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SunCal Discussions With AC Transit on Alameda Point Transportation Plan Only “Conceptual” To Date

At a recent presentation to the local Sierra Club transportation committee, SunCal’s hired planning guru Peter Calthorpe presented, as part of his Alameda Point presentation, the Fehr & Peers traffic study numbers in the Alameda Point Transit-Oriented-Alternatives Report, but then promptly backed away from them saying “These aren’t my numbers.” It’s obvious SunCal has done no proposal-specific transportation studies regarding their plan for Alameda Point. And AC Transit says conversations with SunCal to date have not been detailed, but only “conceptual.”

With spoke with Nancy Skowbo, AC Transit’s Deputy General Manager for Service Development about their involvement with SunCal to date regarding transportation planning for Alameda Point. Despite a lot of hand-waving by Peter Calthorpe and SunCal about BRT, skip-lanes and everyone at Alameda Point taking the bus or ferry, Ms. Skowbo described AC Transit’s conversations regarding SunCal’s plan at the AC Transit/City of Alameda Interagency Liaison Committee (ILC) meetings so far as only “conceptual” and “entry level conversations.”

Ms. Skowbo talked about a number of approaches that might be used to serve Alameda Point, like signal timing and bus bulbs, and she also wanted to make clear that Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is not the same as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Bus Rapid Transit for Alameda Point – taking away from automobiles a lane in the Webster and Posey Tubes – is likely to increase traffic congestion back into Alameda (and increase local auto emissions too.) Transit Signal Priority puts a special emitter on transit vehicles to extend green lights for the vehicle, so they get stuck at traffic signals less often. But it doesn’t steal a travel lane.

She also noted that in past joint ILC meetings, City of Alameda Councilmember Frank Matarrese expressed concern about Bus Rapid Transit, which would have buses flying down the street at 40 MPH in Alameda where the speed limit on the vast majority of roads is 25 MPH.

But back to SunCal – it’s pretty obvious that SunCal has yet to spend a dime of their own – or DE Shaw’s – money on a plan-specific transportation study for their project, and they haven’t yet really engaged AC Transit either. They’re trying to skate by using the Fehr & Peers numbers, which Peter Calthorpe presents in one breath, then distances himself from in the next.

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