El Cerrito residents worry about loss of BART parking if Plaza Station redeveloped

Friday, October 4, 2019
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Some BART riders worry that the expansive surface parking lots at El Cerrito's Plaza station will someday become a thing of the past.

EL CERRITO, Calif. (KGO) -- Some BART riders worry that the expansive surface parking lots at El Cerrito's Plaza Station will someday become a thing of the past.

"There's already a parking shortage," said Dodi Marosi, a regular BART rider. Marosi is concerned that BART's planned Transit Oriented Development -- which calls for replacing surface parking with high density housing -- will essentially wipe out most, if not all, of the Plaza Station's current 750 spaces.

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"There would be no parking for those of us who live 10 or 12 blocks away and utilize BART three to five days a week and need a way to get here," said Marosi.

BART director Rebecca Saltzman, who lives in El Cerrito and commutes to her job in San Francisco, told ABC7 News that the residents' fears about losing parking are premature.

BART has rolled out an expansive TOD plan that calls for the construction of 7,000 affordable housing units on BART property by 2040. At least 20 percent of units at any given station must be affordable, or 35 percent overall.

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Demolition of the parking lot at the Walnut Creek station is now underway, but there BART committed to replacing 100 percent of the parking, although much of it is committed to monthly permit holders.

At the Plaza Station, BART has made no such promise and there is no required minimum number of replacement spaces.

BART's long-term vision relies on a growing number of riders walking and biking to stations, taking other forms of transit, or living close by, including in newly-constructed high-density housing.

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Some worry BART's plan may actually force all those cars that can't park back out on the road or into the surrounding neighborhood.

"It's just going to put more of a burden on this neighborhood, close to BART," said Marosi.

BART is holding a community meeting and open house on the the proposed development of the Plaza BART station Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Hana Gardens Senior Center, 10870 San Pablo Avenue.

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