Horrible Mishap When Vehicle Collides With Two Motorcyles on Highway 92

Commuters heading home to Half Moon Bay on Monday afternoon, the 10th of July, were stopped in their tracks near Half Moon Bay Nursery. Burt and I were two of those commuters, some 300 yards away from what–at a distance– looked like debris on the road. I wasn’t able to see what was in the road nor were any of the other drivers in front of me.

All of us were baffled. If it was an accident, where were the cars?

As we waited emergency vehicles arrived, including two ambulances. We waited, straining to see.

All we could see was something lying on the road. Something dark. Radio news didn’t know yet. I called 511* for traffic info but the man on the recording said there was a “delay between Skyline and Skyline” on Highway 92, but cars were moving at 35-40 mph. No way! And, where’s Skyline & Skyline?

I decided to find out the old-fashioned way: I called Half Moon Bay Nursery, and asked Brad, who answered, if he knew what had happened.

“Two motorcycles were struck by a vehicle,” he told me.

“Thank you, Brad.”

(Meanwhile two ambulances left the scene, heading east.)

I called KCBS and the story was aired seconds later. “Avoid 92,” the traffic reporter said “92 is a parking lot…”

We were near the front of the line and passed the endless line of cars, standing still, stretching from the scene of the horrible accident west to Highway 1–It’ll take at least a couple of hours to clear this up, I thought.

I didn’t want to imagine how far the line stretched, all those cars at a standstill, in the opposite direciton–and, there are very very few places to turn around on Highway 92.

I’m Still Asking: Tell Me More About The Shuttle

And again I ask:

I don’t understand this story: tell me more about the shuttle. Is it crossing Devil’s Slide? Going from Montara directly to Pacifica? Will we be able to see what construction crews are doing? Can we keep our cars on the Pacifica side and get a free ride over the Slide to Half Moon Bay? What will the shuttle look like? Air conditioned for those hot summer days? Who are the drivers? Will you be hiring local drivers?

In the story, we are referred to a phone number that belongs to someone who does not live on the Coastside. Why is that? Wouldn’t Coastsiders be better served by someone who lives here and knows our problems?

Here’s the story from the SF Examiner

(From S.F. Examiner, June 16, 2006)

“County plans shuttle to, from coastside
July-September route meant to alleviate closure issues

Relief by way of shuttle is coming to San Mateo County coastal residents burdened by ongoing traffic snarls caused by the closure of state Highway 1 in April.

San Mateo County officials approved the use of $160,000 in emergency funds to help develop an emergency shuttle service for coastal residents.

State Highway 1 between Pacifica and Montara was closed April 2, after heavy rains caused a landslide that compromised the thoroughfare.

‘This shuttle service will enable commuters and students to travel to and from the coastside comunities that are both north and south of the Devil’s Slide closure,’ Pacifica Councilman Jim Vreeland said in a statement.

Parking Company of America will provide the shuttle service, and the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance and SamTrans will develop the shuttle route and schedule, whic is expected to begin in July.

‘While the shuttle service won’t alleviate much of the travel time needed for their commute, it will take some cars off the road and allow these residents to sit back and relax,’ Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Naomi Patridge said.

Funding for the shuttle service will be provided through September, at which time the closed section of the highway is expected to open.

For more information on the emergency shuttle service, contact Christine Maley-Grubi of the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance at (650) 588-8170.”

A Short History Of The Ocean Shore Railroad (Part III)

As told to me in 1980 by Randolph Brandt, whose father was an investor, a stockholder, in the Ocean Shore Railroad:

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“One night they had some kind of convention or big picnic down near Granada—anyway, the train was heading back to the City with a whole bunch of people on it.

“And around Pt. Rockaway, a big boulder came down. Right on the tracks. The train saw it and they stopped but they couldn’t get the boulder off the tracks.

“The train crew decided to back the train to the Pedro Valley. And they backed it down there right in front of Danman’s Place—the old saloon there. They spent the night in there. Eatin’, drinkin’, making merry.

