Proposal to Remove the Winfield Bridge from the General Plan
by Bob Boydston, AVCA Past President

By a vote of five to one, the AVCA Board opposes the removal of this bridge from the General Plan.

The Winfield Bridge has been in the plan since the 1960's.  In addition to the Bridge, the plan includes the widening of Winfield to a four-lane arterial and the widening of McAbee to a four lane collector.  A collector services the local neighborhood;  an arterial represents a through street for traffic that is not local.

In the early 1990s, funding became available from Federal Sources.  In 1994 the city proposed to build the bridge and expand Winfield.  The city received objections from the Almaden Hills Estates Homeowners, and the project was revised to include a new traffic signal at the Winfield/Cross Springs Drive intersection along with a soundwall and shrubbery.  In April, 1995, it was decided that an EIR would be required; however, at the request of the District 10 Office, the project was postponed and has remained so.

An examination of the Draft Environmental Impact Report, DEIR, indicates that the Bridge reduces traffic on the Almaden Expressway from Coleman south to McAbee by 24%.  That traffic is 142% of road capacity according to the DEIR.  With the Bridge, the volume is reduced to 14% over capacity.  Also, the congestion at the two left turn lanes on Coleman turning south onto Almaden will be reduced by the traffic using Winfield instead.  These were the principal reasons for the AVCA Board vote opposing the removal of the Bridge from the plan.

People who support the removal object to additional traffic on the East side of the Lake Almaden Park.  However, the Almaden Expressway is on the West side of the park, and Coleman is on the North side of the park.  Both of these arterials contain much more traffic than Winfield will have, and a Winfield Bridge will reduce traffic on the other arterials.

It is also suggested that the money to be spent on the Bridge be used to widen the Almaden Expressway instead.  The Almaden Expressway is owned by the County;  Winfield is owned by the City.  A transfer of funds between the two parties is not considered to be feasible.  Also, it has been pointed out that new construction is cheaper than modifying existing structures.

It is difficult to understand the need to widen McAbee to four lanes in the existing plan.  Traffic diverted from Coleman rejoins the Almaden Expressway at the McAbee/Almaden intersection.  There should be no increase of traffic on McAbee.  By maintaining McAbee as it presently is, as a two-lane collector, much of the opposition to the Bridge is removed.

Also, because the traffic south of McAbee on Almaden is unchanged by the construction of the Winfield Bridge, there should be no change in the congestion at Redmond and Camden.  It would better to use County funds, if available, to widen the Almaden Expressway south of Redmond to six lanes from the present four.  The Camden Interchange is approaching a Level of Service F, the lowest.  To appreciate the feel of a LOS F interchange, try the Almaden/Blossom Hill Interchange.  But improvement at Camden is another story for another time.

AVCAs position is to favor the construction of the Winfield Bridge along with Winfield expansion, but not to increase the width of McAbee.