September 28, 1987
Metropolitan Transit Commission
Berkeley, California 94705
I have been studying the status of air pollution in the Bay Area, and your 1982 Bay Area Air Quality Plan in particular. It seems very strange to me that in spite of the fact that you have failed, in the past 10 years to make the air in the Bay Area fit to breathe (as required by both state and federal law), and in spite of the fact that traffic is a major factor in creating this pollution, YOU DON'T INCLUDE A SINGLE PROPOSAL THAT WOULD GUARANTEE A DECREASE IN TRAFFIC. If we handled the drug problem this way, there would be no arrests, no confiscation of drugs, and no seizure of marijuana plantations, only pleading lectures on the evils of drug use.
I have to conclude that you (1) have no guts or (2) have no integrity. Why don't you "Just say 'No'" to projects that obviously will increase air pollution, such as the widening of Highway 680 & 24 between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill (have you even commented on this project?), and all of the other freeway "improvement" projects? I am still naive enough to believe that none of us want the Bay Area to turn into another Los Angeles. The only decision is, WHEN TO DRAW THE LINE. Because we are already past the point of having breathable air, we are also long past the point where the line should have been drawn.
What good is so-called "economic development" if we are too sick to enjoy it? Can you think of anything really valuable that is produced in Los Angeles? I can't.
I would like to see in your "update" to the Air Quality Plan some measures that will really do what the plan was intended to do: guarantee that air pollution in the Bay Area will decrease in order to meet state and federal air quality standards. Otherwise, WHY HAVE STANDARDS AT ALL?? Specifically, any project that will significantly increase traffic, or allow traffic to increase, should be stopped and redesigned so that the same outcomes can be had without an increase in traffic. For example, the money set aside to "improve" the 680/24 interchange should be used to extend BART and make it available to the people clogging up the freeway.
Can you please respond within 5 working days?
Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.