Santa Barbara’s mayor, Helene Schneider. At issue were key elements that Schneider and City Hall are insisting must be added to the $500 million freeway-widening plans now on the drawing boards. Or else. Eades, naturally, sees it otherwise, and as state bureaucrats go, you don’t get more impressive. In person, Eades radiates a calm just-the-facts-ma’am impartiality. And armed with a laptop, the man is devastatingly persuasive. But even on a bad day, Schneider knows the freeway project down to the last asterisk of the last appendix of the plan’s draft environmental impact report. And last Wednesday was anything but a bad day for the mayor, who appeared to have inhaled three cans of whup-ass just prior to the confab, which was held before the Chamber of Commerce’s Government Relations Committee. In this match-up, I’m still not sure who was the irresistible force and who was the immovable object; I just know Schneider kicked butt.

Angry Poodle

All parties involved insist the freeway widening is absolutely essential. Without it, Caltrans says the morning peak-hour gridlock will spread to six long hours. With it, Caltrans says 917 driver hours a day will be saved. But the project will take 15 years to build and cost about $550 million. Where that money will come from is far from clear. But if and when the project is built, you can be sure there will be precious little left to spend on anything else. Very understandably, Caltrans ​— ​and SBCAG ​— ​desperately want to avoid anything that will drive up costs. Time is money; delays are deadly. Equally understandably, Schneider and City Hall want the project done right and are threatening to hold up the project to ensure that it is. It turns out the level of service at the Cabrillo interchange will get worse, not better, under Caltrans’s current plans. To fix this problem, the Union Pacific Bridge by the bird refuge needs to be rebuilt to accommodate a few more lanes of traffic. Otherwise traffic will back up along Cabrillo Boulevard about 800 feet west of Los Patos. Caltrans and SBCAG don’t deny any of this. But to include this bridge work in the project now, they insist, will hold things up. And besides, there’s not enough money to pay for the freeway widening as is. City Hall, they say, should pursue the matter separately. Around City Hall, that argument has no wings at all. Back in 1997, promises were made that the Union Pacific Bridge would be widened as part of the previous phase of freeway improvements. It never happened.

As a result, Schneider is playing a high-stakes game of chicken with Caltrans. Include the bridge, or City Hall will deny the permits Caltrans needed to build the project. All of this, it should be noted, is vastly complicated by political intrigue. Schneider’s political pit bull and campaign manager ​— ​Jeremy Lindaman ​— ​just happens to represent Common Sense 101, a group of very wealthy and politically connected Montecitans who are absolutely and irrevocably dedicated to retaining the left-hand exit ramps at the Cabrillo-Hot Springs interchange for a host of reasons. (Because of them, Malcolm Dougherty, the Pope of Caltrans, issued the decree in a visit to Santa Barbara this May that he would never ​— ​under any condition ​— ​allow the left-lane ramps to be retained, citing inherent safety issues.) When Schneider eventually runs for county supervisor or Congress, the support of such well-heeled Montecitans will prove vital. Schneider already went to bat for these folks in a huge way, making their case at a meeting with the governor’s office this summer. That meeting allegedly got the left-lane ramps put “back on the table.” (Since that meeting, Caltrans has disclosed that only 13 accidents over the past 10 years can be attributed to the left-hand ramps for southbound drivers at the Cabrillo interchange; of those, six occurred when freeway construction was underway. Despite the infrequency of such accidents, Caltrans insists left-hand ramps need to be phased out.) Conversely, it’s worth noting that City Council candidate Gregg Hart happens to work for SBCAG by day and in that capacity is moving heaven and earth to get the freeway widening underway without any further delays. If he’s elected, it’s impossible to imagine Hart going toe-to-toe with Caltrans or his employers at SBCAG, as Schneider is now doing. As a legal matter, Santa Barbara City Attorney Steve Wiley has said Hart has no conflict of interest. The smell test, however, remains another matter, and politically, the issue has clearly put Hart and Schneider ​— ​both moderate liberal Democrats ​— ​at loggerheads.

