Approval process: History
When www.RockridgeSoundwalls.org first went "live" in August, 2011, the soundwall approval process was easy to understand: the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) publishes its soundwall approval policy, and this policy was for several years publicized by the proponents of the proposed Highway 24 soundwalls as the "bible" for the process.
Since then, there were ongoing changes to the policy intended to be used by the City of Oakland to approve the proposed soundwall studies. The full story is told in History. To summarize:
The ACTC Policy was discarded, at least until approval of the actual construction was required. Wlad Wlassowsky, Transportation Division Services Manager, City of Oakland, made an "administrative decision" not to follow the ACTC Policy but instead to create a new and much less stringent soundwall study approval policy for the City. This new policy was never published, comments from the general public were not solicited, and the Oakland City Council was not consulted.
Initially, those eligible to sign soundwall approval petitions were to be 133 owners of properties that would see at least a 5 decibel reduction in freeway noise as a result of the soundwall being built. This would have been consistent with the ACTC policy. However, the City changed that by making 481 (and later 485) owners of properties eligible. Also changed: the percentage of signers needed for approval was sharply reduced. Documents released in April, 2014 show that the change in the approval policy occurred immediately after Stuart Flashman, the main organizer of pro-soundwall study petitions, e-mailed Victoria Eisen, the consultant coordinating Caldecott Tunnel Settlement Projects for the City of Oakland, asking for changes to the process. This had the effect of "stacking the deck" in favor of the approval of the soundwall studies. Despite this, there was an insufficient number of signatures on the soundwall study approval petitions and so the studies will not be funded.