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Just because we hear you …

The Public Hearings for the Walnut Creek BART Transit Village Project roll along with no public input … even when it’s offered.

Thursday night I attended a Planning Commission “Study Session” on the BART Transit Village.  OK, I know that only wackos who like to hear themselves talk into a microphone go to Public Meetings, but I don’t sing well enough to try karaoke.

I’m fortunate - I can walk to the Walnut Creek BART station.  But I feel sorry for all of those BART riders and freeway commuters who drive up and down Ygnacio Valley Road every weekday.  Construction of the BART Transit Village will make their lives miserable for years to come.  When the new garage is being constructed, the 225 parking spaces on the southwest corner of the BART lot will be unavailable – patrons will have to park somewhere blocks away.  And I’ve never seen a construction project yet that doesn’t block sidewalks, and sometimes a lane or two of traffic.  Construction companies love to send flagmen out into the roadway to halt everything while large trucks pull on and off the site.  And the roads around the BART station are already a mess.

At the Public Hearing, I expressed the opinion that since commuters are going to suffer years of construction-related traffic woes, the project, when it’s finally completed, should be required to provide some additional BART parking.  I also asked for details on a line in the Staff Report that seemed rather evasive.  In the section about parking for BART patrons, the Staff Report says …

  “The replacement parking plan represents one-to-one replacement of existing spaces plus potential to add up to 100 additional parking spaces”

I asked the Planning Commissioners what this statement meant.  To me, “up to 100” could be zero.  I asked whether the new spaces would be compact or full size.  I asked whether the new spaces were in the new garage, or were achieved by re-striping the existing parking structure – something BART could do whether the Transit Village is built or not.

After my comment and questions, acting Commission Chair Darling asked the developer’s representative if he would like to respond to anything I asked.  The developer’s representative said no.  The Commissioners then went on with their business.

A Public Hearing is the place where the public can be heard.  But just because they hear you doesn’t mean that anyone has to respond.  The Walnut Creek BART Transit Village Project rolls on…

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David P August 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM
(2) Temporary parking will definitely be an issue, and the applicant is looking at alternatives; I'm hoping something more than adequate and possibly even longer-term than this project. I thought my suggestion of parking in Shadelands or another remote area with a shuttle to WC BART could also help alleviate the traffic along YVR. Remember that the YVR (and Treat) traffic is not all WC people, but includes those from Concord, Clayton, etc. This is a big project, and I live about one mile away, so I would hope that there are many long-term benefits, also. I do use BART when going into SF and other areas for work and play, and would also like to see a great project that provides great benefits. To OMTWF, the PC is not ramming anything through or ignoring (at least not intentionally) any issues here -- at least I am not and do not believe the others are, either. This is a big project with lots of items and impact, so it will continue to evolve as we move forward. And although I really do appreciate everyone's comments about where we are NOT meeting your expectations, maybe you can balance it with where the city is making some good moves on this project (and others, too) so we can continue in that direction. By the way, I am always open to meeting with people one-on-one to hear your opinions. Just let me know when and where, please, and remember I like to meet for coffee; I'll let the Mayor do the walking chats. Thanks for the opportunity to respond. Dave
David P August 27, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Tom - Can I get an artist-autographed copy of the drawing? It will be a reminder of what I should, must and continue to aim to do. Just leave the extra hair on there! :-) Dave
obiwan August 27, 2012 at 09:33 PM
David P - First off, thank you for having the guts to participate in this forum. I wish that more of our Commissioners and Council members were as up front as you are. I guess that I have higher expectations of our Planning Commissioners than to just sit back and allow an applicant to be less than forthright about their intentions. I have seen on other occasions where a comment made by a member of the public goes unanswered UNTIL a Commissioner asks it. Applicants don't generally blow off comments from the Commissioners whose votes they need to get the project approved. I could have used some backup. I got none. I understand that a developer will wish to present their project in the best light. But approval or denial of the project should be based upon straight-forward, factual information. You say that you don't think the City will accept zero, but I haven't seen a line drawn in the sand, at least not publicly. And if the "additional" spaces turn out to be re-striping and adding compact spaces in the existing garage, which BART could do anyway if they thought that compact spaces were a good idea, WHY is the City perpetuating the myth that this has anything to do with the BART Transit Village? When the Commissioners aren't passionate about getting the facts out, it calls the whole process into question. It makes it seem to an outsider like the fix is in.
obiwan August 27, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I'll try to dig up some artsy-quality paper and print you off a copy.
JM Hogan August 28, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Everything that I have ever read about the 100 extra spaces was that they were from restriping the existing garage. I don't recall ever reading that there would be more spaces than before other than restriping the existing garage. It seems like this should have been a simple question for the developer to answer.

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