The University of California is building a large mixed-use retail/housing project, including a Whole Foods, on San Pablo Avenue in Albany that will attract a lot of traffic and make it even more challenging for Albany residents to cross San Pablo or use the Marin/Buchanan bikeway. Because an agreement to provide good bike and walking connections as part of this project was removed at the last minute by City Council, the Albany Strollers & Rollers (AS&R) and Carbon Neutral Albany (CNA) have brought suit to reinstate the bike access. EBBC supports these efforts and encourages our members to help get an agreement from Albany and UC Berkeley to provide safe biking and walking connections from the neighborhoods of Albany to this new project. You can help by making a contribution to these legal efforts.
The goal is to have this issue resolved quickly and the filing of this legal action will help bring the parties together and force them to take seriously the need for bike/ped safety. With the second highest percentage of people bicycling of all cities in the East Bay, Albany’s leaders have come up woefully short of providing the best accommodations for all users, including people who want to walk and bike to shop. When this happens, our coalition takes action.
What You Can Do:
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 cause. Go to the AS&R Action Page for the University Village Project
A requirement for the project to include cycling lanes or paths connected to Albany’s city-wide cycling network existed for three years. Then, literally three minutes before the Council’s approval at 1 am in the morning, the requirement was weakened, potentially to the point of elimination, at the request of UC. A requirement for the project to include solar panels was also weakened.
The previous requirement to include cycling lanes and/or paths also would fill most of a gap between routes in Albany’s cycling network. Filling this gap would lead to more people cycling to the Ohlone Greenway, Bay trail, local schools and parks.
EBBC affiliate Albany Strollers & Rollers, along with local climate action group Carbon Neutral Albany, sought to have Albany extend the deadline for legal action in order to allow negotiations toward restoring the requirements. Albany did not do so. As a result, regretfully, both groups had to file suit to maintain a legal avenue for restoring the cycling route requirement. Neither group opposes or supports the project overall, and both continue to seek negotiations. Albany and UC have now expressed interest.