Maybe we should just stop fretting about traffic congestion along the clogged Peninsula and admit that it’s so far out of our control that it’s beyond redemption.
Developers of extensive office space and their willing enablers in municipal governments throughout San Mateo County continue to promote and produce massive complexes with barely a wink and a nod to their painfully obvious environmental impacts.
Clear consequences don’t seem to matter. The rush to build is nonstop and damaging to the daily lives of the citizens who must deal with the construction.
Housing? That’s a secondary consideration. The primary focus is on more and more office facilities. The latest proposal has come in the eastern portion of San Carlos, which dubs itself as “The City of Good Living.”
There, a staggering 1.6 million square feet of new office space to be located between the Caltrain rail corridor and Highway 101 has been penciled out. The plan is in its embryonic stage. So it’s likely that the project will be scaled back somewhat over time.
But if history is any judge of what’s to come, the developer, with the assistance of the town’s authorities, will get much of what it wants in the end. How many employees will wind up working in those structures? Who knows? But it would be safe to say a lot, as in several thousand at the very least.
Then the irony once more will be the ensuing wailing and moaning about ever more traffic gridlock on the highways and byways leading into and out of San Carlos and surrounding communities.
The beat goes on.
It will no doubt pass without much fanfare, but it’s worth noting that we are in the midst of the 60th anniversary of a local literary milestone.
Novelist Ken Kesey began working on what would become his wildly popular “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1959-60 at his rented house in a modest neighborhood in Menlo Park just north of the Palo Alto border off Alameda de las Pulgas.
Kesey had recently finished his participation in a creative writing program at nearby Stanford University. His literary effort was based, in part, on his experiences working at a Veterans Administration hospital in Menlo Park.
He would later move to more secluded rural digs in LaHonda where his legendary parties would be fueled by all manner of adult beverages and hallucinogenic drugs. The guest list was eclectic, and he became an icon of the counter-culture at the time.
Kesey was frequently in trouble with the authorities — he did some jail time locally and eventually moved back to Oregon where he had lived previously.
It was there that he continued to write, but medical problems limited his output; he died in 2001 at the age of 66. His heralded novel, first published in 1962, lives on.
Bay rail crossing
Back to the tricky and unpleasant subject of traffic congestion: For years, if not decades, Peninsula public transit enthusiasts have cast their eager gaze on the remnants of an abandoned freight rail crossing south of the Dumbarton Bridge.
It’s a tantalizing route because, if it was ever re-activated for use as a commuter rail setup linking the East Bay with East Palo Alto/Menlo Park with a terminus in Redwood City, the thinking is that it could help to alleviate traffic gridlock on both sides of the bay. At least that’s the hopeful supposition.
A public meeting to discuss these matters is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Fair Oaks Health Center, 2710 Middlefield Road in Redwood City.
John Horgan’s column appears weekly in the Mercury News. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at P.O. Box 117083, Burlingame, CA 94011.