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Transit authority will hold public workshop on Norris Canyon HOV ramps

The Contra Costa Transit Authority will hold a workshop on the Norris Canyon HOV/bus lane project Thursday night. CCTA hopes to receive public input and feedback during the environmental review process.

The plan, which would cost an estimated $102 million, would build on- and off-ramps to allow car poolers and buses to go directly onto and off of the HOV lane from Norris Canyon and Interstate 680. Part of the Measure J transportation expenditure plan, the CCTA hopes HOV lanes will promote and facilitate carpooling, vanpooling and transit use by improving freeway access.

But a coalition of people opposed to the ramps claims that the project will increase crime, congestion and cause delays in police and fire response times. Led by San Ramon resident Jeff Rackmill, the group has a unique story: Its genesis was actually at the first public airing of the plan to build the ramps.

According to the website Stop Norris Ramp, "These ramps are not necessary: Crow Canyon and Bollinger Canyon both have ramps to I-680, and they are less than a mile from Norris Canyon. These ramps would be a waste of taxpayer money. These ramps will have a negative impact on the quality of life in San Ramon."

Rackmill has urged opponents to attend Thursday's workshop, which will be held at the San Ramon Community Center (12051 Alcosta Blvd.) from 6:30-8:30 p.m., to contest the project.

"To stop these ramps from being constructed on the Norris Cyn overpass, San Ramon residents must convince the City Council to send a letter to CCTA, reversing their stated position of the 2010 and 2011 letters," the website states. "The letter must clearly state that San Ramon does not find the addition of these ramps to Norris (Canyon) acceptable, and does not approve of their construction."

Members of the Stop the Norris Canyon HOV Ramps Steering Committee recently suggested an alternative plan to the Norris Canyon ramps: a ramp on Executive Parkway near the Bishop Ranch sculpture. Scott Steinwert, a member of the Caltrans and CCTA's public outreach team, said officials have started to look at the alternative "very preliminarily" and will discuss it during the workshop.

Thursday's event is the first in a series of three workshops and will provide a project and process overview (the next two will be held in the fall and winter). Residents can take a closer look at how comments received to date will be addressed and voice additional project priorities and concerns.

Comments

Posted by FanDanville, a resident of Danville
on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:09 am

I strongly object to this idea of building ramps for only "special vehicles" and "special purposes."
Freeway ramps are either a good idea for EVERYONE using the road or they should NOT BE ALLOWED!

This is TAKING of a public commodity and giving it to a special interest group (under the guise of doing something "good" for the environment....or traffic reduction....or some other rationale that Big Government decides to force on the people without their free choice or vote).
These ramps will cost a huge amount of money, cause years of construction traffic and added danger (and injury to us) to ALL users in the area (both on the freeway and on the side roads), and then only benefit a few special interest users (at the forever expense of all other users).
These ramps will ultimately ENCOURAGE and FOSTER long distance COMMUTING habits and patterns......and DISCOURAGE (and dis-incentivize) local living, short distance commuting, and local property interests. This idea is all about having more people come from farther and farther away to get to places with more "cross traffic" patterns, rather than "letting" free market forces and people's freedom of choice influence their own decision making. This is all about INFLUENCING people and NARROWING their reasonable choices to the ideas and concepts of a few. Let the people make their own choices and live with them. If "carpooling" is a good idea for me, I'll carpool. It's not necessary to build a separate freeway system for carpoolers. It's either a good idea on the existing freeway.....or not.

The ROADS are for EVERYONE to use......and if WE pay for the roads, we should be able to use them.
When did I ever get to VOTE for, or against, carpool lanes, HOV lanes, etc. Politicians and Cal Trans have taken over control of all of the land of roadways in CA and done what a few people want over the wishes, needs, desires, and choices of ALL.
Give us back our land. Serve all of us.


Posted by FanDanville, a resident of Danville
on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

IMO, there is no REAL SCIENCE behind any of these "carpool"/"HOV" concepts and assumptions.
Has there ever been any PROOF about how many people changed their passenger load to use carpool lanes? About how many fewer cars it really puts on the freeway? About whether it really benefits people (both the carpoolers and non-poolers) ENOUGH to justify the HUGE COSTS to build, HUGE TIME COSTS to all during construction, the TAKING AWAY of lanes from regular freeway use and its traffic reduction capability?
Oh, I'm sure that Cal Trans has conducted their own "studies" and made reports, but I'd bet a lot that the reports are FLAWED and ultimately not scientific proof. These decisions and huge expenditures are being made strictly based on political concepts and BELIEFS.
This is some group's political RELIGION that has been forced onto all of us without our vote.


Posted by FanDanville, a resident of Danville
on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:59 am

Oh, let me specifically include the concept of "metering lights" in my claim of lack of good scientific proof.
And don't just measure the speed on the freeway, include the effect to speeds on the proximate city roads, and overall total trip time.


Posted by SFReis, a resident of Blackhawk
on Mar 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

102 Million? Why everything cost so much these days? I wonder how much it would cost to build 680, or highway 5 today...trillions?

And I agree, I don't see the need for privileged lanes.


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