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Stop the Spray ::

Have you seen evidence of roadside broadcast spraying along your stretch of the coast? Roadside spraying appears as a brown defined boundary, between asphalt of the road and the private property line, where the grasses by the side of the road were sprayed with a chemical herbicide.

The excuses for roadside spraying are that it’s cheaper than mowing, it’s necessary for fire risk reduction and for keeping ditch drainages clear. It’s an effective way to kill invasives. This is what the County Road Service Division tell us, this is what CalTrans explains. One does the county roads, the other does the state routes. County road agencies report information regarding herbicide use to the county agricultural commissioner, while Caltrans reports its use directly to the Department of Pesticide Regulation.  When our group here tries to work with the mindset that is FOR SPRAY, we are met with defense and letters of response that spray “occurs within the limits…”

Truths about roadside spraying are that each herbicide product has different weather conditions under which it may be “safely applied.” Sometimes diesel fuel is mixed with herbicide to reduce drift. Some chemicals in some herbicides are linked to prostate and breast cancer, other products/chemicals are linked to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Rather than spray by daylight hours, San Mateo County recently performed, over the course of several weeks, its 315 miles of rural roadside spraying between the hours of 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., because the County says they, “…have found these hours to be advantageous, as it generally eliminates conflicts between our slow moving spray truck and vehicular and bicycle traffic. In addition, winds are typically lightest during the overnight hours which is significant since we cannot spray in windy conditions.”

While We Lay Sleeping ::

Products used roadside are:

  • Round-Up
  • Aquamaster
  • Milestone
  • Garlon

You can read about Round-Up and Aquamaster on the Monsanto website and Milestone and Garlon on Dow’s website. Google for the Material Safety Data Sheet for each product, but know that the MSDS only provides what the manufacturer has analyzed.

There are counties/areas that do not allow roadside spray:

  • Thurston County, Washington
  • Lane County, Oregon
  • Humboldt County, California
  • unincorporated areas of Mendocino County, California
  • NOAA allows no herbicide of any concentration on the Russian River when the salmon are spawning.
  • Marin Municipal Water District does not allow herbicides to be sprayed in their watersheds.

Maybe more, my list is still being added to.

Here in San Mateo County, CalTrans District 4 mowed Highway 1 just south of Half Moon Bay.   Why the selectivity of roadside mowing south of Half Moon Bay versus roadside spraying in Big Sur?  The mowed roadside here is an agricultural corridor with Brussels sprouts and artichokes growing on the other side of the fence.  The sprayed roadside in Big Sur is a transportation corridor along which commuters and tourists traverse.  People stop roadside all-along the coast to access viewpoints.

Know When To Walk Away::

The Road Services Division of San Mateo County has an agreement with Pescadero to not spray at all within the Pescadero Watershed. Mowing is provided once a year. Grass grows roadside. No fires have been reported when cars pull over. Site distance is clear along the curves of the road. Pampas grass is excavated by hand or smothered with black garbage bags. Some residents mow the roadside along their property line.

582 petition signatures in the La Honda/San Gregorio Creek Watershed asked the county to not spray, but that was violated this year, after a 2 year observance. At minimum, this agreement in this watershed asked the County, that if they ever feel spraying is mandatory, then they must notify the public one week before, the day of, and for one week after, by posting the sawhorse signs along the roadway where cyclists, horseriders, walkers and drivers would see the signs and receive notification. The worst is that the public is not informed, doesn’t witness the herbicidal spray occur and then walks their dog that evening in the fresh spray. The County did not put up these signs this year when they sprayed without notice in January.

Round-up and other herbicide products have not been tested by the EPA to discover what, if any, harmful environmental affects occur.  There have been no tests completed to ensure that herbicides do not also kill bugs, earthworms, spiders, water plants, amphibians and fishes once the product flows into the watershed through culverts and drainpipes that drain the roadside. Many environmental groups and local watershed groups have filed letters with the intent to sue, or have filed suit against the EPA, to demand that the EPA studies the effects of herbicide products on the environment.

Herbicides along the Roadsides ::

Gardeners at my property recently used Round-Up on the gravel walkways where weeds were popping up in abundance. Where spray occurred all the earthworms died, along with the weeds.

Solutions to the Solution ::

The irony in CalTrans’ roadside spraying activity is that their website boasts a Native Vegetation program as part of their Roadside Toolbox.

The irony is in the first paragraph, “Ongoing research has shown that certain species of native plants can function in the harsh environment of the roadside and over time when conditions are favorable to the native vegetation can out-compete weeds and annual grasses which require extensive maintenance to manage.”