“I understand they practically cleaned the place out as far as booze and grub went.

“Relatives and friends were disturbed when the train never showed up in San Francisco. They sent a work train down, got the boulder off the track, got the train back to the city. It was 18 hours late, I guess it was a big deal.

“…Tunitas was the end of the line and there wasn’t much of a station there.

[referring to the railroad ride] “Those 20 miles there was hell on earth if you know what I mean. I mean it was really rough going. Anybody riding on it today would say, ‘Never again’. They probably never wanted to do it a second time.

“…the old county road, as far as going along the ocean—it didn’t even exist in those days. It was all in back of the hills, sort of sandwiched in between the mountains and the skyline. It wound and twisted, a narrow road with hardly a straight stretch in it.

“The railroad took up the entire area all the way from Westlake clear to Sharp Park. When they did put the highway in about 1934, they took over the entire railroad right-of-way in order to bring it to the edge of the cliffs. When you got down into Montara you were out of the cliff areas.

“In my opinion, it was a pretty lousy road, frankly. It would never do for these high speed cars today. Definitely not a road for high speed.â€?

A Short History Of The Ocean Shore Railroad (Part II): Read The DEJA VU

“There were landslides from time to time. The Pedro Pt/Devil’s Slide area was a particularly bad section. On one occasion, I think around 1915, as a result of some fairly torrential storms, about a mile-and-a-half or two miles of right-of-way track just suddenly dropped from right under and fell into the ocean…”

As told to me in 1980 by Randolph Brandt, whose father was an investor, a stockholder, in the Ocean Shore Railroad:

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“In 1907 they got a train into Rockaway, no Vallemar. I think the first train rolled into Vallemar around 1907. They sent an engine down there with two coaches—and a load of people, a lot of promotion and activity.

“People were assured that this was going to be the new ‘Coney Island of the West’. All sorts of grandiose plans and promoters were springing up. And these communities along the way which were yet unnamed—were coming to life like Granada.

“…The depot in San Francisco was located at 12th & Mission Streets. …

“They even invited people to go down on weekends to give ‘em a free ride down there—and a free lunch—and then when you got off the train down there, all these salesmen were there busy. Sales slips, you know, sign on the dotted line to buy lots.

“They assured people the railroad would be finished within a year or two—and have wonderful rapid transit right into the heart of San Francisco. Business was so good for awhile that they didn’t have enough coaches so they dragged out a bunch of flat cars and put benches in them, you know, and people rode flat cars with benches down there.

“If any of you have eer driven in an open car along here [Devil’s Slide] when it’s pretty windy, you can imagine how some of the ladies must have felt having their hats blow off—and I don’t know what else especially when they’re going around Pedro Point and Devil’s Slide.

“It gets pretty windy—especially looking over the edge of a flat car and seeing the ocean down below on the edge of the cliff.â€?

Randolph Brandt smiled and laughed.

“Must have been quite an experience.

“There were landslides from time to time. The Pedro Pt/Devil’s Slide area was a particularly bad section. On one occasion, I think around 1915, as a result of some fairly torrential storms, about a mile-and-a-half or two miles of right-of-way track just suddenly dropped from right under and fell into the ocean.

“Luckily, there were no trains in the area at the time.

“It disrupted service for awhile. They ran trains as far as they could go to where the right-of-way caved off—enough space left, apparently, and then brought in a train from the south and passengers got off the train, walked along the edge of cliff ‘til they got to the other train—and then ran the train backwards all the way to Tunitas [south of Half Moon Bay]

“Another problem—the boulders came off the cliffs every once in a while onto the track….â€?

…To be continued…

A Short History Of The Ocean Shore Railroad (Part I)

train.jpgA Short History Of The Ocean Shore Railroad (Part I)

As told to me in 1980 by Randolph Brandt, whose father was an investor, a stockholder, in the Ocean Shore Railroad:

“He, like a number of other people in the days when the stock was being offered to the public market, thought it was a good thing and it apparently was.

