The Tour de California: Feb 19th 2007

The Tour de California, Bike Race, starting point & sponsor, the City of Sausalito, is scheduled for this Feb. 19th, Presidents Day. The Race extends through Tamalpais Valley on Shoreline Hwy. #1, takes alternate route of Panoramic Hwy. at the So. Intersection of Panoramic & Shoreline Hwy. #1 to the No. Intersection of Panoramic Hwy.& Shoreline Hwy. #1 in Stinson Beach. From there Shoreline Hwy. #1 North through the Village of Stinson and beyond.

This years race coincides with the Presidents Day Holiday, when the Coastal Communities are inundated with Beachgoers, Bird/Whale/Elephant Seal/Newt/Tule Elk/Monarch Butterfly Watchers, Hikers, Kayakers, Surfers, Stinson Beach Park is filled to capacity with parked cars-picknickers-barbecuers, restaurants are packed with gourmet aficionados and imbibers. On top of this multitude in Muir Beach, Stinson and Bolinas are the fans of the Bike Race and the proposed 3 hr. shutdown of Panoramic Hwy.[coincidentally, the only conduit for all the above that are heading So. on Shoreline Hwy. to Hwy. 101 through or in Stinson Beach], for the purpose of accommodating the Tour de Califorina, solo use, during this halt of all other traffic..to & fro.. How odd and inappropriate the timing!

Imagine, the dilemma, of the multitude, coming from all points, California, to destination Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Bolinas and NW Marin at the hours of Closedown, 10a.m.-1p.m., let alone, the Emergency Services and 1st responders, can expect to service the needs of 10-20K[differential is on the basis of weather]. This Holiday Onslaught of Lemmings to the Sea, those that have arrived before the Closure join those that have been here overnight and live full time in SW Marin. They alight from their steeds of transportation, some in need of emergency facilities, others for a bite to eat from the restaurants[Pelican Inn in Muir, Sandollar-Parkside-Stinson Grill-Surfers Grill in Stinson, Bo’s Blue Heron-Coast Cafe-Smileys Schooner Saloon] coffee from John’s Coffee Stand and Edible Treats from the Stinson Beach Market-Bolinas Store-Bo Peoples Food Store, browse the curio & surf shops, gym, video/ice cream, healing art center, chiropractic service, book/map shop, art gallery, real estate offices [view prices/pics of homes posted on windows] motels [Sandpiper, Ocean Court, Stinson Beach Motel, Smileys], Beach-Bed-Breakfast [Redwoods Haus], check out the Beach Scene, surf, kayak, swim, bicycle, hike the Matt Davis/Steep Ravine/Dipsea Trailheads, view the S.B. Monarch Butterfly Swarm in the Trees, visit the Bolinas Lagoon to see the Migrating Birds/Egrets/Pelicans/Blue Herons/Seal Colony, attend the Presbyterian/Historic Bolinas St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, then move on to NW Marin, or the settings for Alfred Hitchcock’s Movies-” The Birds” in Bodega Bay or Vertigo in Muir Woods.

Picture all this activity with individuals and groups jockeying for parking spaces in the residential sectors of Stinson Beach, congregating for the best view spots along Shoreline Hwy. to watch the race, which seems to take forever to appear. Insufficient law enforcement on hand, to keep pedestrians, unaware of the danger, of being hit, by the chase cars[which speed Northbound in the left lane, at rates upward of 50 mph, preceding the bicyclists, being behind a phalanx of off duty CHP officers, 3 on State owned CHP Motorcycles two in CHP Hwy Cruisers, managed by a CHP superior privately acquired for the event, How long is the preplanning process? Are the CHP vehicles also paid for/rented by the promoters of this event? Are the officers on paid vacation from the State of California for the week of this event?, These questions are put forth by members of the SW Marin Community], that may lose control, and plough into the assembled crowds. If such an incident took place, the difficulty for emergency vehicles to move through the gridlock of stacked autos[denied access to Panoramic Hwy. during the Closure, destination Hwy. 101] and the curious would not be easy, well nigh impossible.

The Stinson Beach, Muir Beach, Bolinas Fire Depts are responsible for their Beaches, Environs, respond to emergency calls on Panoramic, Muirs Woods Roads and Shoreline Hwy. #1 as well as the adjacent forest and Lagoon.. Due to the Closure of Shoreline Hwy. for the Repair and Retrofit Projects overseen by Cal Trans, their coordination is dependent on keeping Panoramic, Muir Woods Road and those Parts of Shoreline Hwy. #1 not affected by Closure, open. Each department is responsible to the point of sending crews of fire dept. volunteer personel to clear the roads of debris from car accidents, mud slides and trees, that impede the flow of traffic.

In return the County of Marin Board of Supervisors, insured the various Fire Departments and Disaster Corps Organizations of SW Marin that Panoramic Hwy. would never be closed to the public and 1st responder traffic flow, for any reason other than sheer impossibility due to unforeseeable and overwhelming natural events, during the period of the Closure of Shoreline Hwy. #1 for Retrofit and Repairs. A petition is circulating Stinson Beach, for public signage, against the scheduled and permited Closure of Panoramic Hwy. for 3 hrs., Feb. 19th, Presidents Day. That petition is advocated and promoted by the Stinson Beach Fire Dept. whose primary concern is for the residents and businesses of Stinson Beach and the General Visiting Public as well as for the homeowners on Panoramic Hwy. that will be trapped in their driveways during the 3 hr. closure. That petition enjoys widespread popular support from the business as well as the residential Community of Stinson Beach, who are well aware of the need for 24 hr. vigilance and response capablility of law enforcement, fire, ambulance, evacuation and disaster personel to the dangers posed by tsunami, fire, mud slides, flooding, car accidents, cliff side/domestic falls, health related emergencies, problems posed by weather making it impossible for backup helicopter medic evac missions to extract victims in lieu of ambulances.

In short, any permit issued for Feb. 19th, by Caltrans, allowing the closure of Shoreline Hwy. #1 in the Tam Valley area before Panoramic Hwy. and after the No. Intersection of Panoramic and Shoreline Hwy. #1, would be not be advisable under the circumstances. The same goes for a permit being issued by the County of Marin, Dept of DPW, for Presidents Day, Feb. 19th, Closure of Panoramic Hwy.

One Response to “The Tour de California: Feb 19th 2007”

  1. Luciana says:

    I really like looking through a post that will make men and women think.

    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

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