The hearing item was Caltrans request that the
Coastal Commission concur with Caltrans design of Ten Mile Bridge as part
of a Federal Consistency Review of the project. Although this was not a
request for a development permit (which would come later), the Commission
attempts to resolve all differences at this level. If the Commission
concurred at this time, chances of changing the design later would be nil.
The hearing was in Los Angeles. Vince Taylor and
other coastal residents were unable to attend the meeting. Mark Massara,
Sierra Club lawyer for coastal issues, represented the case for a design
in keeping with the rural, scenic character of Highway 1 at Ten Mile
Caltrans was represented primarily by their lawyer,
Tony Anziano, who in an effort to shut Vince Taylor out of the Ten Mile
proceedings, ordered all Caltrans staff working on Ten Mile not to talk to
Mr. Taylor or provide him with any documents, but to refer him to Mr.
Anziano. He required Mr. Taylor to make all requests in writing,
initiating an extensive, repetitive correspondence that produced no
documents for over a month.
The major issue of contention was Caltrans' proposal
for 8' shoulders, no sidewalks, and a (very ugly) 54" combination
vehicle-pedestrian-bicycle railing. The Commission staff report supported
this design and recommended concurrence; thus the public opposing the
design had an uphill battle to fight, despite the comprehensive rebuttal
of all of Caltrans' arguments in Vince Taylor's written testimony.
Caltrans started off, made a lame presentation and
accused us of a "late hit" which was bogus, and staff of course abandoned
us; so we started out in bad shape. The staff made much of Caltrans'
agreement that Ten Mile would not serve as a precedent.
Below are Mark's edited notes of the meeting:
I was the only person to argue our side. I relied on Vince's
analysis and referred commissioners to his letter numerous times. I also
asked that if they couldn't agree with us today that they postpone
hearing until next month.
Mike Reilly "couldn't disagree more w/ staff and Caltrans" on the big
shoulders. He said no warrant for more than 4-ft shoulder specified in
LCP [Local Costal Plan]. "The only reason I would support an 8-ft
shoulder is to put a sidewalk later. This is clearly part of the coastal
trail and I'd like to see future surveys in five and ten years."
Caltrans agreed to that .... and it took the wind out of our sails......
Neely then moved to approve the project.
Dave Allgood then said that horizontal bars block views while vertical
bars are scenic for moving cars. What is the cost difference between
ST-10 [the Noyo Bridge Railing] and ST-20 [the 54" combination railing]?
Caltrans then said that they only have approval for ST-20.
Commissioner Sara Wan then raised a number of concerns:
"I don't understand why in this rural area why you need 8-ft shoulders.
Some survey later doesn't get us a sidewalk. This is the coastal
trail, you want to talk safety we need a sidewalk. I will not support
8-ft shoulder w/out a sidewalk. And this rail issue, we have so much
background. At Noyo, Caltrans told us there was no design for a
see-through rail. Vince Taylor worked with this commission to create a
committee and they worked with Caltrans for over a year and were able to
come up w/ a see-through railing design at Noyo. I am having a hard
time understanding why we're not using what we worked so hard to get?
That statement again today that 'we don't have see-through rails' is the
same thing they said last time."
CCC staff: "We believe
that ST-20 is a good see through rail. as for need for sidewalk, staff
wrestled with. We felt that the locations were different- Noyo is urban,
expectation for future growth. Ten Mile is rural .... we want Caltrans to
evaluate the situation in the future....and we can include triggers for
that work when Caltrans comes back for the CDP [Coastal Development
Wan: "Read the State Parks letter, they express concerns regarding
impacts and the need for smaller shoulder."
Commissioner Patrick Kruer: "I'm sitting here today wondering how we got
here - years ago we were stronger on this. Taylor has offered, and I've
been impressed with all the time he has invested. I look at this
proposed rail and it doesn't have the appearance of something as good as
Noyo. Noyo works, why change it? I don't understand how we got here."
Staff - Larry Simone: "I think the Noyo railings - those two railings
fit the Noyo bridge project, and what Caltrans developed thereafter is
the follow-up, and they developed rail like ST-20 for situations where
traffic would not be separated from pedestrians/bikes etc. I don't want
to you to think the ST-20 replaces Noyo - the sites are different."
