(KRON) — For anyone who travels westbound on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge at rush-hour, the glut of traffic means no one is getting anywhere fast. In addition to slow commutes, gridlocked cars send pollution into Richmond.
Assemblymember Damon Connolly said, “For too long, traffic congestion on the bridge has disproportionately impacted working families by releasing harmful pollutants into the air and backing up traffic that pours into residential neighborhoods.”
According to the Richmond Air Monitoring Network, during morning rush hour, pollution levels spike and expose residents near the bridge to dangerous pollutants.
At Monday’s news conference, several Bay Area lawmakers called on CalTrans and regional transportation officials to spend $210 million raised through a regional transportation measure to solve the problem. Lawmakers are calling for a third westbound lane to be added during the morning commute, as well as moving a bike lane to the lower deck during those hours.
Richmond City Council member Cesar Zepeda said, “We have to make sure that we fix the route so that the people that live right next to the freeway are not affected. That the kids don’t have to live with asthma.”
But transportation officials say, unless significant improvements are done on the Marin side where traffic exits, opening up a third westbound lane would likely solve one problem and create another.
John Goodwin of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said, “Absent the construction of a series of improvements identified by the Transportation Authority of Marin, what is very likely to happen is the congestion would be reduced on the Richmond side, and just relocated to the Marin side, with no net benefit to the traveler.”
A study of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge corridor is underway and is slated to be released next summer.