PhotoWeek130301baylightsArtist Leo Villareal controls the Bay Lights with his laptop. (Cy Musiker/KQED)

PhotoWeek130301shorebirdsOn Wednesday, author and photographer Elaine Miller Bond captured this shot of “hundreds, probably thousands, of seabirds (mostly cormorants) sitting on the old pilings at the far end of the Berkeley Pier.” A reader suggested they were on a herring run. (Elaine Miller Bond/Berkeleyside)

PhotoWeek130301chineseNYCrowds swarm Grant Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year on Saturday, Feb 23. (Jason Winshell/SF Public Press)

PhotoWeek130301airporttowerThe air traffic control tower at San Carlos Airport could close as part of federal budget cuts related to the sequester. (Scott Shafer/KQED)

PhotoWeek130301warblerThe protester known as “Warbler” watches a Caltrans truck from her perch 71 feet up a Ponderosa pine near the Mendocino County town of Willits. Warbler, who has been tree-sitting for more than a month, is protesting Caltrans’ plan to build a bypass for U.S. 101. Critics says the project will have dire environmental consequences. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

PhotoWeek130301blackhistoryA new black history museum at Woodside Plaza in Redwood City features 11,000 square feet of history and memorabilia. (Kate Abbott/Peninsula Press)

PhotoWeek130301kimchiKimchi, pickles–and Korean food in general–are hot right now in the East Bay, not least at FuseBOX, a popular spot in West Oakland run by chef Sunhui Chang and his partner Ellen Chang. Here Sunhui makes kimchi by hand. (Anna Mindess/Berkeleyside)

News Pix: Bay Area Faces Sequester Cuts, Bay Lights Magic and Birds of Berkeley’s Marina 7 May,2014Katrina Schwartz

  • not only environmental consequences (“relocating” the salmon for years in one of the longest coho salmon runs in California and the largest “take” of wetlands in 50 years in N CA) but it won’t solve Willits’ traffic problem, which is local traffic. Even Caltrans acknowledges 70 to 80 percent of the traffic causing intown traffic slowdowns and a northbound bottleneck in the middle of town won’t use the bypass (and that’s before downturn in through traffic due to economy, gas prices). Here’s the Caltrans web cam 1 mile north of Willits that shows almost always “empty” highways — — that’s the through traffic that Caltrans is spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars to “relieve”! Willits locals have been trying for years to get a “truck route” through town, for local and through traffic intent on speed. And it could be paid for with the $20 million in Willits’ share of “local match” money that’s been squirreled away for years. This is a boondoogle. There are better ways to keep Caltrans staff and highway workers working than to build a highway to nowhere. That’s not to mention that after years of telling locals a 2-lane alternative would be “disastrous” – that’s what Caltrans is building, due to lack of funds. They’re promising to come back and build the second half “later.”

  • Adding to Jennifer Poole’s comments: Local planners, The Willits Environmental Center, The Willits, City Council, The Mendocino Council of Governments and numerous “locals”, attended endless meetings and planning sessions thinking that they would have some effect on CalTrans’ planned 4 lane bypass of Willits. For 20 years they planned for a central connection to State Highway 20 which is part of a huge bottleneck in Willits. They wanted a low level , on grade 2 lane route on the east side of Willits with good town access. They hoped for improvements on Highway 101 which runs through the center of Willits. They discussed and begged for the Sherwood Road/Highway 101 intersection to be improved. Cal Trans pretended to listen and then dashed these good plans by engineering a 4 lane super highway through sensitive wetlands and riparian habitat. In fact, the largest destruction of wetlands in over 50 years of highway building!

    Then, when they couldn’t get their funding for the 4 lane they flip flopped on their earlier statement that they would never build a 2 lane because it would be too dangerous. Now their plan was to build a 2 lane, elevated 1/2 a freeway with no central access to Willits. This creates an additional stop when exiting at the south end of the freeway coming into Willits. They were supposed to be eliminating stops not creating them. With no central divider, this 2 lane becomes a 6 mile suicide lane, an inaccessible monolithic boondoggle, created by the CalTrans bureaucracy….. In VIOLATION OF THE FEDERATION OF PEOPLE WITH COMMON SENSE.


Katrina Schwartz

Katrina Schwartz is a journalist based in San Francisco. She’s worked at KPCC public radio in LA and has reported on air and online for KQED since 2010. She’s a staff writer for KQED’s education blog MindShift.

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