Protest Charcot Overpass!
The City of San José plans to spend $54 million to dramatically widen the road (Silk Wood Lane) behind our school, extend it towards I-880 and build an overpass over the freeway to connect it to Charcot Avenue on the other side.
This will mean a smaller school, more traffic (potentially more than 20,000 vehicles a day), more pollution and more noise. It will separate the school from the neighborhood and put our children at risk.
Find more details in this presentation.
This currently quiet street will be widened to 3 lanes
with a traffic jam of more than 1000 cars per hour in the morning and the evening
A road that will harm our children's health!
The project also seems to contradict important City goals and there is no reason to believe it will help with traffic congestion in the area (Background Memo). We believe building a pedestrian and bike bridge instead would be a Win-Win for the City and our community. And there are a number of other alternatives that could replace or be prioritized over Charcot.
On August 27, 2019 the City published the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the project. Read our summary here. Unfortunately, the DEIR contained many errors and inaccuracies, which we pointed out to the City. The City has also failed to address the concerns over the Draft EIR raised by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), in a letter dated November 1, 2019.
On June 9th, 2020, about 50 members of the community spoke at the SJ City Council and asked the Council to take the health of our children into consideration. Mayor Liccardo, Councilmember Lan Diep as well as their colleagues Sergio Jimenez, Dev Davis, Chappie Jones and Johnny Khamis, nevertheless voted to approve the Environmental Report for the project and to move forward with a three-lane option (Alternative F, see picture below). Councilmembers Raul Peralez, Pam Foley and Magdalena Carrasco stood with us and voted against approving the project.
Draft of Alternative F, that was approved by City Council on June 9, 2020.
The project is now moving into its design phase. No construction contract has been awarded and the City also does not have the right-of-way necessary to build the overpass. There are still more votes to be cast and voices to be heard.
For a summary of media coverage and op-eds on the project see our media page.
What others are saying
"Furthermore, Air District staff recommends that the City strongly consider an alternative
project that would. not site a major roadway within 1/4 mile of a school. The DEIR considers eight
project alternatives, including options that would not require encroachment on the.Orchard
School campus. The DEIR should evaluate the potential health risk for each alternative, and the
Air District recommends that the City consider an alternative that would either not increase or
have the smallest possible increase on the exposure of sensitive receptors to air pollutants."
"In 2005, as a City of San Jose Councilmember, I opposed the Environmental Impact Report to the North SanJose Deficiency Plan, which includes the Charcot Avenue Extension Project . It was my belief then that the need for more time was necessary to assess and evaluate the impacts the plan would have to nearby schools.
As the City of San Jose considers its decision on the matter, please bear in mind the concerns of the parents and teachers over the safety of students walking to and from school. It is my belief that the Charcot Avenue Extension project should be re-assessed so we can continue to prioritize the safety of the local community.
The City of San Jose has an excellent opportunity to encourage commuters to reduce our vehicle miles
traveled (VMT) locally with BART soon coming to Milpitas and Berryessa. I am excited at the opportunity to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions locally. It is my hope that other viable alternatives are considered for this project as we work towards building a more eco-friendly environment for our community here in Santa Clara County."
"I believe that it is important to re-evaluate minor pieces of the North San José Area Development Plan in order to see if they still align with our overall goals and the needs of the community. I agree with the Orchard school community that the Charcot Extension and Overpass is a project that should be re-assessed.
I believe that the residents’ concerns are justified and I urge you to not approve this project and
seek an alternative solution to relieve congestion near Orchard School such as pedestrian
or bike overpass."
KANSEN CHU, Assemblymember for AD 25
"SVBC encourages the council to reexamine its priorities, particularly for projects, like Charcot, that increase car capacity to areas where it may not be needed.
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition believes society is at an inflection point where we should stop expanding roadways that have primarily benefitted wealthier car owners at the expense of residents who would suffer from increased pollution and greater risks of injury.
We are supportive of a bike and ped only bridge option in this area as it would provide many benefits to local residents. We realize this project has been in the various plans for multiple decades, but that does not mean it should continue forward. Just like San José took the bold step to stop planning for major expansions into Coyote Valley, it should plan for more sustainable means to move people instead of private automobiles going forward."
"Children should not be forced to risk injury or death crossing a chaotic 4 lane intersection
nor should they be forced to damage their lungs breathing the increased air pollution that
this project would bring in order to improve mobility of technology workers living in outlying
"Spending more than 50 million dollars to increase neighborhood congestion is not a good use of taxpayer money. Most importantly, the harm done to the students, staff and neighbors will be irreparable. The health and safety of the Orchard School community and the protection of our climate are more important than increasing the speed of cars.
Therefore, we respectfully request that the City take the concerns of the community under serious consideration and scrap this misguided project. The 50 million would be better spent on improving public transit and local air quality."
"In addition to GHG emissions, Orchard School K-8 students, 93% of whom are of color, who are so often the most exposed to pollution and subjected to environmental inequities, would in our opinion be hurt the most by the Charcot Project. Children, the elderly, people with existing diseases, and minority and low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to adverse health outcomes and economic impacts from exposure to air pollution."
What City representatives are saying themselves
"Eastbound traffic on the future four lane arterial will likely be traveling downhill at a high rate of speed approaching the [...] street crossing to the school site."
STEPHEN M. HAASE, Former Director
Planning, Building and Code Enforcement City of San José
"The applicant’s proposal to have the residential development and the park [at the school] separated by the future extension of Charcot Avenue is not supported by staff."
JAMES R. HELMER, Former Director of Transportation, City of San José
STEPHEN M. HAASE, Former Director Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, City of San José
"The proposed extension will provide little to no measurable travel time savings when considering the size of the proposed Charcot extension in relation to the overall roadway system in the project area and the projected development growth."
ZAHIR GULZADAH, Division Manager
City of San Jose, Department of Transportation
“The evaluation of 20-year [into the future] traffic demand projections is speculative and the design of roadway facilities to accommodate such demand may result in over design of roadways.”
1st Amendment to DEIR, Responses R.58 & BB.142
"There is a sea change happening in how we think about transportation in California. For so long, our planners focused on how we could move our cars faster; today we know we have to focus on how we can move people faster. It’s not just about roads and streets [...]. We also need to focus on how we can improve transit, shorten commute times by bringing more jobs to San Jose and making our neighborhoods safer for pedestrians and cyclists."
LAN DIEP, Councilmember for District 4
"“We know it’s a problem when we see much higher rates of asthma in low-income communities in the eastern part of my city where we know there are neighborhoods built closer to free-ways. We know it’s directly resulting from transportation, particularly automobiles. We know we have much farther to go. […] As I experience children who simply cannot engage in daily activities because of asthma, as I see premature deaths, particularly in low income communities, caused by this kind of air, it makes me furious.”
SAM LICCARDO, Mayor of San Jose
Don’t let the City bulldoze over our great school!
10 Reasons to be against the Charcot Project
New road dangerous to cross for children and parents walking to school.
Additional pollution harming the health of our children and making it more difficult to learn.
Additional noise harming our children and making it more difficult to learn.
Classrooms close to the road at risk from crashes and exposed to extreme noise.
Parking for drop-off and pick-up taken away.
Trees that protect from pollution and noise will be cut down.
Ballfield will shrink.
Playground structure will need to be torn down.
Additional traffic on Oakland Rd.
Noise walls going up will create an unsafe alley behind the school.