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  BART to Nowhere?
May 7, 2013

Kudos to new BART Director Zakhary Mallett for advocating a BART extension north through Contra Costa County. But Mallett also appears to favor an extension north from El Cerrito del Norte that would leave the Richmond station as a dead end spur, probably with diminished service. Thanks to Richmond Planning Director Richard Mitchell for pointing this out and spreading the word.
My resolution on tonight’s City Council agenda supports Mallett’s advocacy for a BART extension, but only if it runs through Richmond. Currently, there are no spurs on BART, and we don’t want to see Richmond become the first. BART can still serve points north without leaving Richmond in the dust.
Actually, the study for this corridor was completed in 2009 and may be found at http://www.wcctac.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/FINAL-REPORT-wBART.pdf. It recommends an alignment that extends from the Richmond BART Station.
Tom Butt
Richmond Planning official gives thumbs-down to BART extension along I-80
By Tom Lochner Contra Costa Times
Posted:   05/06/2013 01:58:35 PM PDT
Updated:   05/07/2013 04:40:00 AM PDT


A Richmond official who also sits on the Hercules Planning Commission wants to put the kibosh on talk of extending BART north along Interstate 80, saying it would isolate and downgrade the downtown Richmond station.
"Please contact representatives at BART and express opposition to any discussion that would look at reducing the downtown Richmond station to a secondary status," Richard Mitchell, Richmond's director of Planning and Building Services, said in an April 5 interdepartmental correspondence draft addressed to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond.
The letter is attached to a report accompanying a proposed resolution before county supervisors on Tuesday that would support a study of a BART, or alternative rail extension, in West Contra Costa County, without specifying any alignment.
"We support extension of BART from the Richmond station only," Mitchell wrote.
The Richmond City Council, too, will vote Tuesday on a proposed resolution to support a BART study, but unlike the county's, Richmond's specifies "extension from the Richmond station as the preferred option."
BART Director Zakhary Mallett, whose District 7 covers most of West Contra Costa as well as parts of Alameda County and San Francisco, has suggested extending BART north from El Cerrito Del Norte to San Pablo, Richmond's Hilltop section, Pinole and Hercules. He is trying to drum up support from the county and the various West County cities for a study. The Pinole and San Pablo city councils have given their support.
"It is my hypothesis that an alignment along I-80 would be the most feasible," Mallett said Monday, "but we need to do a study to objectively determine which alignment will actually be the most feasible."
An I-80 alignment would offer commuters on the Bay Area's most congested freeway a convenient alternative, which an alignment away from the freeway would not, he said.
Citing a 2008 station profile study, he said about 40 percent of Richmond BART's ridership and 60 percent of El Cerrito Del Norte's ridership live in San Pablo, El Sobrante or communities north of Richmond.
In April, El Cerrito Del Norte logged an average of 8,741 daily "exits," a measure that approximates the number of round-trips -- more than double the 3,920 daily "exits" at Richmond BART, according to the Monthly Ridership Reports page on the BART website.
Mallett said that state and federal environmental regulations mandate that any BART study look at alternative alignments -- which would include proposed alignments through downtown Richmond.
Possible alignments for a BART extension proposed as far back as the 1980s have included the I-80 routing as well as several possible routes proceeding from downtown Richmond: along the Union Pacific, formerly Southern Pacific, railroad right of way along the San Pablo Bay shore to the Rodeo-Crockett area; via the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway right of way to the Pinole-Hercules area; or up Rumrill Boulevard through San Pablo near Contra Costa College, to Richmond Hilltop, and from there north to Hercules along I-80 beginning at Richmond Parkway.
A BART northward extension in West Contra Costa faces daunting political and funding challenges and could be many years away from breaking ground.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner.
if you go
What: Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
Where: County Administration Building, 651 Pine St., Room 107, Martinez
When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday

if you go
What: Richmond City Council
Where: 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Richmond City Council staff report and resolution
By Tom Lochner
Contra Costa Times

