The Pacifica City Council has approved updates

The Pacifica City Council has approved updates for the Manor Drive overpass. However, it decided another possible onramp would be a separate discussion.

Speakers at a recent Pacifica City Council meeting were in favor of improving the Manor Drive overcrossing but not the plan to study a potential new Milagra Drive on-ramp. 

This project will also study the construction of a freeway on-ramp for northbound Highway 1 at Milagra Drive and Oceana Boulevard. The idea is to use an existing bus pullout ramp, which is not being used, to reduce traffic volume at the overcrossing, said Deputy Director of Public Works Sam Bautista.

Speakers at the Oct. 11 meeting said they didn’t need another on-ramp at Milagra Drive because of those existing at Oceana Boulevard and Monterey Road. 

City Council voted to authorize the city manager to execute any documents required for the grant application of Measure A and Measure W highway program funding and commit the required matching funds for the project if the grant is approved. Staff submitted the grant application for $3 million to advance the project into the next phase, Bautista said. The city will be required to provide a match of $300,000, he said. The city will learn if the grant application was successful in November or December, Bautista said. 

San Mateo County Transportation Authority administers the process for the sales tax revenues generated from measures A and W. On Aug. 6, the transportation authority issued a call for projects, and staff submitted the grant application for the Manor Overcrossing Improvement Project, said Bautista.

The project is expected to alleviate peak-hour traffic congestion and improve vehicular, bike and pedestrian safety between Oceana Boulevard and Palmetto Avenue. The project will widen the overcrossing. New traffic signals will be installed to replace the all-way stop signs to better control traffic flow, Bautisita said.

In February 2018, the transportation authority approved grant funding for the preparation of the preliminary planning study for the project. That grant was for $610,000 with a required city match of $70,000. In July 2018, City Council approved the funding, said Bautista.

The project will be completed in six phases, Bautista said. The preliminary planning study phase is first and was completed in June 2019, Bautista said. There were two public meetings for that phase. 

Remaining phases include project study, project approval and environmental review, design, any right of way acquisition and construction. The city applied for a grant for the next two phases and hopes to hear back toward the end of the year. The schedule is subject to changes based on funding availability, Bautista wrote in an email to the Tribune.

Bautista said the remainder of the project would take more than six years and he noted that the city doesn’t yet have funding for much of the remaining work.

“I don’t understand why the Milagra on-ramp is there,” local resident Victoria Becker said. “There is no purpose in putting in a third on-ramp in such a small area.”

Pacifican Suzanne Moore agreed. “The Milagra project should be dropped,” she said. “The neighborhood opposed it. The Manor Drive overpass is in need of repair but we don’t need another on-ramp.”

It passed unanimously, but several council members asked for the Manor Drive overpass study to be separated from the Milagra Drive on-ramp study. Bautista said he asked the transportation authority to uncouple the two studies but hasn’t heard back about that.

“I don’t want to be cavalier with the thoughts of the neighborhood,” said Councilmember Tygarjas Bigstyck. “We will be studying this for three and a half years, I don’t like that the neighborhood doesn’t like this.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mary Bier and Mayor Sue Beckmeyer spoke in favor of having those plans considered separately.

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

(1) comment

DEBORAH WONG

I like that Councilmember Tygarjas Bigstyck actually considers what residents in the neighborhood want. Isn't that why we elect a City Council?

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