“There are a number of banks and prominent people—quite a number of people, well-heeled financially that invested money in it. Mr. Downey Harveyt there, was one of the original promoters of the line and he dropped, I think, around $2 million in it. Of course, he was one of those people that inherited the money, you know, didn’t have to work for it.

“And another man who was pretty well-off financially, too, was Mr. Foelder of the well known Foelger Coffee Company, and he dropped quite a bit of money into it—somewhere between a million and a million-and-a-half.

“In those days, a million was not considered pennies.

“When they got this thing started—it was just before the earthquake, well, 1905, well, railroads were springing up all over the place, up and down the state—from one end to the other they were starting to build…

“Why not a line down the coast to Santa Cruz?

“One of the reasons was tht they figured if they built the line through to Santa Cru they could take a lot of the business away from the SP [Southern Pacific], which had the monopoly up ‘til then by going the other way.

“Look like a good proposition. No one else was in there. They started work from both ends with one crew working from San Francisco south, another crew starting from Santa Cru, working north.

“Got along fine until a certain day in April 1906 when they had an earthquake. One of things they didn’t’ anticipate was a good deal of construction equipment, particularly in the area around Mussel Rock tumbled off the right-of-way and down into the ocean.

“A considerable financial loss.

“And part of the right-of-way, likewise, followed the equipment into the ocean—more financial loss—and additional expenditures the promoters hadn’t figured on.

“Recovered from that somehow and they pared down the project a bit as a result of that. One of the shortcomings of the original promoters was that they were a little too grandiose in their ideas. They started out—it was planned as a double-track electric, actually, to run from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, via Half Moon Bay.

“Better off if they’d started out with a single-track steam line. Then as business justified it, then extending to double-track, they might have succeeded. When you grade for a double-track along the line it actually costs you more than if you grade for a single track, so it means more money out. Since they never used the double track, well, it was just money wasted…”

Photo: Randolph Brandt

…To be continued…

Coastside Has History Of Shuttle Buses

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The Coastside has a history of shuttle “buses”. This one shuttled passengers from San Gregorio, Pescadero and Swanton to Santa Cruz and back. Note the conductor sitting on his perch.

I wonder if our new shuttle be as colorful.

Photo: Randolph Brandt

1913: Pedro Mtn Rd Called For Coolest Heads, Firmest Hands & Strongest Brakes

In 1913 a “See America Firstâ€? travel campaign captured the imagination of new car owners, and hot on the trail of the trend, the California-based editors of “Motoringâ€? magazine recommended that readers “see Half Moon Bay firstâ€?.

What they called the “Kings Mountain to Half Moon Bayâ€? tour caught on quickly. “Motoringâ€? advised “camera fiendsâ€? to brings rolls of film to capture “the picture primeval and beautiful, as it is restless and wild.â€?

Clutching the steering wheel of the latest model Kissel Kar, the driver and his party of motor enthusiasts sampled the much talked about 1-day tour from Kings Mountain to Half Moon Bay.

For the jaunty motorists in the Kissel Kar, the Kings Mountain “roadâ€? resembled not a rocky brown trail but rather verses from an 18th century poem: “a long green lane canopied overhead with interlacing boughs.â€?

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Traveling west over Tunitas Creek Road, they paused to contemplate an abandoned sawmill, overgrown with ferns. The Kissel Kar passed through the shadow-filled canyons bordered with vibrant green ferns and Redwood trees. The canyons opened up as the Pacific Ocean and the rolling hills came into view. The air felt cooler and the color of the landscape changed from green to earthy brown tones.

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The new Kissel Kar swung north toward Half Moon Bay—then better known as “Spanishtownâ€?. The town’s mood was sleepy, compared with the wheeling and dealing that had dominated the area during the Ocean Shore Railroad real estate boom.

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But when the automobile continued heading north to enjoy the spectacular views from Pedro Mountain Road near Montara—the editors of “Motoringâ€? magazine discouraged readers from following in their tire tracks.