Machiavellian scheming aside, it’s worth noting that all seven members of the city’s planning commission agree with Schneider and have just dropped a densely worded two-page letter bomb on Caltrans, demanding that the railroad bridge be included in the freeway-widening project and that the draft environmental analysis be recirculated to reflect that change. Likewise backing Schneider’s play ​— ​to the hilt ​— ​is city transportation planning czar Rob Dayton, community development boss Paul Casey, and City Administrator Jim Armstrong. In other words, they’re all in.

It’s actually vastly more complicated. But in an oversimplified nutshell, I’d say if Caltrans doesn’t figure out a way to blink pretty soon, then maybe area employers will need to take a much closer look at recalibrating the work schedules of their employees. A really smart guy once told me that might do the trick.

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Geesh, Nick!
Lindaman is a neurotic, shivering hairless mut, not a noble pitbull dog.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 12:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Delay anything that drives up costs"? Please. If that were true the City et al would stop hiring and stop increasing compensation for all city employees, or at the very least terminate enough employees to allow comp increases for the rest (not that they deserve it, being already 80% higher than private sector).

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 12:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm surprised Hart is allowed to run for an office that is a total CONFLICT OF INTEREST with his day job. Are there any rules about that?

"Caltrans insists left-hand ramps need to be phased out"

Caltrans knows if they let Santa Barbara have their convenient left-hand ramps they will be obliged to allow other cities to have them which puts their cookie-cutter approach to building highways in jeopardy.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 4:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Stagger the work schedules, schedule commuter rails at 7- 8AM and 5-6PM, throw in an HOV lane between 7-8AM & 5-6PM problems solved. A smart man who is now an elected official told me the same thing about the work schedules... What ever happened to THAT?? We need to send Caltrans back to LA, Fresno, and Bakersfield.

BondJamesBond (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 9:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This post is not about immigrants . It is about traffic. In May of 2006 , there was a political action loosely labeled " A day without an immigrant" . That day many commuters stayed home from work , including one of our employees . The 101 was a breeze that day, not a single backup to be seen.
There is a lot to be said for this staggered hours concept.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 3:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The easiest, most cost efficient method to reduce traffic in between SB and Carp (or anywhere really) is to enforce California Vehicle Code Section 21650. That is the "keep right" law.

It has been shown that only one vehicle camping in the fast lane can cause a great increase in commute times. Yet, it is amazing to see so many drivers get onto the freeway, dart across to the fast lane, then slow down.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/...

sbsailor (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 8:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

it would help to make it illegal for prius drivers to venture out of the slow lane.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

the squabbling is disgusting; and the kissing-a** to the Montecitan 1% by our pandering mayor Helene the Great proves Clinton was right, just follow the money, in this case to lavish funds for a potential Congressional race if Lois will just drop out.
I've been driving this route, literally (except when biking), since 1980. In any case, the Union train bridge has to be removed since it's really dangerous and stupidly located there. When I realize the project will take 15 years to build, I say give it up right there and spend 10% of the money [$55 million] on alternative routes e.g. cycling, more buses, and pressing businesses to do just what Nick suggests: stagger all these work hours!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 3:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, JL, I'm disgusted with the City, too, but you redirect it versus the City employees, their pay, and their comp increases. At least slam Caltrans.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 4:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dr. Dan , I'm surprised that a man with your résumé can be so misinformed about Mayor Schneider. Talking to those with close interaction with her , all I've heard is that she is of high intellect and ethical standards. Now you are here as a one man wrecking ball of slander. What gives?

