The University of California is proposing to build a Whole Foods supermarket at the northwest corner of Monroe and San Pablo, and senior housing and small retail south of Monroe. AS&R has been working for years to assure that the project includes a cycling route adequate for the broadest spectrum of people to feel comfortable cycling there.
More recently Traffic and Safety Commissioner Miki suggested this cycling route could also connect the soon to be built cycling path on the south side of Buchanan to the Dartmouth low-motorist volume cycling route. This would allow people to the north to cycle to the Greenway without ever getting on a busy street, and people to the east to cycle to Ocean View School and Park, and the Bay Trail doing the same. AS&R recognized this as a great suggestion and adopted it right away.
To date AS&R’s efforts have resulted in a requirement for the developer to fund study of cycletrack on the west side of San Pablo. A cycletrack is essentially a cycling path between the sidewalk and street. There are local examples in Alameda and San Francisco. The study will be managed by the City. AS&R is a named participant in selecting the consultant for the study, and in advising on the study. The results of the study are required to be considered in the next project approval stage, which regards subdividing the property.
The project was also required by the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to provide cycling lanes and/or paths on its streets as part of the mitigation for the project’s global climate change impact. Unfortunately a change to this requirement first raised at the request of UC at about 1 am on July 10th was approved by the Council approximately three minutes later. The solar panel requirement for the project was also weakened, potentially to the point of elimination.
These EIR requirements had previously stood for three years. There was no opportunity for public consideration, question or comment regarding the changes proposed at the last minute. It also appears there was no analysis whether the project’s global climate change impact would still be reduced as much as stated in the Council’s approval with the last minute changes.
AS&R subsequently asked the City to extend the statute of limitations regarding the EIR approval to allow discussion of the changes. The City did not do so. Consequently AS&R and the climate action organization Climate Neutral Albany (C0A) filed suit in order to keep their legal options open.
The City and UC have now entered into discussion with AS&R and C0A concerning the changes. Discussion to date gives cause for optimism that language regarding cycling infrastructure and renewable power facilities acceptable to all parties can be developed and made binding.
Bringing suit has cost money, even if the suit settles. Please help AS&R and CNA establish that cycling infrastructure is no longer a dispensable amenity, but rather a necessity, by donating, tax free, to the EBBC’s “AS&R legal fund.” Mail a check to “East Bay Bicycle Coalition, P.O. Box 1736, Oakland CA 94604″ and note it for the AS&R Legal Fund.