An appropriate day for a major victory declared for Bike & Pedestrian access throughout our city. Emeryville celebrated Bike to work day with the major announcement from Sacramento that the city had won its year-long legal battle with the state to recoup the redevelopment funds that had been set aside to fund the Bay St. Bridge. Council Member Jennifer West announced through her blog that an arbitrator had sided with the City’s claim to keep these funds. In addition, it was announced at last Tuesday’s city council meeting that the Alameda CTC has chosen to support the Christie Ave/Bay Trail Gap closure project amongst its priority items for 2013. These two projects combined with the pending East Fork Bay Bridge bike connector have Emeryville poised to become a major hub of bicycle connectivity in the East Bay … now if only we had a bike shop in our city (If you know an ambitious entrepreneur, I have a great spot picked out!). Great news for Bicyclists & Pedestrians and great news for Emeryville!
Per Council Member Jennifer West’s Blog:
Yesterday the City of Emeryville had a real victory! We won our litigation against the State of California, who had denied our use of Redevelopment funds to pay for the South Bayfront Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge and Horton Landing Park, after the dissolution of redevelopment. It is a long and complicated story, but the short version for now is that the Department of Finance, which insisted on us turning over funds set aside for the Bike Ped bridge connecting Stanford and 53rd St. (east of the railroad tracks) with Bay St. (west of the tracks), lost, and the City of Emeryville, the residents of Emeryville, have won! This is a wonderful decision that came on a day of celebrating bikes and connectivity with Bike to Work Day, May 9, 2013.
The Bridge had been planned over the past 10 years or so, and was ready to go to bid for construction 2 years ago when redevelopment was ended by the state. I hope that with this decision the city can move quickly on getting the project over the train tracks moving again. Having a better connection with Bay St. will be a huge asset for the retail area, the residents, employees, and for the region. With improvements coming soon for the Bay Trail through town, and with the bike and pedestrian access to the new east span of the Bay Bridge being worked on right now, this sorely needed bike link will be important for our town.
[UPDATE] The State has appealed this lower court decision out of fear of setting a precedent for other redevelopment projects to recoup their funding and a California Courts of Appeal date has been established for late 2014 with a final decision expected early 2015.