BART Board Swears in New Police Chief, Approves Livermore Alignment

Editor’s note: We’re taking Monday off. Enjoy the long weekend and see you back here Tuesday!

Rainey_and_Murray.jpgNew BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey and Director Gail Murray celebrate at Rainey’s swearing in ceremony. Photo: Matthew Roth.

With concerns mounting about the reaction to the verdict in the Mehserle trial, BART held an official swearing-in ceremony at a special board meeting yesterday, replete with visits from local politicians, including former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Chief Kenton Rainey, the former Fairfield police chief, was lauded by numerous public speakers as a man of faith who inspires calm and unites those with whom he works.

Reverend Amos Brown of the Third Baptist Church said he was pleased with the process for selecting Chief Rainey and said he knew Rainey was the perfect choice for the position when he heard him first speak. "That’s the man the times demand."

BART Director Tom Radulovich praised the process undertaken to select Rainey, calling it "one of the most open and perhaps one of the most rigorous that we’ve ever taken. "

"It speaks to where policing is at BART. We really want to be viewed as one of the finest police forces in this state, in this country. We want to distinguish ourselves in terms of being open to the community, all the voices in the community and all the people we serve," said Radulovich.

Board Director Thomas Keller made the most heartfelt statement, breaking off at the end in tears and unable to finish, "One of the qualities that I think set Ken Rainey apart from other candidates, he’s a unifier, he brings people together and that’s what BART needs."

At a ceremony on a sun-filled patio at BART’s headquarters, Rainey socialized with board directors and discussed the challenges he would face on the job. When asked what he looked forward to the most in his first year, Ramsey told Streetsblog he wanted to get beyond the Mehserle trial and get to know his staff and board of directors.

"There’s a lot more work that still needs to be done," he said.

Portola_Vasco_alternative_small.jpgClick to enlarge this image of the preferred alignment to Livermore. Image: BART.

When the board got back to business, staff presented the alignment alternatives for the Livermore extension and requested the board approve the option that extended BART into downtown Livermore and up to Vasco Road.

Option 2b was added to the environmental review process after feedback from community meetings and negotiations with Livermore’s political set.

The extension would originate at the current Dublin/Pleasanton Station and continue along the I-580 median to Airway Boulevard just west of the Portola Avenue interchange. At that point the train would go underground to a new Livermore Station adjacent to the existing Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) Livermore Station, then proceed east at-grade until it reached a Vasco Road terminus adjacent to the Vasco Road ACE Station (empty trains could continue on to the Vasco Road Yards beyond the station).

Among the number benefits to the alignment BART expects the Portola/Vasco option to add 31,900 new daily riders, reduce 868,370 daily vehicle miles traveled and reduce 597,138 daily pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, the best totals of any of the ten routes studied in the EIR. The station location will provide connections to the ACE and potentially High Speed Rail.

On the downside, option 2b is the most expensive, expected to cost more than $3.8 billion, of which very little funding has already been secured. The alignment could also require taking portions or all of 81 private properties through eminent domain.

Unlike extensions such as the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), however, the public comments and board director reaction turned into what Board Chair James Fang dubbed a "massive love fest."

Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena lauded BART staff for listening to local concerns and adding a new route based on feedback. "Today marks the most significant milestone to making BART to Livermore a reality," said Kamena.

Nancy Bankhead, who was born and raised in Livermore, said her mother moved to the city in the 1940s and paid the extra BART tax for 30 years without ever seeing the result of it. "I want to know what my taxpayer dollars are doing. We need BART to downtown," she said.

Even Director Radulovich, who has registered serious concerns with BART’s funding of extensions at the cost of core capacity and has been a staunch opponent of the OAC, gushed about the process and the outcome of the Livermore extension.

This alternative "furthers a lot of objectives the city of Livermore has: downtown revitalization, creating livable communities, protecting their orchards, vineyards and ranches from sprawl," said Radulovich. "This is the alternative that not only has the greatest environmental benefit, but creates the most value."

He went further to say that the process of working with the community should become the standard for other BART projects. While congratulating BART planner Malcolm Quinn, Radulovich said, "this has been great staff work. We’d love to see this caliber of staff work go toward looking at [infill] opportunities as well, so that every community that has opportunities to enjoy BART service, or better BART service, is able to partake of it."

  • twompsokill

    its kind of hard to be viewed as a distinguished force when one of your officers is on trial for shooting and killing an unarmed man. they have their work cut out for them, but i think they can pull it off. RIP Oscar Grant

  • Brandon

    BART should expand within San Francisco first, where their lines will turn a profit, and give them the financial stability they will need to operate the new line extensions, which will always cost more than they earn.

  • Daniel Krause

    Seem like an 11 mile extension should have more than two stations. Hopefully in the future they can add two or three more, all with transit-oriented development.

  • By the BART board’s logic, if BART to Livermore will generate an additional 31,900 trips per day, wouldn’t BART down Geary generate another 3,000,000 trips? You know, a dense urban environment where a subway actually makes sense? Don’t they want to maximize ridership?

  • Ryan

    It’s good to see a suburban extension with a proper terminus (the ace station) and a downtown station, something future lines should do. In this type of situation I think that longer distances btwn stations makes sense.

    That being said, I hope that Bart starts to prioritize core expansion, ESP Geary, before they look at more suburban lines. They also need to properly address future capacity concerns.

  • david vartanoff

    @Ryan, Of course the 31,000 # is bogus as are those for the SJ line, and the various wild estimates for the SFO line. That said, IF BART ever achieves a serious market share in the sprawlburbs, there will be no vapacity for the urban cores where most current riders are. There is very little unused capacity in the Transbay Tube in rush hour given BART’s inability to run headways achieved last century in both NYC and Chicago (without computers). The packed trains from the ‘burbs during the brief Bay Bridge outage displaced riders from the urban East Bay, causing some rider displeasure. Note that NO stations east of the hills achieve 6 digit ridership ## but several are in the bottom five.

  • Nay

    Has there been fundraising, fees or taxes to aid establishing the Geary station? As rude as the Livermore woman comes across in this article, she is right; Livermore has been taxed for a station for years in an effort to make it a reality.

  • Jo

    As for “I lived in Livermore and paid taxes for years” please!!! I have paid taxes and have never eaten dinner at the governor’s mansion; stayed in prison; or taken a ride on Air Force One EVEN THOUGH I pay taxes for all of this!

    If BART comes to Livermore, the Bankheads and every other resident of Livermore will face an additional tax, because there still is no money to build BART (and wouldn’t be if a hundred mamas paid for four hundred years, it is a government agency).

  • GoGregorio

    Nay,

    The part about being taxed for BART refers to all parts of Contra Costa, Alameda and San Francisco counties. They all pay a BART tax, so Geary has paid the same tax as Livermore. Actually, Geary has probably paid more, as the corridor served by a Geary BART line would probably serve far more taxpayers than the Livermore line.

  • Jo

    Livermore continues to bypass normal procedure and requirements and are currently getting ready to demand a “priority” status for VASCO.

    BART has not completed the studies or secured the right of way from UP…so a station may not be feasible.

    The BART EIR study suggest 30,000 riders plus, but check their math. What percentage of the 30k riders are the riders who are now getting on at Dublin or Pleasanton. Livermore station will not meet their stated goal without “cannabalizing” the number of riders from the other stations so it is not a net gain of 30k riders from the East Bay.

    To continue to prioritize building out without supporting, improving, and expanding the existing structure Geary station does not benefit the users of BART. Unless the stations are able to handle the traffic from the extensions, the riders of BART are not well served.

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