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Alameda City Council Upset about I-880 Improvement Plans

By Erica Madison

“Why don’t we have a resolution,” asked Mayor Beverly Johnson.

After hearing from Public Works and Alameda County Congestion Management Agency on Jan 6, 2009, City Council was disappointed with each sides’ solution to the I-880 improvement proposal.

According to Caltrans, the current ramps are substandard, not design standard. “Our design will allow another auxiliary lane in the future to meet Caltrans standards for 23rd Ave. but the money we are given, we have to use now”, said an ACCMA representative..

According to the ACCMA the funding they are receiving from the state is time sensitive.

“The Fruitvale bridge is very underutilized”, said Mayor Beverly Johnson.

“To divert more traffic away and make it harder to get to the bridge is not a good thing for Alameda.”

Johnson also pointed out that the queue makes it impossible to redirect traffic back to the Fruitvale Bridge.

The ACCMA representative agreed with her.

Councilmember Matarrese was also disappointed with how the I-880 improvements negatively impacted Alameda.

“Having a queue jump that goes across the bridge is not acceptable,” said Matarrese.

Vice Mayor deHaan was bothered by the fact that the ACCMA hadn’t included any southbound mitigation.

“I’m appalled. I don’t see any south bound mitigation. This is probably the most dangerous area.”

deHaan was also critical of the ACCMA’s use of the sound wall.

“Do you know where the sound goes when you put up one sound wall? Right into Alameda. We need sound walls on each side.”

The fact that I-880 improvements may increase traffic congestion in Alameda has some council members wary about the viability of the plan.

“We need to look at something different. Is this the best place to put $74 million if we continue to have traffic congestion?” said Matarrese.

“We’re creating a huge obstacle that I don’t think we’ll ever overcome,” said Johnson.

The public works staff asked the City Council if their proposed mitigations would solve the problem.

Mayor Johnson told them that they needed to go back and work something out with ACCMA.

The ACCMA will meet with the Publics Works department to continue trying to fix the problems with the proposal.

“You will lose money from this region if you can’t figure out a way to solve these problems.” said Mayor Beverly Johnson.

“We don’t want to create a conflict between Alameda and Oakland on this.”

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