A vocal opponent of a plan to decrease the number of car lanes on Marin Avenue has filed suit against Berkeley and Albany to stop the project.
But before he takes on both cities, he needs a lawyer to take the case and some co-plaintiffs to help pay the bills.
Raymond Chamberlin, who like many Berkeley hills residents relies on Marin Avenue as his quickest route to the flatlands and freeway, filed suit in superior court last month. He argues that the cities needed to perform a more extensive environmental review before reducing car lanes on the street.
Should Chamberlin obtain a lawyer, he might seek an injunction to stop the project currently scheduled to begin this summer.
“My main reason for doing this is that the proposal is so devious,” he said. “It doesn’t solve the problem of pedestrian safety. It’s just a bicycle boondoggle.”
In an effort to slow traffic on Marin Avenue and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, Berkeley and Albany approved a joint project to re-stripe the street from four lanes of traffic, to two lanes of traffic with a center turning land and two bicycle lanes. The avenue runs through both cities.
Chamberlin contends the cities relied on inadequate traffic surveys and made findings inconsistent with the surveys.
The Marin Avenue reconfiguration was wildly popular in Albany, but faced fierce resistance from many Berkeley residents who feared the project would divert traffic to their side-streets or slow their commute times.
Chamberlin said he believes he can sign up other opponents of the plan to the lawsuit, but not until he finds an attorney willing to take the case.
Without an attorney, Chamberlin said he might drop the case rather than bear the complete costs of the legal effort. Also, he added, as a Berkeley hills resident who doesn’t live in the immediate vicinity of the section of Marin Avenue affected by the plan, he doesn’t have as strong legal standing as residents who live on side-streets that could face traffic impacts.