Traffic Impact by Numbers

Chart by Eugenie Thomson

Development projects in Alameda have caused some members of the community to lose trust in City Hall. They fear that the city has omitted key land-use, as well as traffic and parking facts, from its documents and presented implausible results.

The 2014 Alameda Point environmental impact report (EIR) included a citywide traffic study taking the areas of Oakland along the estuary into account. The city has plugged this study into every recent project. It shows that the "Alameda Point project" with 1,425 new homes and approximately 9,000 more jobs, would only increase traffic by one car during the morning peak rush hour at all estuary crossings combined.

It also shows peak morning rush-hour volume of 2,681 vehicles per hour into the Posey tube for 2035, after all the developments are built; less than the volume since the Naval Air Station closed in 1997.

The table that accompanies this article uses figures taken from the EIR. It shows outbound vehicles per hour during the morning rush hour today and for 2035. The numbers in column one show today’s traffic volume. The numbers in column two show expected patterns for Alameda Point with no development. The figures in column three show the projected numbers with development at Alameda Point in the mix.

Column four numbers show the net difference in volume: an increase of eight vehicles per hour in the Posey Tube and 10 on Bay Farm Bridge, along with a decrease in the number of vehicles per hour on the Park Street, Miller-Sweeney (Fruitvale) and High Street bridges.

The EIR projects a net increase of one vehicle per hour through all gateways with the Alameda Point project in place.

Approving this EIR was critically important to Alameda’s future. Projects at the Point will have a direct personal effect on every resident, impacting the traffic they must navigate daily through their neighborhoods.

Many questions remain unanswered, however. A transportation plan should first define the problems that the plan intends to resolve. A go-slow approach and limits must be set to stop development if congestion cannot be reduced.

The City Council must look at the plain facts in the EIR and perform a reality-based traffic study before any new development at Alameda Point. Council members must employ a process that places residents squarely at the center of the debate; one that that recognizes that the very purpose of city government is to respond to the concerns of its residents; and one that emphasizes the public in the term "public servant." Plain talk is where truth resides.

Last year’s Alameda Point EIR last year came to an implausible conclusion. City leaders must hear from Alameda residents on this issue; preferably before the March 10 City Council meeting.

Eugenie P. Thomson lives in Alameda. She is a professional engineer, licensed as both a civil and traffic engineer.



Traffic Impact by Numbers written by Eugenie Thomson laid out the facts and the numbers speak for themselves. Ms. Thomson reported that, according to the environmental impact report, adding 1,425 homes and 9,000 jobs would only have a net increase of one car for all of our outbound traffic during the morning rush hour. This is so far out of touch with reality that any rational person would want an investigation into the finances of those who wrote the report and find out what their relationships were to the developers. Elected official should be driven from office if they unquestioningly accepted such a report and used it as evidence that Alameda's unbridled development will not negatively impact traffic. This is why Mayor Gilmore and Councilmember Chen were driven from office and why nearly two-thirds of Alameda's voters preferred non-Alamedans rather than Alameda Councilmember Lena Tam for the BART board.

Councilmembers Ashcraft and Daysog, who will be running for re-election in 20 months, should be cognizant of the fact that there is nearly universal disbelief that these numbers represent reality. Large dark glasses did not conceal the fact that Councilmember Ashcraft wept during Mayor Gilmore's concession speech. I wish Councilmember Ashcraft would show as much compassion for Alamedans who have to commute off the island for work. Ashcraft needs to stop representing corporate developers and start representing the working citizens of Alameda.

Thank you Eugenie Thomson for writing this article and for your dispassionate representation of the facts, they speak for themselves.