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CalTrans Recirculates Plans for Variable Message Signs (VMS) Allowing for Emergency Messaging
Tue March 23 - Tue April 20
Press release from CalTrans March 23rd, 2021.
Please submit your comments by April 20, 20212k880_pubmtng_april 8 2021_508
Caltrans has decided to recirculate a Draft Initial Study with Proposed Negative Declaration in response to comments and consultation with location communities. We consider public participation, review, and coordination crucial, and we welcome your feedback on this Draft Environmental Document. We have provided a brief project description, background, and public participation information here in the body of this email. We have also provided an attachment of our Public Notice.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to install six wireless detection systems (WDS), five ground mounted variable message signs (VMS), Midwest guardrail systems (MGS), and maintenance vehicle pullouts (MVP) on State Route (SR) 1 in San Mateo County from the Miramontes Point Road Intersection to the Clarinada Avenue Undercrossing. The project would also update software at an existing changeable message sign (CMS) at the entrance to the Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil’s Slide. The total length of the project is approximately 20.9 miles. The proposed project would occur in San Mateo County on SR 1 from postmile 26.43 to 47.20.
Caltrans prepared a CEQA IS with an ND document and circulated it for public review on August 14, 2020. A virtual public meeting was held on September 10, 2020, and the public review period was scheduled to end on September 13 but was extended to October 30, 2020.
Comments were reviewed, and subsequent additional outreach was conducted with some of the individual communities within the project limits. As a result of the comments received and consultation with the local communities, the project’s design was reviewed and revised with respect to the use and locations of the signs system. This included changing the proposed use of the signs for displaying general travel time information to a focus on providing information related to emergencies—such as floods, mudslides, wildfire, and resulting evacuations—power safety shutoffs, accidents, road closures or construction, or other events that could result in substantial delays where drivers would benefit from timely information.
The proposed signs would be activated during emergencies or incidents only and would be off most of the time. The signs would only be programed to be lighted when needed to convey emergency and incident-related information to motorists. In addition, some of the VMS locations were reviewed and relocated in response to public review and input.
In response to concerns expressed over the visual impacts associated with the signs, Caltrans reviewed and identified new locations for the proposed signs at locations 5, 6, and 9.
Placement of signs at the revised locations would still serve the purpose of the project and would result in reduced visual impacts from the VMS. Location 2—adjacent to a car dealership in Half Moon Bay—was also considered for relocation, but after a detailed review, Caltrans determined that there were no other locations that served the project’s purpose. The location would place the VMS before the SR 1 and 92 intersection, making it possible for motorists to safely turn around in the case of an emergency. Furthermore, Caltrans considered the possibility of reducing the size of the VMS panels. Caltrans determined that the size could not be reduced because a reduction in size of the panel would not be large enough to effectively deliver useful messaging on emergencies and incidents to the traveling public. VMS proposed for the project would be approximately 12 feet wide by 5 feet tall.
Because the proposed project was revised to focus on emergency and incident-related messaging and some sign locations were modified, Caltrans decided to recirculate this document. This IS and ND has been updated based on these changes, and additional information has been provided on the appearance of the signs, including visual simulations of the signs and proposed changes. The comments that were received during the review period in 2020 were considered in making changes to the project, and a summary of coordination with external stakeholders is provided in Chapter 3.
An electronic version of the IS/Proposed ND is available on the Caltrans District 4 website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-4/d4-popular-links/d4-environmental-docs. For individuals with sensory disabilities, this document can be made available in Braille, in large print, on audiocassette, or on computer disk. To obtain a copy in one of these alternate formats, please call or write to:
Via e-mail (preferred) to: Nina.Hofmarcher@dot.ca.gov
Via postal mail to:
California Department of Transportation, District 4
ATTN: Nina Hofmarcher
P.O. Box 23660, MS-8B Oakland, CA 94623-0660
Or Call Nina Hofmarcher at: 510-926-0702
Or use the California Relay Service
1 (800) 735-2929 (TTY to Voice)
1 (800) 735-2922 (Voice to TTY)
1 (800) 855-3000 (Spanish TTY to Voice and Voice to TTY)
1-800-854-7784 (Spanish and English Speech- to-Speech) or
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Please submit your comments by April 20, 2021
Notice of Availability of Draft Initial Study with Proposed Negative
Declaration Recirculation and Virtual Open House Meeting.
Caltrans District 4 will host a virtual public meeting to share information on the proposed project and answer questions about what is presented in the recirculation of the Draft Initial Study with Proposed Negative Declaration. The purpose of the proposed project is to provide the traveling public with emergency and incident-related notifications along State Route 1, in San Mateo County.
The project limits are from Miramontes Point Road
Intersection in Half Moon Bay to Clarinada Avenue Undercrossing in
Daly City (post mile 26.4 to R47.3) and includes 10 locations.
The proposed project would include the installation of wireless detection systems (WDS) in existing cabinets or structures; ground mounted Variable Message Signs (VMS) on wooden poles; Midwest guardrail system (MGS) to protect the new signage; and
maintenance vehicle pullouts (MVP).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Caltrans will hold a virtual open house to share information about the project and answer questions.
The event will be held on Thursday April 8th, 2021, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.
Information about the meeting, including how to log on to the public meeting, will be provided. A dial-in option will also be made available.
Please visit: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-4/d4-popular-links/d4-environmental-docs.
Recirculated Initial Study with Proposed Negative Declaration PP
CalTrans VMS review redux 3:2021
A digital version of the Draft Initial Study with Proposed
Negative Declaration Recirculation is available for download from
the same website.
Please submit your comments by April 20, 2021
Via e-mail to: Nina Hofmarcher, Environmental Planner: Nina.Hofmarcher@dot.ca.gov
Via postal mail to: California Department of Transportation, District 4
ATTN: Nina Hofmarcher
P.O. Box 23660, MS-8B Oakland, CA