Union City's East West Connector Hits Wall of Opposition

Credit Union City

Union City has hit a wall in attempting to divert millions of dollars away from biking, walking, and public transit. After hearing strong opposition from the community, the Alameda County Transportation Commission declined to transfer $210 million of voter-approved public funding to Union City for building a highway feeder road, the East West Connector.

Bike East Bay joined the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, Transform, Save Our Hills, Rethink East West Connector, Friends of Caltrain, and local residents in opposing the misdirection of public funds. The proposed East West Connector to feed the I-880 freeway would spend all 27 years of the city’s share of Measure BB funds designated for biking and walking improvements. It would also potentially halt plans to develop Union City BART station into a multi-modal transit hub.

While the project is on last legs, it’s not dead yet. Alameda CTC gave Union City $2.5 million to conduct a traffic analysis and finalize designs/cost estimates for the East West Connector. Bike East Bay expects the traffic analysis to confirm that a new highway connection will not achieve the city’s stated goal of improving walking, biking, and transit.

The final designs will certainly show the roadway to be prohibitively expensive. The roadway is projected to cost over $100 million per mile. Costs are likely to balloon as it crosses a Superfund site, underground aquifer, Alameda Creek, and both BART and Union Pacific rail tracks.

Bottom line, your biking, walking and public transit funds are safe for now. Bike East Bay volunteers helped win Measure BB to fund biking, walking, and public transit for Alameda County in 2014. With your support as a member, Bike East Bay will continue our watchdog role to ensure it stays that way.