Related, CalTrans has a Stormwater Run-off study site.  “For this study, fish will be used as laboratory models to see how herbicides function in fish. Several chemicals contained in herbicides can have negative effects on fish reproduction by interrupting normal hormone function (endocrine disrupters). Some endocrine disrupters mimic female hormones while others block the activity of these female hormones. These are relatively recent discoveries.”

Groups that can/should help:
Californians for Alternatives to Toxics
Local watershed groups
Department of Fish & Game
County Agricultural Commissioner
County Supervisors (depends)
Pesticide Action Network
State Water Resources Control Board

As wonderful and helpful as CalTrans is to keep our roads clear and functioning, CalTrans does some wacky roadside management, beyond the roadside herbicide spraying, like allowing Toyota to landscape roadside areas with giant flower beds designed as roadside murals, in Marin, and in San Jose.

Perhaps it’s best to have CalTrans concentrate on, “We’re here to get you there,” and it’s time for communities, counties, or set statewide policy, to address safe practice of roadside vegetation management. The only trick here is, your neighbor could still spray herbicides about his property.

We’re trying to get San Mateo County Road Services Division and CalTrans to see a chemical-free coastside rural area.  The County’s Road Services Division tells us it costs $189,000 a year to spray the 315 miles of unincorporated San Mateo County.  A separate budget exists for the county to mow one time a year.   How about, Keep the $189K to use elsewhere (“repairs” perhaps), and just mow that one time a year?  At home, I’ve asked my gardeners to weed by hand.  They’re not happy with this manual labor either.

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In all my research I’ve not come across a headline such as this:

The latest in the string of robberies that started in 2008 occurred January 26 at the Cal National Bank on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach, said a FBI spokeswoman.

On CalTrans’ Road Conditions website this morning for Highway 1:

SR 1
[IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA]
IS CLOSED TO SOUTHBOUND TRAFFIC FROM WARNER AVE TO SEA POINT AVE
/IN HUNTINGTON BEACH/ (ORANGE CO) – DUE TO FLOODING – A DETOUR IS AVAILABLE

[IN THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA AREA]
IS CLOSED 3 MI SOUTH OF GORDA (MONTEREY CO)/ FROM 1700 HRS EACH AFTERNOON TO 0800 HRS EACH MORNING 7 DAYS A WEEK – DUE TO A SLIP OUT– MOTORISTS ARE ADVISED TO USE AN ALTERNATE ROUTE

IS CLOSED AT TOMALES-PETALUMA RD /IN TOMALES/ (MARIN CO) DUE TO FLOODING MOTORISTS ARE ADVISED TO USE AN ALTERNATE ROUTE

IS CLOSED FROM THE MARIN/SONOMA COUNTY LINE TO 2 MI NORTH OF THE MARIN/SONOMA COUNTY LINE DUE TO FLOODING– MOTORISTS ARE ADVISED TO USE AN ALTERNATE ROUTE

1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS FROM 2.3 MI NORTH TO 6.3 MI NORTH OF THE SANTA BARBARA/SAN LUIS OBISPO CO LINE FROM 0900 HRS TO 1400 HRS MONDAY THRU FRIDAY THRU 1/22/10 DUE TO MAINTENANCE

1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC 1.5 MI SOUTH OF THE SAN LUIS OBISPO/MONTEREY COUNTY LINE FROM 0700 HRS TO 1600 HRS MONDAY THRU THURSDAY & FROM 0700 HRS TO
1400 HRS ON FRIDAY THRU 1/29/10 – DUE TO CONSTRUCTION– MOTORISTS ARE SUBJECT TO DELAYS OF UP TO 20 MINUTES

1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC 3 MI SOUTH OF GORDA (MONTEREY CO) FROM 0800 HRS TO 1700 HRS 7 DAY A WEEK DUE TO A SLIP OUT

[IN THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA]
1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC 1.8 MI NORTH OF GUALALA (MENDOCINO CO) FROM 0700 HRS TO 1700 HRS TUESDAY THRU FRIDAY THRU 1/22/10 – DUE TO CONSTRUCTION

1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC FROM 2.5 MI SOUTH TO 2 MI SOUTH OF THE JCT OF SR 128 (MENDOCINO CO) 24 HRS A DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK THRU 0001 HRS ON 1/31/10 DUE TO PERMIT WORK MOTORISTS ARE SUBJECT TO DELAYS OF UP TO
10 MINUTES

1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC 2.2 MI NORTH OF THE JCT OF SR 128 (MENDOCINO CO)
FROM 0800 HRS TO 1600 HRS MONDAY THRU FRIDAY THRU 1/22/10 DUE TO PERMIT WORK

For 2010, we have new laws going into effect that surely reflect the times in which we are living:

This first example is a doozy as who in their right mind would watch television and drive concurrently, especially if the driver was enjoying California State Route 1:

Television Broadcast or Video Signal:  Drive a motor vehicle with a television receiver, video monitor, television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal if the equipment is designed, operated and configured in a manner that prevents the driver of the motor vehicle from viewing the television broadcast or video signal while operating the vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.