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 6:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Make that a two man wrecking ball. Schneider and the planning commission were on board with the F modified plan until the Montecito reactionaries opened their check books. Helene, if you are reading this take note, one of your former supporters will do every thing possible to make sure you will not be the mayor after the coming election. Schneider you are finished in this town.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 6:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've met Helene, and she has strengths. I criticized her earlier and on point for giving up her 4-point reform package of last year and backing off her tweaking public pensions...she gave in there, geeber. If there is slander, Nick approaches it with this comment:
"When Schneider eventually runs for county supervisor or Congress, the support of such well-heeled Montecitans will prove vital. Schneider already went to bat for these folks in a huge way, making their case at a meeting with the governor’s office this summer. That meeting allegedly got the left-lane ramps put 'back on the table.' " Take issue with that, geeber. Herschel gets it; the sellout is easy to see. Hey, I may be a Demo but I am not that limited in IQ.
I don't want to slander her, I want her to stop pandering to folks not even in her City! And we're all tired of politicos working mainly to get to the next election niche...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 7:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Helene has done nothing to reign in the excesses of the SBPD, which are too expensive and are soon to get dearer after DeNunzio gets a fat settlement. Whatever you think about the News Press, even the most skeptical reader of the Lance articles has to conclude that there are very serious ethical if not criminal issues with the SBPD 's DUI enforcement program. Just wait for a settlement with the pot shop plaintiffs. The feel good gang injunction is a useless waste of money that is a fig leaf for the failed anti gang strategy of the SBPD.
Her position on the freeway project s based on two big red herrings, the railroad bridge and the accident rate for those beloved left hand off ramps. To reconstruct the Union Pacific' s bridge would require a massive amount of money. The railroad's right of way for that bridge is almost untouchable, Union Pacific does not have to agree to a bridge reconstruction. Any design that called for a long term interruption of rail traffic would be vetoed. The only solution would be to build the new one while the old bridge would still be in use. Where?
Relying only on accident statistics when engineering a major highway renovation is like driving while looking only in the rear view mirror. Yes the left hand off reps have a low current accident rate but much of that can be linked to the usual slow speeds due to traffic in the area and use to the fact that many drivers are not use to a left hand off ramp, a mid century relic, and keep on driving. Now since a third lane HOV lane is going to be added. Hopefully it will be a high speed lane. Now you would have people trying to merge thru higher speed traffic to get to the off ramp. Now you have A dangerous situation. Good engineering means planning for the effects of a new design on future highway safety.
Now Wayne, the plumber, Scoles, may now seem like a long shot, but he has my support for mayor.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 11:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There once was a man from Dundee, he buggered an ape in a tree. The results were most horrid, all ass and no forehead, six balls and a purple goetee.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 5:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This issue is important since there doesn't seem to be much of a route through the dense mix there at Hot Springs/RR bridge/the pond there. Much more significant, and Nick has happily CALLED OUT HELENE SCHNEIDER on it, is the ROLE OF MONEY and power and the 1% throwing their weight around again. HG is correct that more and more of us are carefully scrutinizing her actions.
"Schneider already went to bat for these folks in a huge way" -- why is this Helene??
Why enter this deal late and muck it up so much?? Power corrupts, and your image is tarnished. It's very similar to Das Williams hugging the Santa Ynez tribe so tightly, and Salud's similar embrace of the newly monied Native Americans.
Why not put some of your famous energy into revitalizing your 4 reform points from Sept. 2012 -- this is stuff for YOUR CITY. When did you become a traffic engineer? How about some answers, madam Mayor? Your silence here is deafening.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 5:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The reason the mayor is going to bat for the Montecito residents is because the Caltrans plan is much worse than the Common SENSE 101 plan.

That's it.

The HOV lanes in California have been studied and have proven to make traffic worse.

The left hand lanes work very well and if left alone will reduce the cost and amount of time this project will take. Montecito residents are justified to get involved since the project is happening in their area and Caltrans wants to screw them over.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 1:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry Georgy, but many Montecito residents do not agree with the Common Sense 101 buffoons. In fact the vast majority of the residents near the Hot Springs interchange support plan F modified. The left lane off ramps work well now because they are lightly traveled. If you add a third HOV lane they would be dangerous. CS 101 just wants to stall the process which will cost the rest of us dearly. Get off of this b.s. trip about Caltrans wanting to "screw" anyone.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 1:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy, please cite your source on HOV lanes. And a peer reviewed source, not the Reason Foundation. HOV lanes work just fine were I live, and have reduced traffic delays considerable.

