Opponents band together to stop Norris Canyon freeway project

Ramp would allow buses and high occupancy vehicles access to and from freeway

It didn't take long for opponents of a proposed HOV/Bus access between Norris Canyon and Interstate 680 to organize. They began right at the meeting announcing the first stage of the public process.

In fact, one opponent, Jim Gibbon, asked the presenters, "Can the community get together and form a committee to stop it? Most people don't want it."

Opponents filled the room Tuesday night during a scoping session, when the plans -- which began in 2004 -- were brought before the public for the first time. More than 50 people showed up and nearly every one of them disagreed with the plan, which would sent high occupancy vehicles and buses on and off I-680 and into the HOV lane there, avoiding the need to cross three lanes of traffic to enter or leave that lane.

"You're trying to improve access to Bishop Ranch," Gibbon said. "That's what you're doing."

The presenters, from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Caltrans and consultant group CH2M HILL, denied that was the purpose.

The portion of the meeting presenting an overview of the project was consumed by questions from the audience, which largely addressed problems. A 20-minute discussion ran an hour, as people brought up their concerns.

Several people were concerned about property values diminishing; other were concerned about the potential loss of trees, although the presenters noted that California regulations require the planting of two trees for every one cut.

Most were upset that the plan would bring increased traffic into a residential area, and nearly all said they knew nothing about the project, although the presenters noted it had been brought to San Ramon City Council and outreach meetings had been held. Cristin Hallissy from Caltrans said just three people attended.

The scoping session is to be followed by traffic studies and environmental reviews, with any eye toward public hearings about a year from now. If approved, construction could conceivably start in about five years, although only $10.2 million for the $102 million project has been set aside for the work.

Meanwhile, opponents have already exchanged email addresses in an effort to build the support they need to block the project from every taking place.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Dec 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Maybe they are hoping to turn it into another Sunol-type toll lane. In any case, there are better ways for this very broke state to spend 102 million.

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Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

1. If there is to be any new exit on 680 between Bolliger and Crow Canyon, it SHOULD serve the interests of ALL drivers and taxpayers. It should not just serve the interests of bus commuters and carpoolers (at Norris they WOULD BE primarially going to Bishop Ranch).
If an exit at that location is a good idea, then it's a good idea for all drivers.
2. Cal Trans's claim that this exit concept is not intended to service the traffic from Bishop Ranch seems to be a blatant lie! Who (what drivers of buses and carpoolers) do they say that it will service and in what percentages?
3. Cal Trans, stop favoring buses and "so-called" carpoolers at the expense of the majority of us drivers, especially us local drivers using these local exits.
4. (Note that, in the future, Cal Trans will probably try to change the requirement from 2-people to 3-people in the carpool lanes.)
5. Hypothetically assuming that a new exit IS installed, wouldn't it be better (for all of us) to split the distance between Bollinger and Crow Canyon by installing a whole new bridge/exit over the freeway to service both sides and incorporate all drivers into it. On one side of the freeway it would service Bishop Ranch directly (and still leave Norris to operate as it does now); on the other side, it would service that residential area (it wouldn't become a major throughthrew on either side, as it would at Norris).
Wouldn't it cost roughly the same amount of money, be less difficult to construct, and have less upset to the existing traffic flows during the construction phase (than at Norris).
(Whereever an exit is placed, I realize that the most immediate neighbors thereto might complain about it for noise or other reasons. So moving it down (south) might incur the wrath of a few more SFRs, than at Norris.) But it is also an advantage to have a closer exit/entrance serving your neighborhood, especially with no strip malls attached.
6. I'm operating on the principal that "any exit should serve to help to distribute the flow of all traffic for all drivers in the area."
Cal Trans needs to get out of the business of trying to do "social engineering" from a socialistically political agenda (versus serving the individual).

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Posted by Dick P
a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:47 am

Yes I agree with PCMac: carpooling and bus driving are for liberal socialist euros and scamps. This is america people! Get out of my way! Beep beep here we go!

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Posted by Norm Stanley
a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:50 am

Figure it out dum-dums. Traffic is a liberal conspiracy and a leftist hoax. WWJD?

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Posted by collins
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm

A "liberal conspiracy and a leftist hoax", really?, Norm? If you believe this, you need a mental health break. If you meant it as a joke, I think it is offensive, rather than funny.
Dick P. " carpooling and bus driving are for liberal socialist euros and scamps". What is wrong with you?

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Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 10, 2011 at 9:24 am

Collins: I think you might wanna recalibrate your local sarcasmometer Web Link

I think -- but maybe not? It can be tough to tell sometimes, given the preposterous notions often posted on this board.

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Posted by Marrushi
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 12, 2011 at 11:23 am

Yes, plaese biuld freweay in my bakcyrad. K, thnaks bye.

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Posted by Jim Gibbon
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Residents of Danville,

I would like to chime in to say that what we are fighting for in San Ramon will soon be visited on Danville. The next HOV On and Off-ramp project is slated to go in at Sycamore Valley Road. If you are interested in finding out more send me an e-mail at:

This ramp project is a $500,000,000.00 three ramp project that if completed will eliminate any possibility of some day running a light rail down the I-680 corridor. This will lonely leave the Iron Horse Trail for any rail system solution.

I suggest we stop this ramp project and look for another solution that will not limit our future options. It took the San Francisco Embarcadero Freeway fifty years and an earthquake to correct a flaud plan and get rid of it.

Danville will be next, but Caltrans is smart enough to pick us off one at a time. At the one public meeting we had with Caltrans they assured us that we were not alone, Danville was going to get their own ramp.

We will either band together or we will surely hang separately when the ramp project comes to your town.

Jim Gibbon
San Ramon for Open Government

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