COYLE & ASSOCIATES
February 16, 2001
The following is a summary of the public comments that were received at the project kick-off meeting on January 16th, 2001.
There was strong support for some kind of village center or town square where residents could gather together for events and feel part of a community. As one mentioned, somewhere to meet you neighbors.
Most felt that buildings should be human-scaled, that high-rise buildings should be avoided when possible. If towers were located on the site, they should be clustered close to the station, with buildings stepping down toward the perimeter of the site. One person mentioned a desire to see parks on top of tall buildings.
Some people felt that connections from the buildings directly to the station level, with platform improvements and connections to the parking structures, would be a good idea.
Many people felt strongly that the station area needed a community center or public space that could be used for community events. It was felt that the area needed an easy place to identify and meet. This could either be a community building structure or an open public plaza or square. Other ideas for public uses included: a concert hall, a community theater, a library, a post office, a new swim club/exercise facility, small science observatory, a fountain, a bowling alley, a playground (with a dog park), and a roller rink.
Certain commercial uses were also seen as desirable. Participants encouraged small retail shops such as coffee shops, book stores, bike shops, dry cleaners, florists: uses that would appeal to locals and not generate large quantities of additional traffic. Other suggested commercial uses included a grocery store, a bank (with ATM machines), restaurants, delis, bakeries, a daycare center, and a clinic. Also, there was a need expressed for local serving, affordable office space.
Housing was another suggested use in the area. Some participants expressed the desire to see some affordable housing near the station. Others wanted to see the inclusion of senior facilities, with housing and meeting space.
Public transit was also part of the parking discussion. Participants encouraged the consultant team to think about how to promote increased use of the current public transit system to alleviate the parking demand. Some ideas expressed included the creation of off-site parking structures (conversions of the old Montgomery-Wards shopping center and the old Co-op building, for example) that would provide free parking for BART riders. These would be connected to the station via free shuttle buses. This program would be in conjunction with charging patrons for parking on-site, thus rewarding those who were willing to take the shuttle bus. Many supported the idea of charging for on-site parking at the station as a way to encourage more BART patrons to arrive by bus or via carpool.
Perhaps the largest concern among participants was the fear that the new development would increase the load on already congestion streets in the area. There were many general comments that encouraged the consultant team to look holistically at the regional transportation system, in particular traffic flow from Bancroft to Mayhew to the Las Juntas Freeway. Most felt that we should encourage non-residents to use the arterials, leaving the local roads less congested. Others complained that there are too many dead-end streets, and the connectivity is important. Of particular concern was the impact of new development on Treat Boulevard, which many described as very congested and a neighborhood divider. People mentioned that the intersections at Treat Boulevard and Oak Street and at Treat Boulevard and I-680 are particularly bad. Several mentioned that its impossible to merge left and avoid being forced onto I-680 when turning right from Oak Street onto Treat Boulevard. Many people had suggestions and comments about Jones Road: some felt that it should connect to Treat Boulevard, others felt that Jones Road south of Treat Boulevard should be realigned. A few complained that traffic backs up (along Jones Road) waiting for pedestrians to cross. One participant felt that the intersection where the BART tracks cross Jones Road is deadly and should be examined.
Pedestrian access and movement around the area was another source of concern. Many participants felt that the interaction between pedestrians and traffic is currently very poor. They complained that the bus lanes are difficult to walk over, and that Oak Street is too wide for pedestrians. They encouraged us to think about pedestrian connections to the surrounding neighborhoods, and the make the walk into the station safe, interesting and convenient.
Some citizens worried that the development might increase the crime rate my bringing in more people from other areas. In particular, at least one participant worried that thieves might ride BART to enter the area and burglarize local residences.
In addition to increasing transit and bike use, many participants mentioned the idea of making the connections to the station walkable and interesting, encouraging pedestrian activity as much as possible. They wanted to see a clear, safe route through the area that connects nearby housing, retail, and office uses with the station and parking garages. Recommended physical upgrades included softer trails (not concrete), better lighting (white not yellow), handicapped accessible sidewalks and pedestrian bridges, intersection improvements on Treat Boulevard and other dangerous crossing areas, bridge or tunnel access across the 1-608 Freeway toward North Main and across Treat at Jones and Oak.
Some favored the idea of bicycle access separated from automobile traffic and pedestrian areas, with dedicated bicycle lanes on Treat Boulevard and Oak Street.
Many comments mentioned that idea of linkages to other existing transit systems, including connecting to neighboring communities in Walnut Creek, Concord, and Pleasant Hill, as well as surrounding residential areas.
Many people were excited about the idea of increased public open space and parks, but some participants worried about the timing issues involved with implementing green space along the trail.
Other suggestions included attempting to mitigate the strong winds that come from the Southwest and blocking the freeway noise from the adjacent I-680 freeway. Eventually, in twenty years or so, one participant wanted to see the neighborhood generating some of its own electric power.
- How do we keep New Urbanism from creating a stereotypical image of an urban area and contributing to the sameness of America?
- I am very concerned about Bill saying we solved this by bringing the buildings to the street.
- Will the green space be built according to the Specific Plan?
- How will this development affect the surrounding property values?