Posted:   05/06/2013 01:28:55 PM PDT
Updated:   05/06/2013 05:45:50 PM PDT


Below is the text of the agenda report accompanying a proposed resolution of the Richmond City Council that would support a BART study of a possible extension of service in West Contra Costa north of El Cerrito and Richmond.
City of Richmond
DATE: May 7, 2013
TO: Mayor McLaughlin and Members of the City Council
FROM: Councilmember Tom Butt
BART Director for District 7, Zakhary Mallett, is requesting that the Richmond City Council support a study to explore the extension of the wBART line to San Pablo, Richmond's Hilltop, Pinole and Hercules.
ADOPT a resolution in support of the proposed study of wBART: A BART or alternative rail extension in West Contra Costa County.
There is no financial impact related to this item at this time.
Zakhary Mallett, BART Director for District 7, requested that the City of Richmond City Council consider a resolution of support for the study of wBART. Thus far, the cities of San Pablo and Pinole have adopted similar resolutions and Mr. Mallett is seeking to garner the support of all of the West Contra Costa cities directly impacted by the wBART proposal.
Proposed wBART Study
The proposed wBART study would examine potential routes, terminals and the feasibility for extending BART north along the Interstate 80 corridor to San Pablo,
Richmond Hilltop, Pinole, and perhaps to Hercules and beyond. In the past few decades, BART has extended the line along every leg of service with the exception of
this wBART stretch. According to Mr. Mallett, if approved, the study would take approximately 18 months to conduct.
Justification for wBART: Provide needed public transportation to the local population and to reduce traffic congestion along I-80 corridor.
West Contra Costa County has the highest concentration of low-income and transit depend residents in Contra Costa County. Mr. Mallett cites the fact that approximately 60% of the passengers at El Cerrito Del Norte are from north of Richmond and El Cerrito, as just one of many indications for the need to extend wBART. A full study of wBART would enable BART to determine the full extent of the need and possible impact of extending BART.
Additionally, the extension of the wBART would provide an alternative travel mode to the Interstate 80, one of the region's most congested travel corridors.
Supporting City Goals and Plans:
The General Plan 2030 contains numerous goals and policy actions in support of providing adequate and equitable access to public transportation to local residents and to work with regional transportation organizations to improve overall transit in the area.
Supporting goals, policies and actions:
GOAL CR1 An Expanded Multimodal Circulation System
Make conditions safer and more attractive for all modes of transportation including travel by foot and bicycle, public transit and automobiles. Evaluate streets and potential enhancements based on surrounding land use, street function and desired character and by relying on the place-based approach to circulation planning articulated in this General Plan. Take potential improvement measures ranging from physical design treatment of the street environment to social and programmatic responses appropriate to the particular street context.
Policy CR1.1 Balanced Modes of Travel and Equitable Access
Encourage multiple circulation options in the City and work with transit operators to ensure equitable access for all members of the community. Create streets and corridors that support a variety of travel modes including transit, pedestrians, bicycles and goods movement as well as automobiles. Provide affordable circulation options which meet the needs of low-income populations, seniors, youth and persons with disabilities to ensure equitable access.
Policy CR1.3 Local and Regional Transportation Linkages
Enhance circulation linkages within the City and region. The City will work with regional transportation agencies such as AC Transit, BART, West Contra Costa Transit Agency, and Amtrak to provide or improve connections to Richmond's key transportation hubs such as the proposed ferry terminal in Marina Bay, the Downtown Intermodal Transit Station, Hilltop Mall, the shoreline and commercial and mixed-use streets. Collaborate with regional, state and federal transportation agencies and neighboring jurisdictions to support a high level of service for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobile drivers.
Growth Management
GOAL GM1 Coordinated Land Use and Transportation Planning
Promote mixed-use, high-density infill development and investment around transit hubs and along transit corridors to maximize the efficient use of available land and
infrastructure in the City and the region. Coordinate with neighboring cities, Contra Costa County and regional transportation agencies to manage growth and minimize regional impacts.
Policy GM1.3 Regional Transportation Planning
Participate in ongoing multi-jurisdictional regional transportation planning efforts by participating in efforts sponsored by the West Contra Costa County Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC), the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA).
Action GM2. B Regional Development Mitigation
Support regional development mitigation measures consistent with the Countywide Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which funds regional transportation projects,
community facilities and infrastructure for planned and proposed development. Continue to participate in the West Contra Costa County Subregional Transportation Mitigation Program (STMP) community facilities and infrastructure for planned and proposed development.
Below is the text of a proposed resolution of the Richmond City Council to support a BART study on a possible extension of service to West Contra Costa County north of El Cerrito and Richmond
WHEREAS, the communities of West Contra Costa County have paid into the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) for more than forty (40) years and not benefited wholly from BART services; and
WHEREAS, West Contra Costa County is the densest sub-region of Contra Costa County; and
WHEREAS, the West Contra Costa County sub-region has the highest count and share of local residents who are low-income and/or transit-dependent in Contra Costa County; and
WHEREAS, the Interstate 80 corridor has been rated the most-congested travel corridor in the San Francisco Bay Area region for more than a decade by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC); and
WHEREAS, more than 14,000 cumulative hours are wasted in traffic each weekday on Interstate 80 between Crockett and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge; and
WHEREAS, it is projected that by 2025, 68% of the West Contra Costa County working community will commute to locations outside of West Contra Costa County and 60% of those commuters will commute to destinations in Berkeley, Oakland, or San Francisco; and
WHEREAS, with more than 8,000 average weekday riders, the El Cerrito del Norte BART station is the most-congested regional transfer station in the BART network and second most-congested home origin station of the East Bay; and
WHEREAS, nearly 60% of the riders at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station live north of both El Cerrito and Richmond; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the council of the City of Richmond, California finds that the existing public transit infrastructure that serves West Contra Costa County commuters is insufficient at meeting both existing and future travel needs.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the council of the City of Richmond, California provides its support and approval of a wBART study for a BART or alternative rail extension from the Richmond station as the preferred option that may serve the communities of San Pablo, Richmond's Hilltop, Pinole, and Hercules.

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