Rockridge Soundwalls

Approval process: Summary

- The Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC), which administered the approval process for the previously proposed soundwalls in Alameda County, is not doing so for the currently proposed projects. The City of Oakland never initiated ACTC's formal approval process, despite years of public statements by the City and proponents of soundwalls that ACTC was involved.

- One of the proposed soundwalls failed ACTC approval in 2006 due to lack of community support.

- The City of Oakland created its own soundwall study approval policy which was never published; comments from the general public were not solicited; and the Oakland City Council was not consulted.

- The City then kept changing this policy, apparently with the goal of making it easier and easier for the soundwall studies to be approved. Documents released in April, 2014 confirm this.

- The approval process was largely in the hands of Oakland District 1 City Councilmember Jane Brunner, who termed out after running unsuccessfully for City Attorney in the November, 2012 election. District 1 is where the proposed soundwalls would be located.

- Councilmember Brunner accepted contributions for her City Attorney campaign from craft unions, contractors, and a building supply company, which could benefit from local construction projects such as soundwalls.

- 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, apparently at the behest of Councilmember Brunner.

- Mr. Wlassowsky also sent a letter to 481 property owners near Highway 24 to notify them that according to the State Route 24 Oakland, CA Pre-NBSSR Noise Study Final Report December 2009, they would experience at least a 5 decibel reduction in noise if the soundwalls were built. However, only 133 of these properties would actually see at least a 5 decibel reduction in noise.

- The Rockridge News (RN) is published by the Rockridge Community Planning Council (RCPC), which is a member of the Fourth Bore Coalition. Despite the RCPC Board's neutral position on approval of the soundwall studies - neither pro nor con - the RN has consistently printed only pro-soundwall information. The paper has refused to publish any information critical of either the soundwalls or their approval process. And the RN has repeatedly printing incorrect information about that process, without subsequently explaining why or making retractions.

For the full story of how the proponents of soundwalls tried to "stack the deck", read onů