Friday, November 10, 2017

Bottoms Quarry project EIR proposes narrowing Seacliff Drive lanes to 11 feet

   POINT RICHMOND - A public hearing Thursday on the proposed Bottoms Quarry residential project on Seacliff Drive is expected to include testimony from a number of citizens concerned about traffic issues - the same traffic issues that have come up in nearly every review of the proposal.
     Thursday's hearing will be conducted by the Richmond Planning Commission beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond.
     The public hearing is to take comments about a draft environmental impact report completed in early October. LINK: DRAFT EIR FOR QUARRY PROJECT.
    The 200-unit project, proposed by New West Development of Las Vegas, has been under discussion since last spring. Originally the developer sought to build 270-units.
     At meetings of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council and the Richmond Design Review Board, the strongest comments focused around citizens' concerns about the safety of Seacliff Drive.
     "It was originally a fire road, then an EVA access road and then - without further engineering to accommodate community traffic - it morphed into a full service access road to the Cove Community,"  Jeff Vines, a member of the Brickyard Cove Alliance for Responsible Development told the Richmond DRB Sept. 13.
     "Seacliff Drive is categorically unsafe in its current configuration," he testified.
Bottoms Quarry condo project off Seacliff Drive in Point Richmond
     BCARD and a number of other members of the public testified at the DRB that the road needs major repairs - and quite likely a complete re-engineering - whether the Bottoms Quarry project moves ahead or not.
     But in the draft EIR up for discussion Thursday, the report recommends shrinking the existing traffic lanes in an effort slow traffic.  The EIR says the lanes will be 11 feet wide with three-foot shoulders on either side of the road. (See "Seacliff Drive Safety Improvements" below.)
     BCARD has labeled that particular recommendation as "preposterous."
     Other citizen safety recommendations - including one to install a left turn lane into the proposed project's only entrance - are not among the draft EIR recommendations.
   The EIR says that signs - including a warning of curves ahead and indicating a 25-mph speed limit - are adequate.
     BCARD is urging residents to attend the public hearing and voice their opinions about what the draft EIR recommends.
     "BCARD is requesting that there be a large group of residents in attendance and willing to speak," the group said in a public notice. "The City and the developer need to understand that without appropriate changes to Seacliff Drive, the community will continue to strongly oppose the plan as proposed."
     The full draft Environmental Impact Report for the 6.3 acre project can be read here: QUARRY EIR. The transportation section begins on page 404. BCARD representatives suggested in their announcement of the public hearing that residents be sure to read pages 436-440.
     Questions about the project or the draft EIR can also be directed to city planner Lina Velasco via email at this address: LINA VELASCO or by telephone at 510-620-6841.

Proposed Safety Improvements (in the draft EIR)

From the DRAFT EIR - Page 2-20

By Michael J. Fitzgerald