Here are excerpts from BATWG’s December 12, 2021’s letter to BART Director and ACTC Vice President Rebecca Saltzman as well as to other members of the BART Board warning against the diversion of Measure BB Intermodal Funds needed to improve walking and bicycle access to the Union City BART station to the City’s ill-conceived Quarry Lakes “Parkway”, previously called the East-West Connector (EWC) highway.
Subject: Union City’s December 2, 2021 Presentation to the BART Board
Dear Honorable Rebecca Saltzman,
Since you are BART’s representative on the Alameda County Transportation Commission and since it appears that on December 2, 2021 BART was not given the whole story, please keep the following thoughts in mind:
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If, as we’ve been told, Union City regards the $75 million in Measure BB Intermodal Station Funds as its to do with as it pleases, there a good chance that City politicians will attempt to divert the money from the needed intermodal improvements to the ill-conceived, 1.4 mile new highway they seem determined to build between Mission Blvd and Paseo Padre Parkway. Diverting Intermodal Station funds for any such use would be both a violation of Alameda County Measure BB and a very bad mistake for the following reasons:
Union City’s Planned Transit Hub: Former Union City Mayor Mark Green envisioned the BART station as the center of an important new regional transit hub in the middle of downtown Union City. With direct BART service to the North and soon also to the South, plus existing rail connections to the Tri-Valley, plus a shuttle train linking BART to Caltran via a refurbished or rebuilt Dumbarton Rail Bridge as well as excellent bus connections, Mayor Green’s vision is now in sight. But only if the residential and commercial development around the station were rendered truly transit-oriented. This would require that there be direct and effective pedestrian and bicycle access to the BART Station from the hundreds of existing and planned additional housing units located to its east, as well as better and safer ways of accessing it from both Decoto Road and the architecturally-pleasing new downtown commercial center to the west. It would be logical, appropriate and productive to spend the $75 million in multi-modal funds to achieve this multi-modal objective. In your capacity as Vice Chair of the ACTC Board please help ensure that these funds are put to their intended us.
Union City’s Highway: A uniquely myopic and ill-conceived proposal for the following reasons:
- The existing residential complex currently being expanded east of the BART station is already easily accessible by automobile from Decoto Road via 11th Street and Cheeves Way. Creating a brand new 4-lane highway leading to the south end of the complex is neither necessary nor desirable.
- The EWC would totally obliterate a wide and inviting historic open space, half of which is rendered especially appealing by meandering and heavily-wooded Old Alameda Creek.
- The Connector would draw additional motorists to Highway 84, thereby bringing new traffic into Union City as well as impinging on the popular and highly valued Niles Canyon recreation area.
- The EWC would also significantly increase traffic on the already heavily-used westerly part of Decoto Road all the way from Paseo Padre Parkway to I-880 and the often gridlocked Dumbarton Highway Bridge.
Extending BART to the Diridon Station and creating an east-west rail shuttle service between the Union City BART Station and the Redwood City Caltrain Station would bring the downtown Union City transit hub to life. Adding an east-west highway would just bring more traffic.