Many of us were greatly encouraged by the massive turnout at today’s meeting with Caltrans.Â Despite limited notice, and despite being held in the middle of the workday, in the middle of the workweek, so many people turned out to voice their displeasure with the Niles Canyon Road Widening projects that a larger room needed to be found.Â Even with the larger room, there was standing room only.Â The highlight (in my humble opinion), was when an audience member asked the room at large, “Does anyone in this room support Caltrans’ projects?”, and there was a deafening silence in response.
As expected, today’s presentation rehashed data many of us have already heard.Â We did, however, confirm that — despite widespread popular opposition — Caltrans has no intention of stopping or slowing down Phase I (even temporarily) to address the issues raised.Â Staff members from Bob Wieckowski and Ellen Corbett’s office confirme d that — while they are working to represent constituent interests for Phases II and III — they are helpless to stop or slow down Phase I, since it has already been approved.Â This doesn’t mean WE are helpless, however.
I urge any of you with even a small amount of spare time and a penchant for digging, to compare the Final Negative Declaration, to any permits you can find, and to the work you see being performed.Â If you find discrepancies, please document them so we can use your work as evidence to get an injunction (e.g., take photos of trees felled in unapproved areas, or with nests in them, and note the date and location).Â Then share your results with the group.
For those of you looking for a specific project, we need someone to go to Oakland and dig up the “Storm Water Data Report” Caltrans used to justify its Negative Declaration for Phase I, and to somehow share it with the group (does anyone have portable scanner?).Â Apparently, “All technical studies and reports supporting the environmental document are available for the public to review at 111 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94623.”
The Alameda Creek Alliance is also researching whether the failure to notify them of a final CEQA document is grounds for an injunction.
Lastly, keep those letters and phone calls coming, and keep protesting!Â Our next Potluck/Protest will be this Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Vallejo Mills Park (corner of Mission and Niles).Â Let’s share a meal, share our knowledge, meet fellow supporters, and keep the synergy going.Â The weather should be fine, and we will once again enjoy live music courtesy of Michael McNevin.
Special thanks are due to Bob Wieckowski and Ellen Corbett for arranging today’s meeting with Caltrans, and to the City Council and Nadia Lockyer for attending.Â Wieckowski and Corbett’s staff members assure us that they are working with Caltrans for an evening meeting soon, with a larger room, and more time for audience questions.Â We also had great media representation today.
To those citizens who attended the 3/9 meeting and provided sign in contact information: please note that information is not shared with the SaveNilesCanyon group. We appreciate your support for the cause and we want to be able to share information with you. Will you please send your name, phone#, email address and home address to us through our contact box, thanks.