- People are not familiar with what is already planned for the development South of Treat Blvd off the BART Station site.
- For future on-site meetings: It is too dark to walk at night to meetings from the site and the walk from the station to the meeting is circuitous.
- Construction for the project should be done through a labor agreement with Contra Costa Building Traders.
Appendix: Verbatim Comments
Make it look like California, not Anywhere, USA
Local serving uses, not a regional destination
Smaller blocks, walkable with mixture of uses (downtown Walnut Creek)
Building frontage on streets, not parking
Horizontal and vertical mix of uses to generate activities throughout the day and night
Village center, gathering place, town square feel
Higher activities closer to the station and parking further out, up to 1/4 mi.
Architectural variety, but with aesthetics that blend together buildings with character
No more high-rises
Tallest buildings West of the station lower buildings on East side
Roof top parks, elevated open space
Swim club/exercise facility, there are no close substitutes to losing the current club
Affordable housing near the station
Affordable office space
Small retail such as coffee shops, book stores, post office, bike shop, dry cleaner, florist
appeal to locals so we do not end up with more traffic
Restaurants, cafes, delis, bakery, serving local office space, close to BART
Day care, playground, small science observatory, and other services/spaces for kids
Concert hall, community theater
Smaller art-house independent theater, no cinema multiplex
A fountain, easy place to identify & meet (Walnut Creek example)
Senior facilities, housing/meeting space
Bowling ally or roller rink, some physical or social aspects
Pleasant Hill redevelopment connect to Old Wards shopping center (North off map) and old Co-op building (West off map across freeway)
Hotel/motel is not a viable use for the property on the Northeast corner of Jones & Treat (demise of Amerisuites)
Conflicting opinions regarding parking availability, majority requested adding more
More levels or entire buildings of structured/security parking
Parking demands of BART are not being met
Provide off-site BART parking, shuttle drivers onto site
Encourage using public transportation
Parking fees, carpool/vanpool preferences
Other nearby parking uses want access to BART lots
Traffic is congested on Treat Blvd, its a neighborhood divider but a necessary artery
Bad intersection at Treat & Oak, and Treat & I-680
Its impossible to merge left and avoid being forced onto I-680 North
Connect Jones Road to Treat Blvd
Pedestrians and traffic interacting
Bus lanes are too difficult to walk over
Oak Street is too wide for pedestrians
Traffic backs up (along Jones) waiting for pedestrians
Deadly intersection at BART tracks and Jones
Consider wide-spread traffic impacts from the design
Traffic flow from BancroftMayhewLas Juntas freeway
Clear local roads, keep non-residents on the main arteries
Jones Road between Oak and Treat Blvd
Too many dead-end streets
Realignment of Jones Road, South of Treat Blvd.
Concerns about what parking would be available during construction
FHWA funded on site parking structure, it cannot be restricted to BART patrons only or be used to meet local parking zone requirements
BART STATION CHARACTER:
Improve the platform, longer length, connection from parking structure levels
Provide lockers for luggage, lockers and/or parking for bicycles, scooters
May increase crime, especially from Monument
Thieves brought via BART to local residential houses
20 year vision, secure with low crime, safe area
Ridership education needed
BART Station serves as anchor for transit connections through the area
Link station with nearby residential
More frequent late night bus service
Connect to neighboring communities, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill downtown
Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, & Concord to feed the BART system
Alleviate traffic on Treat Blvd
PEDESTRIANS & BICYCLES:
Bike/pedestrian circulation is currently disconnected, unpleasant
Make a clear, safe route through the area, connect nearby housing and retail
Better lighting, white not yellow
Softer trails, not concrete
Handicap access sidewalks
Improve the dangerous intersections on Treat Blvd
Bridge or tunnel at Oak and at Jones, the bridge idea was more favored
Bridge or tunnel across freeway towards N Main
Other dangerous areas crossing Jones, especially at the Northeast site corner
Improve bicycle facilities, trails and parking
Bike access not in traffic or pedestrian area, bike lanes on Treat and Oak
Any overhead bridges should be level enough for a handicap bike to make it up and over
Improve the intersection between the trail and Treat Blvd (underpass or bridge)
Provide a respite area along the East side, just North of Treat (named for Del Hambre)
Possible community garden space
Timing of green space implementation along trail
Improve the open and green spaces, but preserve the existing Oak trees, especially at the edges (Southwest corner of site, Northwest corner of site and the last open space along BART Tracks in the Northeast corner of site)
Save the beautiful view of Mt. Diablo from the BART Station tracks
Provide more views, not the East side blocking West side views
20 year vision, neighborhood generates some of its own electric power
Block the Southwest wind, it is too windy
Buffer the noise level of I-680 and the traffic through the site
COMMUNITY QUESTIONS &
I am very concerned about Bill saying we solved this by bringing the buildings to the street.
Will the green space be built to specific plan?
How will this development affect property values?
People are not familiar with what is already planned for the development South of Treat Blvd off the BART Station site.
For future on-site meetings: It is too dark to walk at night to meeting from site and the walk from station to meeting was circuitous.
Project labor agreement with Contra Costa Building Traders for construction