The Eden Area Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) is moving toward becoming a reality as Castro Valley and all of the Eden Area’s official voice with the Alameda County Board of Supervisors (BOS) on bike & pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements. The proposed BPAC will come before the Alameda County Unincorporated Services Committee (Supervisors Nate Miley and Wilma Chan) as an “action item” next Wednesday, January 23rd at 6:30pm at the Castro Valley Library. We need your presence and voices to help support this idea.
This is a critical time in the area of bike/ped safety improvement planning, as the draft update to the Bike/Ped Master Plan (the Plan) is currently pending – and this Plan provides the “wish list” for the next 10 years for any improvements we could ever hope for.
To date, Castro Valley has had representation through the Castro Valley BPAC – which is advisory only, and reports to the Director of Alameda County Public Works Agency (PWA). And, historically, PWA has allowed the CV MAC to weigh heavily on important projects (like the Plan update). The MAC has shown themselves to be uninformed in matters regarding bike/ped safety, including how critical it is to improve safety for students & other community members to feel comfortable riding bikes in and through our community. The MAC has been helpful in pushing for pedestrian improvements, but has asked PWA to summarily remove any proposed improvements for biking from the Plan update. Only through increasing the number of pedestrians and bike riders will we address all those areas critical to the sustainability of our community – including improving health, expanding access to the downtown (including the new Marketplace) beyond the available parking spaces, reducing greenhouse gases (thus reaching climate action targets), improving access to/from our BART station, etc. The proposed Eden Area BPAC would report to the BOS – giving it real “teeth” and the ability to speak to the body that oversees PWA. This is a huge step toward allowing the communities of Castro Valley and all of the Eden Area to have a real voice in how bike/ped funds are spent and projects designed in our communities.
In addition, at present, the CVBPAC seems to have been abandoned by PWA since the tragic loss of Paul Keener, PWA’s Sr. Planner who facilitated the CVBPAC and essentially all of the bike/ped programming for much of unincorporated Alameda County. Thus, we currently have no representation at all on matters regarding bike/ped safety & accessibility. We run the risk of having the Plan update permanently watered down, and the voice of our community evaporated. The Eden Area BPAC can not only turn this around, but vastly improve our influence and outlook.
We hope you’ll join us next Wednesday night, 1/23 at 6:30pm at the CV Library to ensure that Supervisors Miley and Chan hear directly from you that the new Eden Area BPAC is important to our community. Please share with your friends & neighbors as well. Hope to see you there!