Friday, October 21 , 2016, 9:36 pm | Fair 61º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube

Local News

Public Gets Three Chances to Weigh In on Highway 101 Carpool Lanes

Caltrans holding a pair of forums this week, with Montecito Association asking residents to attend a separate meeting next week

As Caltrans gears up for this week’s public meetings about the carpool lanes it wants to install on Highway 101 east of Santa Barbara, one community group is calling for residents to sound off about the changes in a different venue.

The Montecito Association issued a statement last week imploring residents to attend a separate forum it will be hosting in May, in addition to two that Caltrans is holding.

Caltrans wants to add carpool lanes — also known as High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes — on an 11-mile stretch between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Officials say the project would reduce traffic congestion while encouraging ride sharing and the use of public transportation.

Last month, the transportation agency released a draft environmental impact report, and is soliciting public input.

“Caltrans parameters for their forum will not include public comments from the floor, but public comments will be recorded separately,” the statement from the Montecito Association said. “Since this phase affects Montecito directly, the Montecito Association encourages all of its members and Montecito residents to get involved.”

The HOV project also would have “substantial adverse visual impacts,” according to the draft EIR, the most significant of which seem to be the effect on the aesthetics of the highway corridor. Sound walls and replacement landscaping are expected to reduce but not eliminate those impacts.

“Because of the inherent alteration of scale, increase of hard surface and loss of vegetative character, substantial adverse visual impacts would remain,” according to the report.

Noise levels are also expected to increase in the project area between zero and three decibels, and the report calls for the installation of sound walls and noise-reducing pavement to lessen the noise impact. The project also could affect several endangered species, such as the tidewater goby and steelhead trout, while two bridges are being replaced over creeks in the project area, and Caltrans would have to mitigate those impacts.

Click here to view the entire draft environmental report.

Public feedback is being solicited on the draft EIR until May 25, and design and permitting are expected to take place from this fall to the fall of 2015. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2016.

Caltrans will hold its first forum from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Montecito Country Club, 920 Summit Drive. A second meeting is scheduled for 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the cafeteria at Carpinteria High School, 4810 Foothill Road.

The Montecito Association will hold a public forum to hear comments on the proposed plan at 5 p.m. May 1 at El Montecito Presbyterian Church, 1455 East Valley Road. Click here for more information.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >