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.