The left hand off ramps at Hot Springs work because traffic usually is so backed up and slow. With additional lanes and speed the risk of accidents will increase. And the left hand, up hill on ramp at Sheffield? Has to go.

Tigershark (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 1:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

http://www.path.berkeley.edu/PATH/Pub...

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/10/1...

I have yet to see any support for the Caltrans plan by Montecito residents. If you believe the Montecito Journal it appears the opposite is true. Please show any survey or article to the contrary?

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 3:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

During the public comment period, Caltrans received 150 letters that indicated a preference for one of the proposed interchange plans. 144 gave a preference for F modified.
http://sbcag.org/Meetings/NCSPC/2012/...
Hey guess what? There is another group of Montecito residents that organized before the "Common Sense 101" group, here is their website:
http://saveourvillage.iconosites.com/
The only difference is the bigfoot checkbook politics of Jack Overall and his gang of plutocrats.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 4:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy, Let me rephrase the question. Do you have any peer reviewed studies that are of this decade? The Berkley report is from 2005.

I will leave it to other to comment on the veracity of the Montecito Journal.

Tigershark (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 8:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Even the State of California is acknowledging that they do not improve traffic. Their new policies are to allow single drivers to use the HOV lanes if they are driving an electric car or some sort of hybrid that pollutes the air less, which makes sense to me.

I think we all want the same thing. No bottlenecks, and less time sitting in traffic polluting the air quality. Secondly it is important to try to keep the things that work and eliminate what doesn't. If Caltrans plan made any sense their wouldn't be opposition. IMO when Caltrans takes a pre-fab plan that works in Sacramento or Los Angeles and try it along a windy coastline with 90% of the traffic going off the highway to the left or into the hills, it creates various traffic problems that if go unaddressed will make our 101 situation unhealthy for many decades to come.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 8:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy, "If the Caltrans plan made any sense their (sic) wouldn't be opposition." Nonsense. There will always be opposition. I've worked on transportation and construction projects in a community capacity for years, there is always opposition. The reasons may vary, but there is always opposition. The difference in Montecito is the opposition has money, and that means lawsuits.

I don't have traffic studies in front on me, but where did you 90% figure come from? 101 is the North-South coastal highway connecting the state of California, I would wager most of the traffic is passing through, not getting "off to the left or into the hills."

Tigershark (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Caltrans plan is anything but prefab. It has been studied for years. The only people who think that the plan does not make sense are a small group of well healed retired captains of industry and their newly minted champion Schneider.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 9:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

tiger's got it, georgy, most of the traffic passing through there -- I've done this commute for 34 years so I would know -- is just passing through; your point about 'not getting off to the left or into the hills' doesn't pertain to that situation. I'd amend tiger's "The difference in Montecito is the opposition has money" -- to the difference in Montecito is the opposition has money and as 1%ers they're bored and want to fool around with the 101 and Caltrans cause they kinda like these stupid left- on and -off ramps...and like the old robber barons, they also get off on throwing their weight around and making poor little politicos like madam Mayor twist in the wind a bit. It's ugly. And what's your stake in this georgy? Mine is that I drive it constantly and the left turn lanes are stupid, unhelpful, and with HOV will be much more dangerous.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 12:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nice pun HG, they're well healed and need something to do, so these retired CEOs and banker-1%ers being well-heeled they can and will and have caused trouble. This makes them feel impotent, I mean important.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 12:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A vast majority of cars exiting at Hot Springs, Olive Mill, SanYsidro, Jamison, and Summerland are driving toward the north side of 101. They're going home, to Coast village Road, or Montecito village including the Y, MUS, and Mt Carmel.

The current southbound left hand lanes are terriic in serving drivers who drive into Montecito or Summerland. They are as safe as the righthand offramps at Olive Mill and SanYsidro.

Do you really want bumper to bumper traffic for an extra 4-5 years so Caltrans can force people to exit to the right and drive across big expensive new bridges that don't fit in with the rural character of the area?

