At the first of three environmental impact report (EIR) public hearing organized by BART a lot of people seemed afraid that a downtown station would change Livermore to the worse and increase crime. One teenage girl – clearly indoctrinated by mom – broke out in tears as she envisioned BART bringing muggers and rapists to Livermore.
Yet, a pure highway alignment along I-580 is something that i – and all urban planners and city officials i talked to – strongly dislike because it would mean to repeat the mistakes of (auto-centric) planning in the past. A BART station in downtown Livermore presents a unique opportunity to create a wonderful walkable community around downtown setting a textbook example for sustainable transit oriented planning in America. I already love what the City has done during the redevelopment efforts of the past few years that have converted downtown from a four-lane freeway to a welcoming and cute destination. But it is still a downtown on life-support. There is no sustainable traffic throughout the day to support the kind of business you expect to find in a healthy downtown: produce stalls, a delicatessen, a small grocery store, a bakery, a cheese store, or a butcher. Try to buy a carton of eggs or a loaf of bread in downtown. Impossible. Fortunately i got my three minutes of rallying support for a downtown Livermore station and my comments were picked up by reporters of the contra costa times, the independent news, and the pleasanton weekly.