Outdated transportation planning moves forward in Union City, and Bike East Bay is pushing back. For two years we have been at the table advocating for better biking, walking, and transit access as Union City pushed forward an overbuilt expressway, once known as the East-West Connector, now called the Quarry Lakes Parkway. We’ll be meeting regularly with Union City staff in 2021 to work out design options for improving this project. Sign up to get involved.
This local expressway on steriods represents an outdated form of transportation planning—moving more cars—that should no longer take place. Bike East Bay has joined numerous residents and local leaders speaking out against this project, asking instead that a local and shorter two lane road be considered. However Union City marches forward to design a multi-lane expressway through the heart of what should be a walkable, livable Union City BART Station District. Last week, the Alameda CTC Board approved $65 million in design money for the project. Now our focus intensifies on ensuring that the expressway is safe for people bicycling and walking, and includes state-of-the-art designs that connect people to where they are going.
Back in 2018, we had an agreement with Alameda CTC and Union City to update the traffic analysis for this project before any additional design money was released. Our position was that, 12 years after this project’s initial traffic analysis, a surface-level expressway was no longer warranted and a new traffic analysis would show that a neighborhood-scale project would be more appropriate. Neither of these agencies made a good faith effort to honor that commitment. Rather, they both relied on legal CEQA technicalities to move forward on the expressway project they have always wanted, considering no alternatives, while couching the expressway as a “local road.” We don’t buy it. Plus, there are zero transit improvements in this project: no planned transit upgrades for people commuting from the Tri Valley and from the Central Valley into Silicon Valley via the Dumbarton Bridge. It speaks volumes to how much further we have to go in order to prioritize building walkable, livable communities served by great transit.
Thanks to the leadership of Emeryville Councilmember and Alameda CTC Board Vice Chair John Bauters, the project has several new conditions that could make a difference. Among the new conditions, Union City is required to incorporate modern best practice NACTO-style guidance for the walking and pedestrian improvements in the project. That is where you can help. Join our email list for Union City updates and provide your input next year as we meet with Union City staff to work out designs.