BART to pitch collaboration


Graphic by Bertha Aguilar

BART is proposing a collaboration in which the new center would be located near BART property.

The president of Bay Area Rapid Transit’s Board of Directors thinks he has a better idea for the location of the new LMC Brentwood Center that would benefit both students and BART.

BART Board President Joel Keller is scheduled to make a formal presentation to the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board at its Sept. 10 meeting in Martinez.

According to District Governing Board President John Marquez, Keller’s presentation is about “the idea of trading the Brentwood site to a different location within Brentwood near a proposed eBART station.”

Land has already been purchased by the district in East Brentwood, near Marsh Creek Road and the Highway 4 Bypass, with the intention of using it as the site of a new 17-acre campus for the Brentwood Center.

Bond Measure E, a $450 million general obligation bond, was approved by voters on June 3, allowing the district to move ahead with plans for the new campus. This summer the district started the bidding process for choosing an architect to design the building and site (see accompanying article).

BART was waiting for the bond to pass before approaching the district with its idea of swapping the current site for the new Brentwood Center campus to a new site that would be located next to a future eBART station, said District Board Trustee Greg Enholm.

When Keller found out the district was moving ahead with its plans, he met with Marquez and District Chancellor Helen Benjamin July 25 to float the idea of an alternative site and determine whether or not the board would consider moving at this stage in the process.

“It seemed an opportune time to raise the issue about whether or not the site that’s been selected is the best possible site for the future,” said Keller.

The possible location for a new eBART station would be along Highway 4, between Sand Creek Road and Lone Tree Way, by the Mokelumne Trail near Home Depot.

“We did an extension study and it showed that there was feasibility to put a station on either the east side or west side of Highway 4 in the vicinity of Mokelumne Trail,” Keller explained.

In the morning most of BART’s traffic is heading west and then east again in the evening, said Enholm. During mid-day there aren’t a lot of passengers traveling on BART, so BART officials are hoping that if LMC collaborates with them they will be able to increase the number of riders during these off hours.

In addition there are benefits for students. Finding parking at the LMC Pittsburg campus and enduring heavy traffic create unnecessary obstacles, especially when students are traveling from one campus to the other, trying to get to class on time. Keller and Enholm both agree this would not only give students another option for getting to school but also help them get there on time.

Enholm said he and Keller met with two officials from Tri-Delta Transit Aug. 27 to discuss the original site the district chose for the new Brentwood Center campus and the one BART will be proposing at the Sept. 10 district board meeting.

“They both love the proposed central site, both for students and for the community at large in terms of efficient bus scheduling,” said Enholm.

Enholm added that the possible introduction of a shuttle bus from the new eBART station on Railroad Avenue to Pittsburg’s LMC, and a proposed new Park-N-Ride near the Mokelumne Trail, would make travel between the two campuses more convenient, even before the Brentwood eBart is completed.

“It would be a great opportunity to link transit and a college campus,” said Keller, adding that increasing BART’s ridership is also always their goal. “It just seems like good planning if it’s possible to move into that direction at this point.”

The proposal would need to be evaluated by the board and they would need to take into account the difference of the cost to move the site, said LMC President Bob Kratochvil. There has been no evaluation or details given yet.

“I can’t tell you what the price would be or how much it would cost or not cost but the first step is to assess whether the college board is interested in pursuing this idea,” said Keller, who will respect whatever decision the board makes. “If it’s too late, it’s too late.”

If you would like to know more about the BART proposal or voice you your opinion about which site you prefer for the Brentwood Center, please go to the informational meeting Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. on the sixth floor of the George R. Gordon Education Center, 500 Court St, Martinez.