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Pleasanton asks BART to scrap Staples Ranch extension plans

City responds to agency plans to run elevated tracks to downtown Livermore

If BART officials didn't get the message Jan. 6, Pleasanton officials are sending it again today: the public doesn't want elevated trains traveling through eastern Pleasanton and across the Chain of Lakes in BART's proposed route to extend service to Livermore.

"Through the years, Pleasanton has had an official policy of encouraging the BART extension to Livermore," City Manager Nelson Fialho states in his letter to the transit system authorities.

"But we're opposed to any BART to Livermore extension that runs on, over or below El Charro Road or through the Chain of Lakes areas that are within Pleasanton's sphere of influence," he said.

Fialho's response to the nine versions of BART's environmental impact report was sent yesterday, the final date for commenting on the agency's 200-page proposal. Tucked in the lengthy report as "alignment alternatives" 1a, 1b, 2a, 3a and 5 are routes that would extend BART to Livermore from the Pleasanton station on tracks elevated 40 feet high cutting across I-580 and winding their way to downtown Livermore. Some of the routes take the tracks across the eastern part of Staples Ranch and across the lakes.

Multi-million-dollar development plans now being approved for Staples Ranch as well as future open space and recreational areas for the Chain of Lakes will be annexed into the city of Pleasanton in the coming years. At least two of the developers, including Hendrick Automotive that is planning to build a new auto mall in the section of Staples that would be under the BART tracks, object to the route.

At the Jan. 6 meeting, more than 30 speakers addressed their comments to BART Director John McPartland and BART Project Manager Malcolm Quint. No one, including several from Livermore who attended the Pleasanton meeting, favored any of BART's routing plans that put tracks in Staples Ranch or across the lakes. Most favored keeping the proposed BART extension in the I-580 median where it now is, extending the tracks east to Greenville Road where BART already owns property suitable for a station.

In view of this opposition and the issues outlined in his EIR comment letter, Fialho asked BART to remove all of the proposed alignments affecting Staples Ranch. He had support from Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Zone 7 board member Chris Moore who told McPartland that they don't want BART trains cutting across the Chain of Lakes.

"Pleasanton remains committed to facilitating the expansion of BART to Livermore, whether such expansion includes stations adjacent to I-580, in downtown Livermore or in other Livermore locations," Fialho said.

Comments

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Posted by Jason
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:59 am

I hated commuting from Livermore. They program stoplights in town to stay red for like 5 minutes to control traffic, so if you can't even run errands before work if live by an onramp. To oppose a Livermore Bart for any reason makes Pleasanton look pretty selfish.


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Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:54 am

Jason,
I don't think anyone in Pleasanton opposes the Livermore BART extension, especially since the stated goal of the extension is to relieve congestion on the I-580 from the Central Valley through the Tri-Valley. That said, other than politics, there is absolutely no reason to build elevated tracks anywhere on that extension.

Although the PEIR noted that the quickest, most cost effective route that would also provide the most ridership is to build down the I-580 median between the current Pleasanton station and a new Greenville East station, some in Livermore want the extension to meander through their downtown. With the Staples Ranch alignments removed, there are still four alignment alternatives left, including building along the I-580 median or through the Livermore downtown, that do not require a track being build over, under or through the Staples ranch area.

The Staples Ranch alternatives are all about politics. Frankly, I was surprised to see that Supv. Haggerty has evidently come out in support of Pleasanton on this issue. I thought I'd read that he and Mayor Kamena were the driving forces behind all of the aternatives, including the elevated tracks. In fact, when Pleasanton was originally excluded from input, the whole elevated tracks over Staples Ranch sure smacked of punishing Pleasanton for delays on the Stoneridge extension.

I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but, hey, politicians are all about conspiring. So, food for thought . . . Maybe they were/are hoping that the Staples Ranch developers would threaten to pull out of Staples Ranch and Supv. Haggerty could, as Alameda County surplus land manager for that area, say that Pleasanton wasn't holding up its end of the bargain and move the sphere of influence over to Livermore - much as he has threatened to do in the past. and doesn't Supv. Haggerty live in Livermore now?? I'm just saying . . .


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Jason,

This isn't about reducing the argument to "Pleasanton doesn't want BART". It is about picking a route for BART that serves the best interests of all of the Tri-Valley, not only Livermore.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Otherwise Livermore can end up looking pretty selfish.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:53 am

Stacey, if it is of your opinion to say "serves the best interests of all the Tri-Valley,not only Livermore"... wouldn't it make sense that a Bart station on the east side of Valley would "only" ultimately soften traffic congestion for the near future? Without Livermore exploring the "idea" to solidify a foundation for their own future, that would be incompetence. I agree with you about wanting the best this Valley has to offer.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:12 am

Stacey is a registered user.

There's nothing wrong with Livermore looking into the idea. What's wrong is Livermore trying to solidify a foundation at the expense of Pleasanton. Livermore should build under Portola to get to downtown.


Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Exactly, if they choose that direction. When looking over the Bart routes, it was creative enough to stir involvement from a variety of sources(people). With that said, it was effective. My hope is that politics doesn't entirely win out and a model is presented to the Valley with operational detail and cost effectiveness outlined ahead of time.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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