Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Ashby BART Modernization Moving Forward
Tonight, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) held its third and last public meeting in South Berkeley at the Phillips Temple CME Church. Approximately 15-20 neighbors showed up to provide comments on a proposed modernization effort for the Station. The meeting focused primarily on pedestrian improvements along Adeline Street, including a bus shelter/seating area and gateway entrances to the stairways leading to the Station below the street. The improvements are intended to create a sense of place and identity for the aging Ashby BART Station as well as a more convenient transit connection. BART Officials used several renderings and a model to facilitate the discussion.
Residents provided comments and suggestions including: (1) providing more landscaping to soften the hardscape in the plaza where the bus shelter would be located; (2) providing small commercial spaces in the plaza, for example the JC Decaux Kiosks that the City of Santa Cruz has incorporated in its downtown, as a way to create a more consistent use of the plaza and prevent it from being used for illegal purposes such as drug and alcohol use and homeless camping; (3) expanding the height and length of the bus shelter and signage to more appropriately match the scale of the Ed Roberts Campus and the four lane roadway; (4) providing flashing lights/crosswalks to allow pedestrians to safely cross from the Ed Roberts Campus to the plaza/bus shelter; (5) incorporating restricted parking or permit parking along Woolsey and Tremont Streets to eliminate overnight car camping; and (6) providing more appropriate lighting that minimizes light pollution.
BART has allocated approximately $2.5 million for the modernization efforts. While acknowledging that the funding will not go far, BART Officials noted that due to the economy they are in a bid friendly environment and that it is a good time to construct public works projects. BART does not plan on any additional public meetings, but will begin incorporating public comments, finalizing the design concepts and prioritizing the modernization improvements. The modernization of the Ashby BART Station, in conjunction with the Ed Roberts Campus, will provide a much needed face lift to the aging facility.