Public Review of Tunnel Mitigations
City Council President Jane Brunner and the city’s Public Works Agency hosted a public meeting to discuss and review the merits of a series of proposed transportation projects addressing issues related to Highway 24, and, in particular, the Caldecott Tunnel 4th Bore project now under construction.
The proposed project list was developed by the city based mostly on a 2008 agreement between Oakland and Caltrans settling Oakland’s objections to adding the fourth bore, and also on a series of walk audits of the area that took place last summer.
Speaking to a full room at Kaiser Elementary School at the November 8 meeting, planning consultant Victoria Eisen presented 33 draft mitigation projects. The projects are divided between North Hills areas nearest the tunnel, Rockridge, and Temescal. Of the 33 projects, 19 include areas within RCPC’s boundaries.
The proposed mitigations, which must stay within a budget of $8 million, include bike lanes and sidewalks, traffic signals, and sound walls in the vicinity of Highway 24. Many of the proposed project designs illustrating the mitigations are conceptual at this point, with community input and more detailed designs needed for construction.
The Rockridge mitigation receiving the most audience interest was the Broadway/ Lawton intersection.
Residents described the hazardous crossing conditions at the intersection and expressed support for improvements. Over $400,000 was proposed for the intersection by the agreement, with the final configuration to be decided based on a future public process.
Soundwalls on Highway 24 were also mentioned by many members of the public at the meeting. The proposed soundwall related project is not for actual construction but for studies needed to qualify each segment for state construction funding.
Several speakers supported soundwalls as a way to enhance the quality of local life. The health impacts of noise at the measured levels along Rockridge streets, particularly on young children, was noted.
Aesthetics was a concern of some speakers, as was the cost, and doubts about their effectiveness. Further analysis and review of the mitigation projects, including possible petitions and public meetings, should be expected.
The city accepted written comments through November 22. RCPC submitted a comment letter pointing out some potential issues, but generally supporting projects within the Rockridge area. Following the comment period, the city will review the public comments, then determine the next steps to prepare a final list for Council approval.
Funding for the highest ranked projects should be available immediately. See future Rockridge News issues for evolving details.