Local News

Jan 29, 2014 7:18 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Highway 101 study underway; public input requested

We've all driven it and we all know there are stretches of Highway 101 that can get a bit congested. Now, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, or SLOCOG, is studying ways to make the 70 mile drive through SLO County a little smoother.

The initial phase of the study reviewed the entire stretch of US 101 through San Luis Obispo County and evaluated it based on 11 performance measures, including safety, access, congestion, and travel time.

Every day, nearly 60,000 cars drive on the 101 through San Luis Obispo County.

"The issues that are coming up, especially with the 101 corridor, is we have less and less money to put on projects in our county," said Jessica Berry, transportation planner for SLOCOG. "Because of this, we want to be really strategic on where that money is going."

That's why over the last three years, SLOCOG, which consists of county supervisors and several city mayors, has conducted an in-depth study to identify problem areas.

"The problem areas were based on multiple factors, like how's the pedestrian connectivity across it or bicycle connectivity," said Berry. "We also looked at the mainline level of service and merge, diverge issues at on and off ramps."

First on the docket is the highly congested area between Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach, but this research is just a preliminary phase. City leaders want to hear what you think.

By going to SLOCOG's website, you can use interactive maps to see the plans for yourself. It even offers you the ability to click an area of the map and add comments on what you think should be done. The interactive site will be up through February.

Paying for the work also complicates the project. The region does not get the federal funding it used to from gas taxes. County and city leaders are looking at a variety of options, not limited to a supplemental sales tax increase of a half cent over 20 years. If something like that is approved by voters in the region, it could bring in nearly $550 million to complete the work.

A public meeting is being held in Pismo Beach on Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Pismo Beach City Council Chambers. Another meeting will take place in Atascadero Thursday evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. inside the Atascadero City Council Rotunda.

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