Per Court Order, Sunnyvale City Council Decertifies Mary Avenue Extension Project

By Alia Wilson, Sunnyvale Sun Posted 06/29/2011

As ordered by the Superior Court, the Sunnyvale City Council decertified the Mary Avenue Extension Project environmental impact report and project approval Tuesday night, three years after it was originally approved.

The action followed a lawsuit filed by the Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association in 2008 that contested the approval and adequacy of the EIR. The project was for a proposed bridge at the north end of Mary Avenue at Almanor Avenue. The bridge to the Moffett Business Park was designed to allegedly mitigate part of the traffic effects of the Moffett Towers.

The main issue in the lawsuit was that the use of General Plan 2020 build-out traffic numbers as a baseline–instead of current conditions–to compare the effects of building the bridge was not permitted by the California Environmental Quality Act.

The Superior Court granted the petition on Nov. 5, 2009, on the grounds that
the “baseline” used for analysis of impacts and alternatives was incorrect. The
city appealed to the 6th District Court of Appeal, but the appeals court
affirmed the Superior Court decision.

Once the city council voted to follow the court order, members agreed to appropriate $3.7 million of grant funding from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Local Streets and County Roads Program to the Mary Avenue Extension Project for purposes of funding the EIR revision and additional engineering and project development work.

Council members also voted to explore possible alternative uses for the bridge, such as restricting cars and allowing only bicycle and buses to help mitigate traffic, as recommended by some Sunnyvale residents. The alternatives will be included in the revision; however, if the council were to pursue any of them in place of the original project proposal, an additional EIR would need to be conducted for that project.

City staff anticipates that revision of the EIR will cost approximately $150,000, with the rest of the funding available for project design.


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