Transit “Connectivity”, the Real Estate Development Way

Alameda County Measure BB, passed in 2014, included $400 million to connect BART to Livermore. In 2017 the State Legislature (AB 758) set up the Tri-Valley San Joaquin Regional Rail Authority (TVSQVRRA) and, according to the Legislative Analyst, charged it with “planning, developing, and delivering cost-effective and responsive transit connectivity between BART and the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) commuter rail service in the Tri-Valley, that meets the goals and objectives of the community, as specified”.

Any rational observer would take this to mean connecting BART to Livermore and ACE in a manner convenient to train riders and would-be train riders. But the TVSQVRRA, we later learned, had other plans. Instead of a viable connection between BART and ACE in Livermore, TVSQVRRA wants to build a 43-mile Valley Link line extending from BART’s East Dublin terminal to North Lathrop, over 30 winding track miles northeast of Livermore.

Read more here:

A BART rider wishing to transfer to ACE to get to say downtown Livermore would therefore be faced with a 60 mile detour into and back from the San Joaquin Valley. So much for connecting BART to ACE and Livermore in any reasonable way. But don’t despair. Lighting up this dismal picture is the happy glow of eager developers and land speculators as they busily buy land, take options and obtain permits in anticipation of getting rich building “transit-oriented” housing anywhere along the 43 mile line to North Lathrop where there’s money to be made.

If you’ve ever wondered why our bus/rail/ferryboat system is burdened with so many frustrating detours, difficult connections and major gaps in service, it is in large part because increasing real estate values rather than making transit work virtually always gets the priority.

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