Enjoy music, food, and good company while spreading awareness about Caltransâ€™ planned destruction in the canyon, and hearing the latest news. Bruce is bringing his barbecue, hot dogs and chicken wings, as well as signs you can grab and use to protest at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Niles Canyon. Feel free to bring your own goodies or signs to share.
Date: Saturday, July 9, 2011
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or later
Place: Corner of Mission and Niles Boulevard, Fremont, California (click here for Google directions)
History: We’ve been holding monthly protests since February 2011 when Caltrans started cutting down trees in the canyon. At first there were only a few of us, but as word has gotten out we regularly have 50 to over a 100 folk show up.
Why we are protesting:
A) We want Caltrans to consider alternate safety improvements that won’t result in:
- Hundreds of trees being cut down. 100 native trees have already been cut down for phase I; 450 more are scheduled to be cut down for phase II; and another 100 are scheduled to be cut down for phase III. These numbers do not include non-natives, including a grove of +100-year-old eucalyptus (known locally as “The Spot”) that was almost certainly planted by the original transcontinental railway, and subsequently recorded in many silent films.
- Undermining over a decade’s-worth of effort (not to mention millions of dollars spent by public agencies) to restore riparian habitat to a point where Alameda Creek can once more sustain native steelhead trout.
- Further endangering species that are already on the edge, such as “steelhead trout, California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, Alameda whipsnake, and callippe silverspot butterfly“; and Fremont Cottonwood.
- The Niles Canyon Railway (which is on the National Registry of Historic Places) permanently ceasing to operate. If Caltrans cuts into the train embankment and tries to support it with a retaining wall, the track will no longer meet federal safety regulations, and will have to stop running. The historic train attracts hundreds of visitors to downtown Niles and Sunol each weekend.
- $76 million dollars being wasted, since alternate safety solutions that are more sensitive to local needs are also less expensive.
- A less safe route, since the proposed solution will result in a route that is (a) faster; (b) floods more often — Caltrans is proposing to fill-in up to 20% of the creek in sections, and to lower the road under bridges; and (c) accommodates larger trucks — trucks are involved in 38% of all collisions, even though they only account for 2.5% of all traffic.
- Additional runoff into Alameda Creek — which supplies 40% of Alameda County’s drinking water — particularly during flooding.
- Miles of retaining wall that will undoubtedly attract graffiti, which Caltrans is only prepared to remove once every five years.
- Undermining Niles Canyon’s historic nature as a destination in and of itself.
C) Lastly, we are not convinced that the safety data supporting Caltrans’ plans is valid, since it:
- includes fatalities that are outside the project area (including outside the canyon)
- can’t be completely evidenced (since Caltrans purges its data after 10 years)
- has varied in accordance with Caltrans’ agenda
- does not agree with other agencies’ data
- is purely quantifiable, not qualifiable. For example, there are popular Harley bars on either end of the canyon, and half of all fatalities involve DUI, and another half involve motorcycles (DUI checkpoints and an awareness campaign would be more effective).
- Caltrans safety database (TASAS) is not public, unlike SWITRS.
- In the Phase II DEIR, Caltrans itself admits that there are fewer collisions on Niles Canyon Road than on average comparable roads
Come and join us! Together we are strong enough to fight the destruction in Niles Canyon.