This second one is just a no-brainer:  DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE and you won’t have to worry about it:

Driving Under the Influence:  Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to advise second and third time misdemeanor DUI offenders of the following options: obtain a restricted driver’s license that would allow driving after serving a 90-day suspension period for a second conviction of misdemeanor DUI, or a six month suspension period for a third conviction of misdemeanor DUI if the violation only involves alcohol. The offender must enroll in a DUI program and the offender must install and maintain an IID in their vehicle.

These third and fourth new laws are concerning as it’s just common sense to slow for any emergency or maintenance vehicle on the highway, why must it be now a law? Are drivers THAT dangerous to our highway and emergency workers?

Move Over/Slow Down:  Sections 21809 VC and 25253 VC. Section 21809 VC requires a person driving a vehicle on a freeway and approaching in a lane immediately adjacent to a stationary, authorized emergency vehicle that displays emergency lights, or a stationary tow truck that displays flashing amber warning lights, to safely make a lane change from that lane, or slow to a reasonable speed. Section 25253 VC requires tow trucks used to tow disabled vehicles to be equipped with flashing amber warning lamps and authorizes tow trucks to display flashing amber warning lamps while providing service to a disabled vehicle. However, this section prohibits tow trucks from displaying flashing amber warning lamps on a freeway except when an unusual traffic hazard or extreme hazard exists. Department of Transportation Vehicles (Move Over, Slow Down Law) requires a person who is driving a vehicle on a freeway and approaching in a lane immediately adjacent to a stationary, authorized emergency vehicle that displays emergency lights, or a stationary tow truck that displays flashing amber warning lights, to safely make a lane change from that lane, or slow to a reasonable speed. This new law adds a stationary, marked Caltrans vehicle displaying flashing amber warning lights to the “Move Over, Slow Down Law.”

Crimes Against Highway Workers:  Assault and Battery amends section 2415 and 243.65 of the penal code to expand the definition of a highway worker to include employees of a city or county who perform specified activities related to local streets and roads. Additionally this new law includes in the definition of a highway worker, employees of a contractor while working under contract with Caltrans, contractors and employees of contractors while working under contract with a city or county and volunteers.

Note:  Personal Liability Immunity that a Good Samaritan who renders medical or non-medical care at the scene of an emergency would not be liable for any civil damages.

KION Source.

HWY 1 – NORTHBOUND

DATE: 10/07/09 – 10/08/09

TIME: 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM

LOCATION: BIXBY CREEK BRIDGE

ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL – 0 to 15 MINUTE DELAY

BRIDGE REPAIR

Devil's Slide mapMr. Roadshow of the San Jose Mercury News writes about the construction status of Devil’s Slide Tunnel.

“Workers have drilled into and blown away mostly solid rock, which they prefer over soft, crumbling rock because it is easier to blast away neatly. They are tunneling about 15 feet a day, and they are almost two-thirds of the way through the mountain.”

Mr. Roadshow concludes, “When these tunnels are finished at last, we’ll have a lot less to be wary about.”

With regards to no longer driving the drop-down roadbed of the roller coaster ride that Highway 1 currently provides at Devil’s Slide, yes; however, I anticipate traffic to increase north and south along Highway 1 once the tunnels are complete and open.  The coast is somewhat protected from the mass-weekend tourist traffic by the precarious passage of Devil’s Slide.  Once the tunnels open and ease the drive, we will see many more visitors, property values will increase, and the isolation that the community once experienced will vanish, forever.

If you are interested in reading more about this project, visit CalTrans’ District 4 Devil’s Slide Project page.  An excellent chronicle is Eric Rice’s 3-part series on how the project came to be, or purchase Barbara VanderWerf’s book on the history of the route over Montara Mountain.

 

Yuck.

She was often seen on Oceanside Boulevard and Coast Highway. She was the senior citizen in shorts and army boots, with bangles jingling on her tanned arms as she picked through trash for aluminum cans and pushed along a shopping cart.

She wore flowers in her hair, hibiscus when possible, plucked from a bush outside a Taco Bell.

Full Story *clicky here*

Instagram

I said, Let’s go to Los Olivos! Totally not considering situation. As we drove into SY Valley, smoke, ash, just like all last summer in Big Sur. Firemen all over Solvang.👍🏽👨🏽‍🚒🎖❤️ #ThomasFire, Lat. 36N. Smokey 200 miles north of #ThomasFire. A charm of finches, gold and emerald, lit up this sycamore with singing and chatter.

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Days until manuscript completion

Final DraftNovember 30th, 2013
Dot i's and cross t's.