Do we want to force traffic onto Coast Village and other side streets because Caltrans wants everything on the right side?

The Bay area has had HOV lanes for over 30 years and they continue to be under utilized. Do we really want to create a situation where our air quality declines because the majority of cars sit for longer periods of time commuting?

If HOV lanes helped air quality I would be in full support of them. But the reality is that they have not been working and create more smog.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Montecito has about 3,010 single-family dwellings, georgy; that vast majority of motorists going through there are heading for Carp or Ventura, or for SB City to go to their jobs. Montecito is consistently ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, and money talks. Your lead, georgy -- "A vast majority of cars exiting at Hot Springs" really misses the point since the vast majority of motorists are NOT getting off in Shangri-la there. Where do you get off?
Sure, there certainly will be backups there for a long time: my earliest post here said let's bag the whole project since it'll take 15 years, and go for the staggered hours. I waited through the 3 years bridge overpass at Milpas, too, so waiting is the norm.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 12:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan

"since the vast majority of motorists are NOT getting off in Shangri-la there."

So doesn't it make since to leave the exits alone and speed up the project?

Leave Shangri-la alone. With the bumper to bumper traffic going through there now, out of town traffic is getting off onto Coast Village and other side streets to get ahead of the slow 101 traffic jams. People from LA want to get home as fast as they can.

Isn't it more dangerous to have 101 using side streets as a 3rd lane?

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dude, having left hand off ramps worked fine fifty years ago. When a third, hopefully high speed lane is added, they would become a traffic hazard. This is common freaking sense. Stop living in the past.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 1:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dr. Dan & Greenman , I fit none of your cop out descriptors of opponents to Caltrans misguided planning. I'm not : " a fat cat , a plutocrat, well heeled, Common Sense buffoon." . You are hurting your own arguments and don't wear this strange preoccupation well.
I am opposed to the left lane offs being eliminated because there is no feasible solution presented so far to deal with the traffic from those off ramp eliminations. Summerland business owners and residents should be hopping mad at Caltrans because there is a whole swamp full off traffic headed their way if Sheffield South closes. San Ysidro ? Good luck.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 3:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Geeber, please do some research and get back to us. The left hand off ramps get replaced with right hand ones that let traffic off at almost the same location. Are you a traffic engineer? I did not think so.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Geeber: Actually I believe the Caltrans plan calls for moving the main traffic lanes north, where the exit and on ramp is at Sheffield. New on and off ramps would be placed on the right side of 101. Minimal impact on Summerland.

Tigershark (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2013 at 3:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Lesson learned, Herschel& Tiger. Presumption got me in trouble thinking that the Sheffield ramps were to be eliminated, not replaced by outside lane ramps. I do however still believe that configuration should be left as is considering the view blocking retaining walls and extensive reconstruction/ realignment involved in the Caltrans plan.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2013 at 5:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, geeber, you still don't have to get onto Sheffield SOUTH like I do fairly often and entering from the center right into the fast lane is dangerous, I am serious. You want to keep this? You really lose all credibility with this insistence.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2013 at 7:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dan , you don't "have to" use the Sheffield south on ramp if your driving skills aren't up to it. I make that transition fairly easily in my 13 year old 4 cylinder truck. Personally I'm not into paying 10's of millions of extra dollars and adding considerable extra time to the project because you can't handle it. Go use the Summerland ramps if you are that challenged.
Credibility? Now you are the arbiter of credibility? A quick glance in the mirror or some introspect re / your comments about Mayor Schneider might be in order. What's up with you anyway?

