As expected, the Walnut Creek City Council certified the Environmental Impact Report for the BART Transit Village, dismissing objections to the traffic study made by CalTrans, not to mention this blogger. They then approved raising the General Plan height limit and created a Planned Unit Development zoning ordinance tailored to the developer’s wishes. Setbacks were reduced. The City’s requirement for storage space in the apartments was cut by more than half. They caved on not requiring any additional parking for BART customers. They caved on not requiring any improvements to the BART station itself. Residents who drive to BART or commute down Ygnacio Valley Road will get nothing except for years of construction-related traffic snarls.
Much was made of the “view corridor” through which commuters standing at the BART gates will be able to see Mt. Diablo. It wasn’t mentioned that the increased height will block the view from the platform. The “exceptional public amenity” cited to justify the height increase is a mid-block crosswalk on California Boulevard that can only snarl traffic more. (The pedestrian crosswalk on Mt. Diablo Boulevard at P.F. Chang’s is apparently considered to be a success worth repeating).
A succession of infill urbanization activists (Greenbelt Alliance, Save Mt. Diablo) and business interests (the Chamber, the Downtown Business Association) took turns praising the project. No BART patrons or Ygnacio Valley commuters showed up. Justin Wedel and Loella Haskew were both in the audience, but neither stepped up to ask for a better deal for commuters. If Barry Grove was there, I didn’t see him. No matter who wins the upcoming election, it looks like the City’s residents still won’t have any representation.