Comments on EIR:
Comments about MAEP
MaryAve.com is your most complete source of information on the City of Sunnyvale, CA, proposed Mary Avenue Extension (MAE) (Bridge, Overpass, whatever), its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the litigation seeking to decertify the EIR.
COMMENTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR)
To: Sunnyvale City
Council, Sunnyvale Planning Department
From: Glenn Hendricks
843 Trenton Drive
Voter, Tax Payer, Involved Member of the Community)
am a member of the Sunnyvale Personnel Board. These comments are being made as
an individual resident and do not reflect any connection or consideration
with the Personnel Board.
following are comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Mary
Avenue Extension - SCH# 2007022024 — August 2007.
comments represent not just me but several homeowners and voters who live in
the City of Sunnyvale. I will refer to our comments as
"the Group". The Groups
comments are to address the DEIR at the macro level. These comments break down.
into four major topics.
1) Objectives of the project Section 1.1.2, page 15 states:
What is causing this
deteriorization at the intersections? Could this be managed by other planning and land use decisions? Is the new traffic
being caused by increased use of existing residential and office
space or because of new construction? This question is never clearly
answered in the DEIR.
1.3, page 27 states:
are the specific congestion issues that are adjacent to Mary Avenue? These are
never addressed in the DEIR.
18.104.22.168, page 31 states:
Section 6.1. page 93
Are there any other
descriptions for the objectives or success criteria for this project? These
objectives seem to be missing something. It may be obvious but shouldn't the objectives
also include language like "without negatively affecting the existing neighborhoods
or quality of life for the current and future residents of the City"?
The Group believes this is one of the main points of resistance to this project. Many residents believe they are being asked to carry the burden of improving regional traffic issues and expanding office development in Moffett Park while reducing the quality of life in the City's neighborhoods. We need a better definition of success criteria for this project that is vetted with the residents before a determination can be made about this project.
we have success criteria that has at least been reviewed with the community,
the different constituent groups will never been able to have common ground
to evaluate any proposed solution. Right now multiple solutions are being
proposed and we are all looking to see which answer sticks best. With no
definition of "best"; is it what is best for Sunnyvale
residents, Moffett Park office space dwellers, or regional traffic planners? This
question must be resolved before going forward with evaluating this plan.
confusion point in the document is the term "Project Alignment". The
DEIR skips back and forth between talking about what will happen within or next
to the specific project area (the actual overpass connection
between Mary Ave and Eleventh Ave) and discussing City wide/Regional issues.
Prior to the final version, the DEIR should be restructured to clarify
Alignment and regional issues and deal with them as distinct
and separate issues.
DEIR. tends to focus on the mitigation efforts around the Project Alignment
and the benefits to the Region. It does not address the negative impacts to
the neighborhood and community qnality of life for the residents of Sunnyvale.
The DEIR. only speaks to theoretical average traffic growth at a limited number of
intersections in the City. The DEIR needs a "resident quality of
If the DEIR is not the correct part of the overall approval process to
address these community quality of life concerns, where is the appropriate
step in the process to address these? The
community is looking for leadership from the City government to help
direct us to the appropriate forum. (Interesting note: I asked this question
in the Study
Session with the Planning Commission on September 24 on this topic. The only answer
I received from City representatives was to ask this question in my comments
to the DEIR). The
Group is very concerned that there is not an appropriate forum in the process
to get the quality of life concerns addressed.
Group has chosen to live in Sunnyvale because of the quality of life we can experience
in our community. We do not feel the City of Sunnyvale quality of life should
be negatively impacted so that "regional operational deficiencies can be
Topic 2) Actual Impact to the
Community Section 1.1.2, page 15 states:
Mary Avenue over pass is only mentioned once in the Land Use and
of the General Plan. On page 154 – R1.6: it states "to preserve the
the amount of times the General Plan is referred to as the rational for this
project, there are frighteningly few words to describe the need or rational
for this project. (The Mary
Ave over pass does show on several of the diagrams). Given the lack of information
about this project in the current version of the General Plan, the references
to the General Plan as the rational for
this project should be removed from the DEIR. Or the importance of the
General Plan references should be reduced in the DEIR.
the Moffett Park Area a viable property for development without the proposed
If yes, then the Mary Ave Extension is not required and
this assumption is not
a valid argument for its construction.
If no, then has any promise or commitment (written or
verbal) been made to the developers or companies that the Mary Ave. Extension
will be built? In the absence of any prior commitment for the Mary Ave.
Extension being built, this assumption is not a valid argument for its construction.
If a commitment has been made, this should be added to the public record. Who
made the commitment and when?
developers and current companies in the Moffett Park Area made decisions to
build and operate their businesses in this area with the clear knowledge of the
positive or negative
transportation aspects of this property. The Group has heard previous declarations
about the viability of development in the Moffett Park Area because of its easy
access to transportation. (101, 237, 85, Light Rail) Has something changed in
all of this that now reduces the benefits of developing this land or
increases the negatives?
does all this affect the communities of the City of Sunnyvale? The impact area
of this project is much larger than
just the Project Alignment area. Section 22.214.171.124 and forward
talks about the inter-linking effect of
this project with the City. The DEIR states there is a regional impact to this project. It will affect
the entire area bounded by Homestead, Bernardo/85, Lawrence Express Way and
101/237. All traffic patterns in this area will be impacted. The DEIR does not
appear to adequately define or measure the impact in this entire area. This should be corrected before the final
version of the document is submitted.
