From Jeff Miller at the Alameda Creek Alliance, 3/11/2011:

Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller

The Alameda Creek Alliance will be submitting a comprehensive request for records under the California Public Records Act today to Caltrans regarding phase 1 of the Niles Canyon highway widening project.
We will be requesting:
evidence of compliance (or non-compliance) with the conditions of their DFG 1600 permit and Regional Water Board permit that were required before construction activities;
evidence of notification of relevant stakeholders of the draft environmental review document, and of notification of commenting parties on the draft document of the approval of the final environmental review document;
evidence of Caltrans ownership of the land where project activities have occurred or will occur as part of phase 1, or evidence of landowner consent and easement for lands not owned by Caltrans

 

These records will help us determine whether there is any viable legal action that can be taken regarding phase 1 of the project. Some of the information will also be useful for public education and outreach to legislators.

We anticipate that we will try to get in to personally inspect these records (or lack thereof) early next week. If there are one or two other people we feel should come along to look at those records, let me know. We will make copies and make public any relevant information.

We have information that Caltrans may have violated condition 1 of their Regional Water Board permit, which requires that a signed agreement be in place for the off-site mitigation in Livermore before commencement of construction activities. The proposed Arroyo Mocho El Granada High School mitigation site fell through and they did not have a signed mitigation agreement before the tree cutting commenced, which it seems to us is part of “project construction.” We will get more info from Caltrans and the Water Board.

The SFPUC is investigating whether any of the tree cutting for phase 1 or future planned construction and tree-cutting was or will be on SFPUC land in the canyon. They were not notified of the project nor did they give consent to cut on SFPUC lands. We hopefully will know whether or not this occurred early next week.

I cannot make the protest in the canyon this weekend – I hope the turnout is good and thank you to everyone helping to keep the spotlight on this issue. Great turnout Wednesday, let’s get even more people to the evening meeting.

A pitch for money. Our lawyer is costing us $ regardless of whether we bring a legal challenge to phase 1. We also may end up challenging phase 2, and we could use any donations to the Alameda Creek Alliance to help us offset the costs of fighting this project.

Jeff Miller

***************************************

Jeff Miller
Director
Alameda Creek Alliance

Financial Support for the Public Initiative to Save Niles Canyon

Note from Save Niles Canyon:
So that your donation can be properly documented and be tax-deductible, we encourage you to donate to the Alameda Creek Alliance. You can mail your check to the alliance at P.O. Box 2626, Niles, CA 94536.
If you want to become a member of the alliance, their website is at http://www.alamedacreek.org/ go to the Join/Volunteer page. We suggest you make a note on any check, cover letter, or membership form that you are donating on behalf of the SNC effort. We appreciate your support in any way possible.

6 Responses to From Jeff Miller at the Alameda Creek Alliance, 3/11/2011:

  1. Marsha Squires says:

    Thank you for all the work you are doing to save Niles Canyon.

  2. caroline harris says:

    check this article http://www.thewatershedproject.org/post.php?postid=205
    Are Creeks Dangerous?
    Tragic Loss Raises Concerns About Channelization
    As the city of Walnut Creek mourns the loss of two vibrant, happy teenagers, residents look to the source of the tragedy: creek channelization. How can we make creeks a safer place?

  3. Kathleen Nava says:

    I am willing to donate monies to help with the lawyer fees incurred; this canyon project must be halted. Please let us know how we can help.
    My sons will be creating posters to put up around areas in Fremont and Pleasanton to help bring attention to this project.
    Thank you for your dedication!
    Sincerely,
    Kathleen Nava

    • Kimberly says:

      Many thanks, Kathleen. We’re sharing the legal expense of defending the canyon from Caltrans with the Alameda Creek Alliance. If you would like to help, please make a check out the the Alameda Creek Alliance, and send it to P. O. Box 2626, Niles, CA 94536 (note in the corner that your contribution is to stop Caltrans). Since the A.C.A. is a 501(c) organization, your contribution will be tax deductible. Our little grassroots organization (Save Niles Canyon) is too young to have 501(c) status yet.

  4. Chasidy says:

    Great details! I have been seeking for something similar to this for some time finally. Thank you!

  5. Candy Richards says:

    Does any one know how to publicly flog Caltrans for squandering public funds on projects that don’t benefit the public? There doesn’t seem to be any change of vision to adapt to our shrinking environment and funding. Without a change of leadership there, or in the organizations that drive them, the public can only hope to delay, but not fundamentally alter their process. It’s so frustrating that while there’s a lot of rhetoric, there’s no real recognition that we have to re-do public administration.

    Caltrans is also grinding along with plans to extend Hwy 84 (called the East-West connector) between Highway 238 ( Mission Blvd.) and the Route 880/84 interchange in Fremont. The price tag is greater than $200,000,000. The Niles Canyon widening and this project are somewhat related in that they “build capacity” in the same area.

    I noted on this site that the city of Fremont is against the Niles Canyon widening. The Fremont city council unanimously voted for the Hwy 84 extention in 2009, despite a roomful of angry citizens eloquently presenting nearly unanimous opposition to it. The council members smilingly stated that “we must increase capacity”, when repeatedly presenters explained quite logically why this effort would not increase capacity at all, and would misuse hundreds of millions of dollars that could surely be spent on something that actually benefitted the city.

    Maybe those organized against the expansion can join forces with Save Niles Canyon.

    I’ve worked with neighborhood groups on trying to stop this kind of waste and would seriously like to contribute to stopping the destruction of the one part of my daily commute that actually makes me happy.

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