December 21, 1987
California Transportation Commission
William T. Bagley, Chairman
1120 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
I am writing to ask that you reverse your Record of Decision on Caltrans' I-680/SR-24 project, described in FEIS FHWA-CA-EIS-86-04F.
1. The project (and all other freeway expansion projects like it) is in direct conflict with the Clean Air Act. The San Francisco Bay Area is a "non-attainment" area with respect to federal and state air quality standards, and any such growth-inducing project will only make the air worse (particularly in CO, which comes mostly from traffic). REGARDLESS HOW MANY EXTENSIONS OF THE CLEAN AIR DEADLINE WE MAKE, it is still irrational to expand the freeways, because that will just make it harder and harder to clean up the air! Extending the Clean Air deadline is like giving a convicted murderer (or rapist, etc.) more time to roam the streets, before he has to go to jail: he will just continue to commit more crimes!
2. Caltrans, knowing that no one would check their calculations or even test them against some common sense, blatantly falsified their air quality comparison ("build" vs "no build") in order to "prove" that widening the freeway would DECREASE air pollution (see the enclosed letters). While this might be true for CO, in the short run (for a year or two), it is obviously false in the long run (their prediction is for the year 2010!), and it is false for other pollutants. Eight lanes of jammed up traffic produce more pollution than six lanes!
3. It is a well-known fact that rapid transit in high traffic areas can move MORE PEOPLE, FASTER, CHEAPER, and with FAR LESS AIR POLLUTION. In spite of the fact that Caltrans is called the California Department of Transportation (The Department of Freeways and Smog would be more appropriate), and is responsible to save the taxpayer money, as well as obey the Clean Air Act, they did not consider public transit as an option for preventing traffic congestion in the corridors in question. Since every city will have to turn to mass transit EVENTUALLY (they only contains a finite amount of land available for freeways), it is unnecessary and very wasteful (particularly in a time of crippling national debt and balance of payments) to continue expanding freeways. Even Caltrans admits that this is not a solution. Mass transit is not only "viable", but will soon be the ONLY solution left!
4. Caltrans continues to insist on destroying 30 homes, in spite of the fact that several engineers have shown that the roadray does not have to be that wide, in order to accommodate the traffic. For example, the 12' wide lanes are required by 70 MPH traffic, not the 55 MPH traffic that will use them; narrower lanes are adequate for 55 MPH.
5. The fact that money is available is not a good reason for building more freeways, any more than it is a reason for growing marijuana. That money should be given over to mass transit.
Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.
cc: George Deukmejian
Leo J. Trombatore
Metropolitan Transportation Commission