2.0-1 Existing Transportation Network and Study Intersections also highlights
the fact the impact
area of this project is greater than the Project Alignment Area.
can also see by the comments extracted from the DER the impact area is much larger
than the Project Alignment Area. It is also likely to induce additional growth
because of this
3.2, Page 88 states:
The project is located within an
urbanized area of Santa Clara County, and its construction will not open additional areas to
The proposed project will likely have an indirect growth-inducing effect since it increases the capacity of the area's transportation network. To the extent that the provision of an adequate transportation network is essential to growth, the lack of such capacity is a constraint to growth. Therefore, the project would remove one potential constraint to growth.
This is an
inconsistency in the DE1R. It some sections it assumes no new growth from this
project and some sections assumes there will be growth due to this project.
Assuming there will be new traffic growth in
the City is probably a more realistic assumption. All the
traffic numbers and patterns should be re-done using this assumption before
the final version of the DR.
126.96.36.199, Page 47 & 48 states:
is the combined effect of these traffic pattern changes that will negatively
affect the quality of life for residents of the City and the neighborhood
communities. Per the DER, traffic is going to be re-distributed across
the City. The DEIR tries to state that the effects of
this re-distribution will be negligible or nonexistent. The Group disagrees
with this assertion.
2.0-6 – 2020 Average Daily Trips Comparison shows greater growth in City traffic.
There is a significant inconsistency in two of the line items in this chart.
The "South of
El Camino" and the "North of Fremont" line items show different
projected growth patterns, yet they appear to be referring to the same section
of Mary Avenue. This same inconsistency also exists in Table 20.0-1 Existing
Average Daily Trips.
In only one area of
the DEW does it mention actual "field observations". The Group feels
this is another disconnect between the DEIR
and the residents views about the impact of this project on the quality of life and the City. The residents make daily
"field observations" and
are not solely relying on mathematical models. There is a big disconnect
between the reality of life on the "Streets of Sunnyvale" and the
theoretical models used in the DEIR. This should be corrected for the
final version of the E1R.
3) NASA Impact
recent announcement by NASA about Goggle flights and their intention to build
1 million square feet of office space was not included in the DEIR. The
Mary Avenue overpass does not feed
directly into the NASA side of the Moffett development area, but building
a large amount of office space in the NASA area would have a huge impact to the
traffic use of the overpass. Assumptions for traffic gowth
by the building on NASA land should be included in the traffic models for
this project before the final version is published.
4) City Residents verses developer needs
only mention of residents in the DEW is on Page 14 – Known Views of Local Groups
and Areas of Controversy. It mentions a little known meeting on Feb 21, 2007. Again, the Group does not see anything
in the DEER to ensure the community quality of life is not negatively impacted. The
DEIR spends more time describing and documenting the
potential short-term impact on Burrowing Owl, Nesting Raptors and construction
related noise than it does to the long-term impact to the residents and the
communities within the City. The Mary Ave
Extension, if it is approved, will be in place and affect the City for
decades to come. (Please don't get me wrong, I am all for protecting the environment and small woodlands creatures). But, I am just as concerned
about protecting the well-being of the residents of the City.
note about mitigation steps: If the mitigation. steps in MM BIO – 1.1 and MM
BIO – 2.1 are completely followed you cannot construct this project. These
two mitigation steps close the entire year to construction because of the
non-overlapping breeding seasons of both the Burrowing Owl and Nesting
Group feels that a better assessment of the impact to the residents,
neighborhoods, communities and the City needs to be undertaken before a
decision on this project can be evaluated.
will have far reaching impacts to the entire City and as such warrants
better review of the potential benefits verses the probable negative impact to
quality of life for the voting, tax
paying residents that have invested in living in this wonderful place
we all call home, Sunnyvale.
If the DEIR is not the
appropriate place to have this better review, can you please communicate
the appropriate step in the process where this review will take place and how
the residents and community can effectively participate? Currently, residents do
not feel their quality of life concerns are being heard, let alone
does there appear to be a sense of urgency for this project now? This potential transportation
concern was formally identified in 1972, Thirty-Five years ago.
Summary – Call for Action
Quality of life concerns have not been addressed in the
DEIR. Is there a more appropriate
place for them to be addressed before a decision is evaluated?
It is an open question if the Moffett Park Area requires
the Mary Ave. Extension to be developed. There is no doubt the Moffett Park
developers and regional traffic
planners would prefer the project.
NASA building development concepts need to be included in
the models for this project.
The reason for
urgency to move forward on this project is unclear.
these reasons, the Group requests that the Mary Avenue Extension project be
placed on hold until
an appropriate assessment can be made of the practical impacts to the quality of
life for residents of the City.