“Even with a thoroughly reliable driver and trustworthy car,â€? advised the magazine, “Pedro Mountain road is in such poor condition that anyone going this way is simply inviting disaster.â€?

pedro13.jpg

Underscoring the danger was a large sign that read: “DANGEROUS FOR AUTOMOBILES—TAKE ROAD VIA SAN MATEOâ€?

If they chose to ignore this sign, motorists encountered grades as steep as 25 percent in some places. The hairpin turns called for “the coolest heads, firmest hands and strongest brakes that a car can have.â€?

But while the driver and his passengers in the Kissel Kar warned others not to drive Pedro Mountain Road, they took the risks—and as a result, we can enjoy the photographs they took more than 90 years ago.

Montara Bob Responds To The Shuttle Futtle: “Mad As Hell, Not Gonna Take It Anymore” Devil’s Slide Email

Hello June,

Thanks for running the SF Examiner piece on the shuttle bus.

I used to read the Examiner regularly but these days the only place I can get reliable information about Devil’s Slide is online, mostly from you.

Maybe I’m a bit dim but I don’t understand what this shuttle is supposed to do.

Does it run just north and south, on highway 1? I thought we already had buses that do that (the ones I see are always empty).

One thing’s for sure. May the Good Lord protect us from any organization that’s called the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance. It’s bound to cause more trouble than any good.

And who, in heaven’s name, ever heard of the Parking Company of America? Just what we needed– another entity sucking up taxpayer money.

Well, I hope these shuttles are well marked so at least we’ll know who these folks are that are making traffic even worse.

Why didn’t they just take the $160,000 and apply it to fixing the Slide? Maybe that would help get Devil’s Slide open an hour sooner.

Montara Bob

Devil’s Slide: “Mad As Hell, Not Gonna Take It Anymore” Email

So the politicians have a “solution” to the Devil’s Slide Crisis:
an expensive government shuttle, with the dough going to
the Parking Company of America (how appropriate).

It will enable Coastsiders to sit in a dirty
bus for hours, and then drop you off in inconvenient locations
on the Coastside and elsewhere, so you can take more
socialist buses.Talk about time-wasting, money-wasting baloney.
Let’s put the bureaucrats and politicians on the bus permanently,
and Open Devil’s Slide, Now.

Lew From Far Away

Devil’s Slide: I Guess This Will Solve All Our Problems! Are They Kidding?

I don’t understand this story: tell me more about the shuttle. Is it crossing Devil’s Slide? Will we be able to see what construction crews are doing? Can we keep our cars on the Pacifica side and get a free ride over the Slide to Half Moon Bay? What will the shuttle look like? Air conditioned for those hot summer days? Who are the drivers? Will you be hiring local drivers?

shuttle.jpg

(From S.F. Examiner, June 16, 2006)

“County plans shuttle to, from coastside
July-September route meant to alleviate closure issues

Relief by way of shuttle is coming to San Mateo County coastal residents burdened by ongoing traffic snarls caused by the closure of state Highway 1 in April.

San Mateo County officials approved the use of $160,000 in emergency funds to help develop an emergency shuttle service for coastal residents.

State Highway 1 between Pacifica and Montara was closed April 2, after heavy rains caused a landslide that compromised the thoroughfare.

‘This shuttle service will enable commuters and students to travel to and from the coastside comunities that are both north and south of the Devil’s Slide closure,’ Pacifica Councilman Jim Vreeland said in a statement.

Parking Company of America will provide the shuttle service, and the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance and SamTrans will develop the shuttle route and schedule, whic is expected to begin in July.

‘While the shuttle service won’t alleviate much of the travel time needed for their commute, it will take some cars off the road and allow these residents to sit back and relax,’ Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Naomi Patridge said.

Funding for the shuttle service will be provided through September, at which time the closed section of the highway is expected to open.

For more information on the emergency shuttle service, contact Christine Maley-Grubi of the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance at (650) 588-8170.”