In a welcome turnaround, BART officials this week agreed to include Pleasanton city representatives in planning an extension of the rapid transit system to Livermore, which could take the tracks through the northeast corner of Pleasanton.
The agreement came after Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho complained to Malcolm Quint, BART project manager, about planning meetings held in Livermore in recent weeks to discuss a 2,000-page Environmental Impact Report that Pleasanton officials had never seen. Although some Pleasanton business leaders were invited to the discussion meetings, as well as city representatives from other communities, no one from the Pleasanton council or city staff was advised of the meetings or asked to participate.
That brought a blistering letter from Fialho, who asked Quint if he was "intentionally leaving Pleasanton out of the policy/land use discussion" even though several alignments for an extension of BART to Livermore's downtown called for placing elevated tracks over Staples Ranch, where millions of dollars in development projects are planned. Two developers, one of a 37-acre auto mall that would fall right under the elevated transit system, and another a 600- to 800-unit senior housing and care facility, indicated they were unhappy with the BART plan.
Fialho said Quint agreed to schedule meetings in Pleasanton and Livermore on an alternating basis and scheduled a major presentation about BART's plans before the Pleasanton City Council on Dec. 15. Assistant City Manager Steve Bocian was designated as the city's official representative to the BART planning process.
BART has developed a series of alternate plans for extending the trains to Livermore, a long-sought goal. Up to now, the only discussed route had been extending the tracks from the Pleasanton-Dublin station east to Greenville Road with BART tracks continuing in the center or alongside Interstate 580 as they now do to Pleasanton. That's still an option, in fact it's the shortest and cheapest of all the routes under consideration and would attract the most riders -- 31,700 new daily BART riders by the year 2035,
At a station planning meeting held in Livermore last week, most reviewers panned the route that would take BART into downtown Livermore, saying they preferred the I-580 route.
However, Livermore officials want trains to be routed through its downtown. The city is in the midst of a massive downtown redevelopment that will include a 2,000-seat performing arts center, partly financed by Wente Bros. It needs BART to be downtown, too, to carry riders from other cities BART serves to its new downtown and theater.