College Avenue set for repaving very soon

Paving work to be done at night to avoid disturbing merchants
Thursday, August 27, 2020

For years, Oakland has been promising to repave College Avenue - and to incorporate design changes identified as part of the City's settlement with Caltrans over the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore Project.  That promise appears about to bear fruit.  According to Council Member Dan Kalb, the City's transportation department, OakDOT, is planning to begin resurfacing College Avenue within the next few weeks.  

The process could take a month or perhaps even more.  For the portion south of the BART station, the current surface has to be ground down by several inches and the debris hauled away.  Then a new asphalt surface is laid down and packed firm by a steamroller. The portion north of the BART station will also be repaved, but the process will be less intensive, because that section is in better shape. The final step will be to paint the various lane markings (including new bicycle lanes) onto the pavement.  In parallel, various sidewalk and signal improvements will also be done, including installing count-down lights at several traffic signals and extending sidewalk areas with bulb-outs.  There will also need to be traffic detours and lane controls while the work progresses.

Now comes the tricky part.  In order to minimize the impact on College Ave. merchants, OakDOT has proposed that virtually all the paving work be done at night.  While details have yet to be announced, this could mean that the grinding, asphalt pouring, and rolling would be done in the middle of the night. That could disrupt the sleep of residents living in homes or apartments overlooking or in close proximity to College Ave. during the few days when that segment is being repaved. In addition, if the repaving of Broadway a few years back is any indication, there's the potential for huge amounts of dust to spread around the stores and apartments along the street.  (OakDOT says it has learned from that experience and is requiring the contractor to minimize the potential for dust problems.)

The Rockridge District Association asked the City to delay the repaving until Spring. That would allow businesses to regain their footings after the long shelter-in-place order that has not yet fully lifted. Council Member Kalb agreed with the merchants, but OakDOT nonetheless turned down RDA's request.  The City says it had already signed the paving contract and any delay would cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The RCPC Board has just sent a letter to Ryan Russo, director of OakDOT, asking him to reconsider the decision to begin the work at this time and to conduct significant outreach to College Avenue area residents.  (A copy of the letter is attached below.)

In the past, large projects like this have been announced to and discussed by the Rockridge community at Town Hall meetings at the Rockridge Library.  However, in this case OakDOT apparently decided to dispense with the meeting.  Nevertheless, it may still not be too late for residents to have input.  Council Member Kalb indicated that residents could still send specific comments about the project, along with suggestions for implementation changes, to OakDOT's Director, Ryan Russo, at rrusso@oaklandca.gov.  Comments should also be copied to the Mayor, officeofthemayor@oaklandnet.com, as well as Council Member Kalb, dkalb@oaklandca.gov.  Please also send a copy to info@rockridge.org so we know about your concerns.

 

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rcpc_board_letter_re_college_avenue_repaving.pdf90.81 KB