by Adrianna Gardner
Concerned citizens of La Verne showed up at Monday’s city council meeting to demand help in resolving the ongoing Foothill Freeway noise issue.
Noise from the extension – which was completed in late 2002 and runs parallel to Baseline Road through La Verne – has lowered their quality of life and lessened their property values, residents told Council members Monday.
A March 2003 evaluation of the highway’s impact on homes indicates two out of nine La Verne locations, where noise was measured for 24 hours, exceeded federal thresholds, said Bill Lawson, associate for Urban Crossroads, Inc. and noise control consultant who spoke at the meeting.
“Would you like to come into my backyard and have a conversation with me?” one resident asked.
Similar frustrations were expressed by a dozen of the 36 residents contacted about the evening’s “unofficial public hearing.”
Speakers told stories of broken water pipes, rat infestations, cracked ceilings and driveways drenched in soot from the freeway’s dust and vehicle pollutants.
Donald Marrolli, a resident of Beaver Way – a street close to the freeway extension – is one of many taking these issues to court with complaints against both the city and Caltrans.
Contrary to what citizens thought they had agreed to, sections, like the one near Beaver Way, run above ground level.
Caltrans has yet to report its findings on options for noise abatement.
Meanwhile Mayor Jon Blickenstaff sought to mitigate the frustrations of the citizens by seeking temporary solutions to the noise problem.
Proposals Monday evening ranged from a call for city ordinances, resurfacing the pavement with “open-graded asphalt concrete” or “rubberized asphalt” to help lower the level of noise.
City council members suggested double-paned windows and increased vegetation along the sound walls to reduce soot issues.
“What’s next,” said Blickenstaff in hopes to come to a resolution for the many of to a resolution for the many of residents, who now find their homes unbearable to live in.
“You might as well be in prison,” Marrolli said.
City residents questioned the amount of involvement they had during construction of the freeway.
Studies believe that Caltrans followed federal and state standards for noise control, yet didn’t make “every reasonable effort” to seek materials to reduce noise.
The City Council will continue to monitor the situation while some residents seek attorneys to make the state rectify their property and provide monetary compensation to help them move out.