Bore Mitigation Projects to be Rated (Oakland settlement)

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Fourth Bore Coalition (FBC) filed a lawsuit against Caltrans over its plans to add a fourth bore to the Caldecott Tunnel. In January 2009, the FBC settled its lawsuit under threat by Governor Schwarzenegger. The settlement included $3 million for air quality and noise mitigation for two Rockridge public schools immediately adjacent to Hwy. 24, Claremont Middle School and Chabot Elementary. The FBC is a coalition of local community groups in Oakland and Berkeley centered around Highway 24, including RCPC and FROG.

Of the settlement funds, $2 million comes from the state Air Resources Board for upgrades to the ventilation systems of all buildings and classrooms at both schools.

An additional $1 million grant was provided by CalFire’s Urban Forestry Program for landscape barriers to mitigate noise and air quality impacts from increased traffic expected to occur after construction of the new tunnel bore.

Separately, the city of Oakland signed a Settlement Agreement with Caltrans over the environmental assessment of the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel project, in June 2008, ending months of negotiations. The settlement called on Caltrans to fund “enhancement” projects meant to: “Improve pedestrian, bicycle, transit and local streets; create barriers to noise; and include projects that support the use of transit (and thus reduction of single-occupant motorized vehicles), such as transit signal coordination and amenities for the greater community in the Highway 24 corridor between I-580 and the Caldecott Tunnel.”

Around 20 higher priority Phase I projects, estimated to cost $8.2 million (2008 dollars), were listed in the settlement. An additional $4 million in Phase II projects was partially developed in case any Phase I projects drop off the list, e.g., infeasible; funded by another source; or in case Phase I project costs turned out to be less than initially estimated.

The process to identify Phase II projects and prioritize all the projects to be funded with this money is now underway. A series of walk audits to tour potential improvement projects with neighborhood leaders occurred in early June. Next, one-page sheets will be created, describing the location, purpose and estimated cost of each. These sheets will draw heavily on data provided by the Fourth Bore Coalition as well as information conveyed during the walk audits and collision and traffic data for each location.

Using criteria developed in conjunction with Council President Jane Brunner’s office, the public, including Rockridge residents, will be asked to help create the final, prioritized list of all projects in Fall 2010.

Phase I projects in the Rockridge area include:

• Broadway/Lawton: New signal • Broadway/Keith, College/Keith, College/Miles: Signal upgrades • Install sidewalks along Broadway between Golden Gate Avenue and Kay Overcrossing. • Soundwalls: At priority locations, to be identified.

Phase II projects include:

•On/off ramp improvements for pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles safety and access. • Bicycle safety and access improvements at the Rockridge BART. •Traffic Signal Transit Coordination and Synchronization Program along Claremont, College and Broadway. • Soundwalls: At priority locations, to be identified.

Consulting firm, Eisen|Letunic, with the technical assistance of Fehr & Peers, is leading this effort on behalf of the city of Oakland.  Please contact Victoria Eisen of the consultant team at victoria@eisenletunic.com if you have any questions about this process.