Progress Report on the Improvements to the Chip Seal Surface of Highway 1
In December of 2012, the Slabtown Rollers Cycling Club undertook the enormous challenge to have Caltrans repair 23 miles of chip seal damage to the iconic and scenic coast Highway 1. A petition was drafted and posted on the web to collect signatures to support our efforts in getting Caltrans to repair a very rough chip seal application of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, Hwy1) in Northern San Luis Obispo County. We wish to announce that progress has been made and that Caltrans has improved the road surface recently by adding an additional layer of asphaltic emulsion topped by sand. While not as smooth as it was originally (pre-chip seal), the majority of local riders sense an appreciable reduction in road surface-induced vibration with the recent sand seal application.
Our club, the Cambria Slabtown Rollers, have re-initiated club rides up the road at least twice weekly. Additionally, the club will sponsor the 14th Annual Country Coast Classic Bike Ride next May 31 in conjunction with the Cambria Community Council to raise funds to support local youth programs. This event was cancelled for 2013 due to the rough road surface conditions. A significant number of you stated that you would not return to ride our iconic section of the PCH unless there was something done to improve the road surface. That has happened and we invite all of you to return to ride this great road once again.
This is great news for the local, national, and international cycling communities that know of this stretch of PCH and have either ridden or would like to ride this road in the future. How were we able to influence the state bureaucracy to admit and then address the road surface? For those interested in details, please visit the Slabtown Rollers Facebook page for a series of relevant postings.
The following high level bullet points explain our success:
- It was started with a highly motivated and committed local group of cyclists who were sophisticated, organized, and focused on getting the road fixed. Egos were checked at the door.
- Early involvement of our local county official (Bruce Gibson) who became our conduit to the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), a highly influential county-wide government body that twice issued statements in support of our efforts.
- Attendance at meetings where the road issue was calmly, yet firmly, discussed by members of our group : SLOCOG, NCAC (North County Advisory Council), California Transportation Commission meetings.
- Support of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition and Visit San Luis Obispo County tourism board.
- Soft touch/back channel communications with officials at the California Transportation Commission, UC Davis Pavement Research Center, Caltrans District 5, and Senator Monning's and Representative Katcho’s offices.
- Participation in collaboration with Caltrans and UC Davis PRC in the testing of various road surface treatments to select one appropriate for the PCH.
- Engagement of a local, motivated professional with a lobbying background to help us avoid pitfalls in our execution.
- Support of the Cambria Chamber of Commerce
- Generation of sufficient funds to pay for professional help when needed provided both by individuals and the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club.
- Support of the local newspapers : The Cambrian and the San Luis Obispo Tribune
The final treatment was finished several weeks ago. Now is the time to return to the road and enjoy the unparalleled scenic vistas that this iconic road provides. Come on back!!
Keep the wheels down,
The Slabtown Rollers