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2013 at 7:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ha, geeber: change the topic to "what's up with" this writer when you have nothing left on the actual topic. Glad you're a fine driver; so what.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 5:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

you sound like a spokesperson for the mayor, geeber: read my post far above about Schneider (whom I like) on 9/20 at 3:45.
Because I voted for her and was formerly impressed by her I'm quite disappointed by her intrusion into this matter [OUTSIDE her City of SB] and at her dropping much more important reform ideas she had once pushed. See Nick's article http://www.independent.com/news/2012/... .
It's really great that your old 4-cylinder truck can make it up the south on-ramp at Sheffield, and that you're able to handle it, good going. A driver with your resume should be able to see that there are many others who struggle with entering the fast lane, and it will be much worse with 3 lanes there including HOV.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 5:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Geeber I had you pegged as a Plymouth Valiant driver. I hope you realize that when you get in the freeway in the fast lane that the drivers already in the fast lane have to slow down to let you on. That middle finger wave the give you is not a friendly gesture. That on ramp you love and the jalopies like yours that get on the freeway there are the reasons for slow traffic going up the hill. Reality check, left hand on and off ramps are a mid twentieth century out dated designs that have no place on a modern freeway.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 9:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't worry Geeber. Some of these poster have an axe to grind or are frustrated, conservative, traffic engineers. Eliminating 4-5 years of bumper to bumper traffic by keeping the left lane exits which work just fine makes to much sense to them.

Let's hope the Mayor wins the high-stakes poker game with Caltrans and gets 101 moving again. Even Herscel will benefit from the cleaner air although I doubt he'd ever admit it.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've already stated that the best option is NOT to undertake this massive overladen program at all; nor do I have any special love for Caltrans (although they're the traffic engineers); and under my scheme you will benefit from cleaner air as well, georgy.
Why can't our elected mayor "win the high-stakes poker games" on adding City aid to our public schools (City tax), funding more teen-centers and seeking job opportunities for young Santa Barbarans, bicycle cops on East and Westsides, reforming the SB public pensions thoughtfully in order to sustain them more decades...??
geeber, georgy, all of you swayed by Montecito 101's specious arguments, didn't you catch Nick's satire when he scathingly wrote that Mayor Schneider:
"appeared to have inhaled three cans of whup-ass just prior to the confab, which was held before the Chamber of Commerce’s Government Relations Committee. In this match-up, I’m still not sure who was the irresistible force and who was the immovable object; I just know Schneider kicked butt."
Won't you kick some butt on a few of the issues I just raised above, Helene? I'm living on the Westside and seeing you whup-ass over in 'Cito with Croesus and the money moguls. Our fair city has six or seven other pressing issues, many of them financial and terribly important. Where's your new 4-point reform program??

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you run for mayor Dan, you've got my vote. Remember the golden rule of politics. Follow the $gold$

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 5:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

geeze, I thought the golden rules for politics were first of all always CYA, next follow the $, finally help your friends and hurt your friends' enemies. American politics seems to ruin every single person who gets involved, and knowing this, more and more smart&good citizens say phooey and refuse to stand for office. Then, like many of us posters, we stand back and freely criticize them.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 6:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DD, contrary to your false assertions that the mayor should sit this one out , it very much affects city business as traffic through the bird refuge and Coast Village Rd . are city issues. Oh ...and you elitists who want to raise your snobby noses about my "old truck" would probably never catch up to me in your gentrified rides.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This Angry Poodle column should be titled All Growl but No Bark and No Bite. The City of Santa Barbara and Helene have limited options in this standoff. The only real power they have is to deny construction permits. SBCAG, Santa Barbara County, California, and the USA have all the money for this project. Instead of trying to get this most best deal for Soanta Barbara and Montecito the Mayor has wasted our political capital on a futile power play to try to force the freeway project to enlarge a railway bridge and keep outdated left hand off ramps. The longer the planning for this project takes the more it will cost. Think of all of the money that could be spent on ascetic improvements to the existing plan, traffic mitagation ect. No that money will be sacked up by staff and legal fees. When the planning for this project started Caltrans set out clear guidelines. There will be no more left hand on ramps, no construction of a new rail bridge and no purchases of right of way. The Mayor has for some reason,$, decided to play Sancho to Mr. Overall's Don Quixote. They are on a quest to do the impossible deal.
This stunt will only waste time, which looks like a win for the 101 CS crowd. With the inevitable future rise in the cost of capital and rising construction costs this project gets dearer by the day.
Let me be clear. I was on favor of a comprehensive transportation solution that featured a serious light rail project. That ship as sailed a long time ago.
The decision has been made to have thee lanes from the Ventura County line to Goleta. Getting into a fight with Caltrans serves no purpose. Further delay will soon start to upset the other SBCAG board members besides Schneider and Salud. Since they control the money for this project, Helene should be working with rather the against them.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 11:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm driving a 2000 Ford Ranger with over 100K geeber. where do you get the elitist angle, you're the one with Montecito 101 elitist 1%, look to thyself.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 26, 2013 at 1:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DD says of the mayor -" I'm quite disappointed by her intrusion into this matter [OUTSIDE her City of SB] " . Umm .... No , Coast Village Rd. and bird refuge area traffic are city issues.
I'm losing interest in debating with our local Caltrans acolytes who seem to think we have millions of extra bucks laying around to fix something that ain't broken . The stats are there for those who care to evaluate the project with open minds.Clearly it is easier for others to blindly follow the blind.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 26, 2013 at 7:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I have yet to see any support for the Caltrans plan by Montecito residents. If you believe the Montecito Journal it appears the opposite is true. Please show any survey or article to the contrary?"
-- Georgy

