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September 13, 2005 > Councilmember Anu Natarajan comments on Highway 84

Councilmember Anu Natarajan comments on Highway 84

TCV: What is your view of the current status of Highway 84?

Natarajan: The problem has been that we have focused on amounts and money - numbers out of thin air. Hopefully, with definition of the process and all interested parties involved, we can move back to talking about Union City's interests and go from there. We were not approving either Option 2 or the Historic Parkway, only suggesting that they move to the next step of doing an EIR (Environmental Impact Report).

TCV: But, the vote of the council on July 26th rejected any extension of Route 84 in Fremont, didn't it?

Natarajan: Correct. However, now we are asking for everyone to come to the table and talk about their interests. As far as I am concerned, Fremont should have four specific interests: 1) Having an east/west connector however we define it; 2) Fully funding I-880/Mission although this does not have to be connected to this project; 3) Relinquishment [by Caltrans] of existing Highway 84 in good repair meaning that a significant amount of improvement is done so city maintenance is minimal over the next significant number of years; and 4) Mitigate impacts of whatever is approved through the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) process to a level of non-significance.

TCV: Are you open to explore Highway 84 options?

Natarajan: As long as an east/west connector is a local road and we have control over the design and the EIR process, I am more comfortable looking at the options. For the most part, the Fremont city council has been reacting to things thrown at us by ACTA (Alameda County Transportation Authority) where we have no representation. Instead, if we are part of defining what the options are, you would get all the players on board. At some point, the Fremont city council should ask staff to work up all the details and come back to us with the issues. We have never given staff enough direction to go the next step.

TCV: Do you see a need for an east/west corridor?

Natarajan: Without a doubt. It needs to be defined. Would I like it to be a Caltrans road? Probably not; I would prefer it to be a local route especially since it will primarily carry local traffic.

TCV: Do you see any alternatives to using at least a portion of the Historic Parkway?

Natarajan: I would like to study making improvements to Isherwood Way and Decoto Road in addition to Option 2. I believe that anything that involves development in the other portion of the Historic Parkway will include local roads so you are getting connections although not designed for through traffic.

Decoto Road is a natural east/west connector and you have to make improvements to it: widening, signal coordination or whatever in the Fremont and Union City segment. Something needs to be done with Isherwood. If Union City builds its part of it [Highway 84] or even just the Intermodal Station, we cannot have two stop signs on Isherwood.

TCV: Would you reconsider a road along the entire Historic Parkway route?

Natarajan: The council might, but I do not think it is a great idea. When that idea was originally established, there was to be a Foothill Expressway along Mission Boulevard which has not happened. My concern is that if we build the Historic Parkway, we will not have the funds to complete it, let alone, I-880/Mission.

TCV: Do you believe that if Option 2 was selected there would still be money to complete the Mission/I-880 interchange?

Natarajan: Yes.

TCV: Is the debate over Highway 84 moving toward resolution?

Natarajan: What happened at our last meeting was a good step in moving the process forward. We need to get away from personality clashes and specific numbers and lay down our interests and see how we can get there.

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