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. Home 

Mary Avenue Wiki

MAE -- The Project and EIR's in General Comments about the EIR Comments about the MAEP City Council Meeting 10/28/08 and start of Litigation The Litigation Continued (Under Construction)

MARY AVENUE -- THE PROJECT and Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) In General

Project Description Provided by the City of Sunnyvale as part of the MAEP Environmental Scoping Meeting of Feb 21, 2007 Project Description provided by Dave Whittum as part of his comment in 09/07 A history of the MAE project written by Eleanor Hansen and Tammy Salans. Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) In General

The older History 1983-1991

The newer History 2007-2009


[This part largely written and edited by Tammy Salans]

Many of us first learned of the City’s intent to build a flyover bridge between Mary Avenue and Moffett (Business) Park from an article in THE SUN in March of 2007.  The bridge would directly link a local north-south street to the Moffett Towers area (near Lockheed), bypassing all highways.  The traffic increased by commuters taking this through-city route would inflict a safety and health threat to the more than 200 residences whose driveways empty directly on to Mary Avenue and to the school children that walk and bike to the many schools in the area.

The article was duplicated and hand-carried to homes along the Mary Avenue corridor. This drew a crowd of 55-70 people--representing 33 households--to the home of a resident along this busy street.  It was at this first meeting the project was introduced and its history explained to the astounded crowd who had no previous knowledge of this intent by the City.

That night it was decided by leaders in the community to form a neighborhood association, Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association (SWNA).  The boundaries extend from Maude south to Homestead and from Mathilda east to the western border of Sunnyvale (close to Highway 85).

The association began having monthly meetings to inform neighbors about the MAEP (bridge). Volunteers walked the neighborhoods dropping off flyers announcing upcoming city meetings on the project, gathering signatures, and talking with residents about the impact of the bridge in their neighborhood.

The group met for almost 2 years on the first and third Mondays of each month to study the intricacies of the Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report). The idea was to register enough input to the City Staff before its deadline.

During the interim between the DRAFT EIR and the FINAL EIR, the City hosted 4 public meetings called by Jack Witthaus, Sunnyvale’s Transportation and Traffic Manager (July 2007 timeframe). Meetings were very well attended, especially in the Washington Park area, at which there were about 100 gathered, a huge assembly for such a local community function. After those 4 meetings, Jack Witthaus conducted a public deposition meeting where many of the Sunnyvale residents spoke against the MAEP. This meeting was recorded and is part of the public record.

Early in the process, SWNA sent out a bulk mailing to about 1,000 participants who had signed the petitions opposing the proposed bridge, bringing citizens up to date and asking them to fill the City Council Chambers to speak up against the planned bridge.  Residents turned out en masse and surprised the City Council that there was such widespread interest in the MAEP.

In February 2008, the City Council approved additional funds to study the alternatives briefly outlined in the DRAFT EIR.  Again, Sunnyvale residents spoke up against the spending of more money on a project they considered already a huge waste of dollars. When SWNA leaders asked to see how the additional money was spent on spelling out the alternatives to the Mary Avenue Bridge, they were told the requests needed to be submitted formally, which we are now in the process of forwarding this paperwork to the city. 

The city hired a consultant to ‘peer’ review the Draft EIR.  When Planning Commissioner Diane McKenna asked to see the peer reviewer’s analysis prior to the Draft EIR’s being voted on by that committee, the city declared the letter confidential and would not release it at the time.  It has since been made part of the public record along with the responses from the city stating why the commissioner’s many concerns about the Draft EIR were unfounded.

A second group of City-sponsored meetings was held after the FINAL EIR was published, in which attendance was spurred by emails and flyers delivered to neighboring houses along the Mary Avenue corridor.  Many outstanding citizens were in attendance, including Dave Cortese (candidate to be County of Santa Clara Supervisor for part of Sunnyvale), Dean Chu (VTA member) and others, who spoke out against the MAEP.

After alerting residents that the City Council was going to vote on the Final EIR and the MAEP on October 28, 2008, neighbors again packed the City Council Chamber and voiced their opposition to both the EIR and the project.  Many had written to the council of their objections to the project, but at the roll-call, the City Council voted 5-2 in favor of the EIR and the MAEP.  {This ends the part nearly totally written by Tammy Salans}

As part of the process of the preparing for the City Council vote, the Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association hired a well-known, seasoned environmental attorney to write a comment letter. This was important because the City cannot be sued to de-certify an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) except with respect to those problems with the EIR that were pointed out to it prior its vote. Attorney Alexander Henson's letter was delivered the end of the week prior to the City Council vote.  As noted above, the City Council voted 5-2 to certify the EIR despite all efforts including many good comments by residents and by Attorney Henson, and then to approve the project.

One of the amazing things about the City Council hearing on October 28, 2008, was that members of the City Council, after certifying an EIR that said that a four-lane bridge is more environmentally sensitive than a two-lane bridge, said that the staff should consider whether the bridge could not be a two-lane bridge after all.  

For an additional article on the City Council meeting of October 28, 2008, you can read Jeannette Tan Hayden's e-mail to the City Council of October 30, 2008 under the section City Council Meeting and the start of Litigation. 

Thus ended the {first part of the} likely to be lengthy battle against City Hall and the EIR, considered by many to be poorly written because of its weird conclusions and it did not conform to California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. Although the leadership of the Mary Avenue Bridge opponents was so disappointed over the City Council’s vote promoting what the leaders considered a badly written EIR, they were capable of making the decision to hire the Attorney Henson to file a suit to decertify the MAEP EIR. This was done by the prescribed time, 30 days of the City Council decision.

Information about the project and, EIRs and other facets of this subject will be discussed on other pages.  


Project Description Provided by the City of Sunnyvale Project Description provided by Dave Whittum as part of his comment in 09/07 A history of the MAE project written by Eleanor Hansen and Tammy Salans.

The older History 1983-1991

The newer History 2007-2009