Kruer: "Tremendous contributions by Taylor, and he has been dead right
on. Why would he oppose this if it were so good? This is the California
Coastal Trail, why wouldn't we provide a sidewalk? We can do all the
surveys we want, now is the time to build. If you don't get the sidewalk
now, the chances of getting it later are remote."
Reilly: "I would like to see a sidewalk, but I think allowing an 8-ft
shoulder now is the way....and I want to clarify that Albion [sic] is
like the Noyo- people use it and I want staff to include a sidewalk.
Also, if people try to pass on the new 8-ft shoulder it will have to be
eliminated fast. 'Coastal cowboys' can be dangerous."
New Commissioner Larry Clark: "I too am perplexed on the 8-ft shoulder
width. This is the coastal trail. This is not smart coastal planning to
retrofit later. The time for a pedestrian pathway is now."
Chairperson Meg Caldwell: "I am mystified by this rail. I realize it is
safe, but it is DOG UGLY. How can we make the findings under the coastal
act that this is aesthetic and our early letters on the industrial ugly
rails and it is clear to me that the Noyo design has some
aesthetic relief. I also agree with Clark that we should include the path
Clark: "Amending motion to certify but revise shoulder requirement to
include a 'pedestrian pathway' w/ 'separation from traffic.'"
Then Caltrans interrupted: We love the idea of a path but right now we
have a seismic project and a path would be an unnecessary delay.
Clark: "I want the path integrated, not to add time to the project."
CCC Executive Director, Peter Douglas: "I hear that you want a path,
perhaps in the shoulder, w/ separation."
Clark: "I would favor a specific timeframe requirement."
Reilly: "I understand that Caltrans must come back w/ a CDP for this
project. There may well be an opportunity to include the path/separated
sidewalk at that time."
Douglas: "You would have to 'conditionally concur' the certification
Caltrans: Lengthy response arguing against the changes because of delay,
cost, safety, death, cost, redesign.
Meg Caldwell: "The Commission appreciates all that, but we want a
separated path phased into shoulder. What would the phase-in look like?
You have said that you are going to do studies, what would the retrofit
NOW look like?"
Caltrans: "It may result in 2-3 yr. delay. What if you approve today
the certification, and we'll agree to allow this discussion at the time
of the CDP [Coastal Development Permit]? That would 'protect' the project
Douglas: "This would be a conditional certification; that is the safer
way to go."
Reilly: "I'm not sure we can get the separation included now or we might
jeopardize the federal funding."
Staff: "I hear the CCC saying that they want the pedestrian path and
that Caltrans must acknowledge that the 8-ft shoulder is going to
disappear. They have to decide if they can live with that.
Caltrans: "The Dept. feels strongly we need 8-ft shoulders for a variety
of reasons. We cannot accept a finding requiring a sidewalk. We would
be happy to try to convince you later for no sidewalk.....We feel very
strongly about 8-ft shoulder."
Meg: "I'm thinking that your future surveys aren't going to be very
helpful - if you wanted to keep the 8-ft shoulder you'd have to augment
the entire bridge with a sidewalk."
Douglas: "I suggest you continue the matter and continue this
Reilly: "I think the best we can do today is to get assurance that we
can talk about the sidewalk later."
Caltrans: "We have heard what you have to say and we will come back to
Secord: "I am in favor of the 4-ft shoulder and separated pedestrian
Resources Agency non-voting member, Brian Baird: "On behalf of resources
agency and Governor we should follow Reilly and approve today with
Commissioner Mary Shallenberger: "My read is that we have a strong
majority who want a path and separation. If my read is correct, it is a
huge mistake and a disservice to Caltrans not to state that fact now and
to incorporate it now. It isn't going to get any easier later to
redesign the bridge."
Motion to approve replacement with the condition to include pedestrian
path and separation:
Clark w/ Wan second.
Caltrans: "We have several ideas on rails, separation and
shoulders. Rails could be incorporated now, separation could be phased.
Re: Shoulders we won't give. Anything less will destroy the project."
Vote to include the
conditions on shoulders and separated pedestrian path.
Unanimous vote to
concur with specified conditions
Mark Massara represents
the Sierra Club at almost every Coastal Commission meeting. His detailed
meeting accounts, along with other coastal information at