2004, Inc. from Sharon Farmer
Vote the environment, NOV. 2
(click here for the Handy Guide below...)
Measure J is highway robbery
Widening Highway 1 won't ease congestion as proponents claim and
will produce more air pollution and noise. Since the EIR has not
yet been done, we don't know the exact environmental impacts, but
they will be huge. The area around 41st Ave. and Bay Ave. in Capitola
will be transformed into a 12-lane wide swath of concrete.
Common questions and answers regarding Measure J:
Q: I'm tired of being stuck in traffic on Highway 1. Isn't
highway widening a logical solution?
A: According to the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation
Commission's own study, widening the Hwy. 1 would increase peak
hour travel speeds by 1/10 mph. (MTIS, Table 4-5, p. 29). Moreover,
in the Bay Area widening highways generally has not reduced congestion.(1)
Leading transportation planners have recognized that "the idea
of building our way out of urban traffic congestion problems has
been decisively rejected in the United States, both by the transportation
community and the public at large."(2)
|1. Road Work Ahead: Executive Summary. The
Surface Transportation Policy Project; Relationships Between
Highway Capacity and Induced Vehicle Travel by Robert Noland
of the US. Environmental Protection Agency.
|2 Road Supply and Traffic in California Urban
Areas by Mark Hansen and Yuanlin Huang. Institute of Transportation
Studies, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Q: But this widening project is for carpool lanes. Isn't
A: It's a little different, but has similar results. When
you create a new carpool lane, most of the people that use it were
already carpooling or using transit. The real increase in traffic
is from single occupancy vehicles which take up the space vacated
by carpoolers. After adding more than 1000 miles of carpool lanes,
the percentage of people carpooling to work has dropped from 14.6
to 14.5 percent as documented by the U.S. Census. The Modern Transit
Society has documented that carpool lanes actually increase pollution,
not decrease it.
Q: I don't like all the cars using the streets in my neighborhood.
If we widen the freeway, won't that mean fewer cars on neighborhood
A: The stated goal of the Highway Widening Project is to
get more cars on the freeway. Once they get off the freeway, where
are they going to go? Onto surface streets. Into your neighborhood.
Q: So who is behind this? Why is so much money being spent
to promote Measure J if drivers won't benefit?
A: The organized proponents of Measure J represent business
interests and government officials advocating for increased development.
The Santa Cruz Business Council (representing, by invitation, large
local corporations) and the Chambers of Commerce are pushing for
this project. A wider freeway will encourage more bedroom communities
in Southern Santa Cruz County and Northern Monterey County. This
will benefit developers and large employers wanting to bring more
workers to North Santa Cruz County at wages too low to allow them
to live here. It will also give building contracts to some of the
corporations funding the campaign for Measure J.
Measure J is opposed by many groups and individuals, including
Sierra Club, People Power, Santa Cruz Friends (Quakers), and a majority
of city council members from Santa Cruz and Capitola.
Q: I keep hearing reports that widening Highway 1 would
be the most expensive public works project in the history of Santa
Cruz County. How much is it exactly?
A: Measure J would raise the Santa Cruz County sales tax
1/2 cent for 30 years, totaling $530 million. $370 million of that
would go towards widening Hwy. 1.
Q: I've also heard that Measure J includes funding for some
great alternative transportation projects, including the Coastal
Rail Trail. Is that true?
A: Yes and no. Besides funding the highway widening, Measure
J would raise about $59 million for transportation alternatives.(1)
However, the fine print of Measure J states that, if more money
is needed to widen the highway, the money will come from the other
projects.(2) Cost overruns for these types
of projects average more than 20%.(3)
Even worse, an additional $102 million-beyond funds provided by
Measure J-is estimated to be needed to complete widening of the
Highway. This additional money would come from the same sources
that currently fund other transportation projects, including the
ones in the tax measure.(4)
Measure J is a net loss for alternative transportation. That's
why the Sierra Club, Friends of the Rail Trail, Bike to Work, and
other advocates of alternative transportation do not support Measure
|1 RTC lane widening project fact sheets, May
and June, 2004.
|3 Cost and Oversight of Major Highway and
Bridge Projects. U.S. General Accounting Office 2003 and "How
Common and Large are Cost Overruns in Transport Infrastructure
Projects?" Flyvbjerg, et al, Transport Reviews, 2003 Vol.
|4 RTC lane widening project fact sheets, May
and June, 2004.
Q: What's the connection between this issue and our dependence
on foreign oil?
A: Americans are the largest consumers of fossil fuels in
the world. Creating more space for more cars on Hwy. 1 will add
to this trend as well as to global warming.
Because our country does not have the oil reserves to supply our
demand for oil, we are forced to trade with countries like Iraq.
Thus, our overconsumption of oil creates a situation in which an
unstable or unfriendly country with oil reserves becomes a threat
to our economic security.
Q: So what's the alternative?
A: Ride a bike, walk, take the bus, and carpool whenever
you can. Combine trips and try to reduce the total number of car
trips that you take.
Demand that all levels of government fund non-car transportation.
Vote for city and county officials who support human-scaled transportation.
Vote NO on Measure J.
For more information visit http://no-on-j.com/.
Prop. 64 is hazardous to your health
by Bill Magavern
Big business lobbies have put an initiative on the Nov. ballot
to eviscerate citizens' ability to enforce environmental safeguards.
Proposition 64, "Limitations on Enforcement of Unfair Business
Competition Law," would leave California's air, water, food,
forests, and lands much more vulnerable to attack by polluters.
The Unfair Business Competition Law (UBCL) is a crucial tool to
defend the environment from the unlawful practices of polluters.
Unlike many federal environmental laws, most California statutes
do not contain "citizen suit" provisions authorizing environmental
organizations to enforce these laws on behalf of the public. The
UBCL is the sole remedy in such situations.
UBCL cases have:
o Blocked cruise ships from repeated dumping,
o Halted illegal clear-cutting in the Sierra Nevada mountains,
o Stopped diesel truck pollution,
o Forced bottled water companies to filter out arsenic and bacteria,
o Required warnings of pesticide dangers to children.
Prop. 64 would block environmental enforcement actions like these
brought on behalf of the public by community groups. Prop. 64 would
limit actions only to government and certified classes of individuals
who have lost money or property. With government's enforcement ability
severely limited by budget constraints, private enforcement of the
sort allowed by the UBCL is vital to protecting our health and resources.
Oil, auto and utility companies, and other corporate donors wishing
to avoid accountability for the damage they cause, have poured over
$10 million into an advertising campaign for Prop. 64. The American
Lung Assoc., California Nurses Assoc., Consumers Union, Gray Panthers
and the CA Labor Fed. have joined Sierra Club and the state's other
major environmental groups in a grassroots campaign against Prop.
Vote NO on Prop. 64.
US House of Representatives
CD 14 Anna Eshoo
CD 15 Mike Honda
CD 17 Sam Farr
AD 27 John Laird
SD 11 Joe Simitian
Monterey County Supervisor
Santa Cruz County Supervisor
Santa Cruz County Measure J
Santa Cruz City Council
Capitola City Council
San Lorenzo Valley Water District