Plaza for the People at El Cerrito Plaza BART - Minimize Replacement Parking

BART Board and El Cerrito City Council

We have a once in a generation opportunity to transform the El Cerrito Plaza BART station into a vibrant gathering hub with mixed-income housing, shops, restaurants, and public spaces. A thoughtful plan will enhance and serve the existing neighborhood residents as well as the broader community, which relies on BART and surrounding amenities and services. To accomplish this, BART and the City of El Cerrito need to take an "all of the above" strategy to station access so that the need for driving and parking is minimized.

Sponsored by
El Cerrito, CA

To: BART Board and El Cerrito City Council
From: [Your Name]

We believe in the visions shared by both BART and the City of El Cerrito to lead on both climate action and combat our area's housing shortage. We urge BART and the City of El Cerrito to take bold action in this regard with BART Transit Oriented Development project planned at El Cerrito Plaza station.

With this in mind, we urge BART and the City of El Cerrito to do the following:
- Build as many homes as we can, for all income levels as well as different sized living arrangements. Housing near public transportation in walkable neighborhoods will be critical to address our housing shortage in a sustainable and climate-oriented way.
- Create a vibrant destination where the broader community can gather and enjoy. Pedestrian-friendly spaces where people can explore, congregate, relax, shop, dine, and play. Potentially incorporate a new library for El Cerrito into the development.
- Use an "all of the above" strategy for accessing the BART station, with particular emphasis on encouraging walking, biking, and public transportation.

We also wish to accomplish these goals without crowding our streets with car traffic. To that end, we encourage the developer to minimize on-site parking for residents, and instead provide robust incentives for TOD residents to not own cars. This can include strategies such as transit subsidies, e-bike subsidies (with adequate secure bike storage), and subsidized car-share access.

For those who rely on the El Cerrito Plaza BART station, we urge the City of El Cerrito to enhance their streets with protected bike lanes, sufficient lighting, and traffic calming measures to prevent dangerous driving. Those who are able should be provided every incentive possible to access the BART station by walking, biking, or public transportation.

For those whose personal circumstances require them to drive, the City of El Cerrito should implement a managed parking program on surrounding streets to ensure that local residents can access parking near their homes, while BART riders can access parking when they truly need it. Those driving and parking should have to pay for the privelage and not rely on others and the planet to subsidize this polluting form of transportation. Our city cannot be a climate champion while also prioritizing free easy parking.

El Cerrito can and should use these funds from the managed parking program for better lighting, wider sidewalks, shuttles, and other measures to increase safety and convenience for local residents. Low-income discounts should also be incorporated into the program design.

When we accomplish all of this, there should exist a minimal need for any parking structure on the BART property, and we can instead use that space for badly needed homes and community amenities.

Please be bold with this once-in-a-generation opportunity. Our children will thank us.