Casino Could Cause Gridlock

Published on: April 29, 2008 

Albany to Marin County could see a very nasty traffic problem is an Indian tribe gets the rights to build a casino ala Vegas in the unincorporated city of North Richmond. According to a report funded by Contra Costa and Marin counties in conjunction with a few smaller nearby cities, the traffic at forty-six different intersections along Interstate 80 between an Indian-run casino in San Pablo and the proposed Sugar Bowl Casino could cause serious gridlock conditions.  Six of the forty-six intersections received an ‘E’ or ‘F’ for traffic during what is considered peak traffic hours.

The proposed casino is supposed to be a 225,000 square feet complex located at the intersection of Richmond Parkway and Parr Boulevard.  If the casino is approved and built, the traffic at seventeen of the forty-six intersections will have an ‘E’ or ‘F’ rating by 2011 and forty-five will have the same rating by 2030.  Traffic has the potential to become an absolute nightmare if something isn’t done now.

Lisa Hammon, the executive director of the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee, can already see that the intersections will become overcrowded with this project simply based on the projections.  Another company, Dowling Associates who are based out of Oakland, agrees and feels that two more lanes on Richmond Parkway will to be added in order to accommodate the traffic flow.

Many members of the community as well as some of the county and urban casino opponents are hoping the report can be used to stop the casino from being built.  They want to take it to the federal level, but it may be too late as the Bureau of Indian affairs is actually finishing up the final environmental report to present to the government.  The report coming in from the Bureau of Indian Affairs is estimating a much lower traffic problem at the intersection and making the 219 member tribe only directly responsible for traffic on the nearby roadways.  The tribe would have to fund turning lanes and through lanes at six different spots along Richmond Parkway.

The study covers the area between the new Sugar Bowl Casino and the Lytton Casino in nearby San Pablo.  The Lytton hosts more 1,000 electronic bingo games and there is a possibility that the Sugar Bowl would help it double their profits by 2011.  A third casino at Point Molate is being considered which will also add to the traffic problem.  However, the three casinos combined would provide over 7,000 people in the area and will help boost the economy of a troubled area.

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