April 19, 2012
Editor Bob Hazard urges all to attend Caltrans meeting concerning 101 widening.
J'Amy Brown, former President of the Montecito Association, describes the 101 widening project and endorses the F-Modified plan.
http://www.montecitojournal.net/archi...

April 26, 2012
5 of 6 letters to the editor endorse F-Modified. The 6th letter generally endorses the freeway widening.
http://www.montecitojournal.net/archi...

May 3, 2012
Editor Bob Hazard endorses F-Modified.
http://www.montecitojournal.net/archi...

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 26, 2013 at 10:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And for those discussing HOV lanes ...

My understanding is that's pretty much a non-issue. At that meeting where the head of Caltrans attended, I recall Caltrans acknowledged they'd be willing to consider moving the start of the HOV lane south of Montecito.That statement appeared to placate most of the SBCAG members in attendance.

As the Dos Equis man would say, "Stay focused, my friends".

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 26, 2013 at 10:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In the "101 In Motion" final report done in 2006, it noted that, while it studied 'technologies such as AVT, APM, and PR [methods to haul autos on trains or systems used at airports] [it did] not include an elevated monorail system that uses a slender mono-beam and proven technology. That is a separate alternative. These technologies could follow an alignment along the 101 freeway corridor, or could follow the parallel Union Pacific (UP) rail corridor." Since that time, monorail systems have been built in China which demonstrate their feasibility for congestion relief similar to what is required here. See http://www.monorails.org/ for information. Since a monorail was not considered previously, it might be worth taking a look at it now.

zauche (anonymous profile)
September 27, 2013 at 9:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for the editorials, East Beach. I saw the article about the Montecito Association being against the Caltrans Plan.

http://www.montecitojournal.net/archi... pg.11

Apparently the guest editor is in the minority, but none-the-less there is a little support for Caltrans.

GUESTEDITORIAL

Mr. Hazard is an Associate Editor of this paper and a former president of Birnam Wood Golf Club
(The following analysis was written by Associate Editor Bob Hazard. The majority of Montecito Journal’s board of directors disagrees in substance with Mr. Hazard’s conclu-sions and next week, we’ll present a different analysis written by the MA CommunityCoalition. – TLB

Georgy (anonymous profile)
October 2, 2013 at 4:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Little support for Caltrans" B.S.
During the public comment period, Caltrans received 150 letters that indicated a preference for one of the proposed interchange plans. 144 gave a preference for F modified.

http://sbcag.org/Meetings/NCSPC/2012/...

P.S. there is no "Montecito Journal" board of directors, just one guy named Buckley. Georgy get your facts together otherwise you are just bloviating like your compadres at "Common Sense 101".

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
October 2, 2013 at 4:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Try reading the paper Herschel The Montecito Journal published it not me.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
October 3, 2013 at 8:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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