Tuesday, September 5, 2017
By Katie Nelson Rodolico
There has been a lot of misinformation about how building the Regents Road Bridge is bad for the environment. This is FALSE as born out in the city’s own data in their Final Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). In fact, the bridge solves several environmental problems.
Removing the bridge will make the air quality worse according to the city’s PEIR. Again the PEIR refers to the Air Quality degradation with the current roadway configuration as significant and unmitigated. The air quality issues associated with NOT building the bridge were so severe as to be a “violation of air quality standards”. (Page 509 of the PEIR)
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Idling Vehicles on Genesee Avenue
Removing the bridge from the plan would INCREASE greenhouse gas emissions. This puts the removal of the bridge in direct conflict with the city’s Climate Action Plan and the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. (Page 509 of the PEIR)
The Regents Road Bridge is part of the City’s Master Bicycle Plan. In fact the Regents Road Bridge completion is shown as a ‘high priority project’ for the Master Bicycle Plan (page 106 and 107 of the Master Bike Plan.) Removing the bridge was considered a significant and unmitigated environmental impact in PEIR. (See page 508 of the PEIR)
One of the mitigation strategies proposed included creating a “grade separation” under Governor Drive at Genesee. This would involve digging adjacent to four gas stations. Two of the gas stations are in active “Leaking Underground Storage Tank” status (LUST), and the other two stations were formerly in LUST status. Obviously this would involve disturbing/stirring up this toxic dirt adjacent to homes and schools and extensive bioremediation. This grade separation concept was proposed because the traffic, it’s associated greenhouse gas emissions, and public safety all were completely unacceptable without the bridge. (Page 909 of the PEIR)
A bridge spanning over the canyon will not permanently disturb the canyon. It will not pave the canyon. It will not stop the bikers from biking, the runners from running, the hikers from hiking, or the explorers from exploring. It provides a bike and pedestrian path for multi-modal transportation options. We all breathe the air and we all are effected by greenhouse gas emissions – including the wildlife in the canyon.
Let’s build the bridge!