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Sunday, June 30, 2013

School District: Won't Build Bike/Pedestrian Path, "Too Late"

Pool Deck & Rapists Are Out, 
Now it's the Running Track
and the Cost

Bike/Ped Path Can't Be Built Because......

First the Emery Unified School District told us that they can't construct a required bike/pedestrian path adjacent to the school at the incipient Center of Community Life because the path would constrict an existing pool deck to such an extent as to render the pool useless and besides the path would be crawling with pedophiles and drug dealers waiting to prey on the children they told us.  Now they're telling us there's no room for the path because it would constrict a proposed running track at the school.  Oh and they forgot to mention earlier, they say they can't afford to build the path anyway.

Emeryville City Councilwoman
Jennifer West:

Now we know the pool 

deck argument was a 
School District ruse
The flip flop by the School District was revealed Tuesday when Emeryville's Bicycle Pedestrian Committee held a special field trip meeting at the site of the required path.
The School District had repeatedly told the people of Emeryville the pool deck was too small to shave away even a little to make room for the bike path (called the ECCL Path) but as the committee members Tuesday saw for themselves how truly large the existing pool deck really is, suddenly the School District Staff members and School Board members attending the meeting switched tactics and told the Committee members now it's the running track that 's going to be too cramped to accommodate the bike/ped path.
Council member Jennifer West, noting the reversal took the opportunity to look on the bright side, "The good news is at least now we don't have to worry about the pool deck any longer" she told the attendees.

The pool deck issue settled, the assembled School District staff and School Board members are now turned their focus on the yet to be built running track at the future school; there's simply no room for the bike/ped path they took pains to reveal at the Tuesday meeting.  The ECCL Path will take away two lanes rendering the track useless they said but left unmentioned was the fact that the School District selected the San Pablo Avenue site for the Center of Community Life years ago and they designed the whole site including the track with afore knowledge that the ECCL Path would have to be located there.  After the site was selected, it should be noted, the District went into attack mode against any naysayers who claimed the site was too small.
At this late date, with the design set in stone, the ECCL Path cannot be built, it's too late and the site cannot be redesigned said Mark Seiberlich, chief architect for the Center of Community Life,  "The [bike/ped] path takes up too much space and we must remove two track lanes" he added.

School District architect
Mark Seiberlich:

It's too late to redesign...
"The bike/ped path takes up
too much space"
After disparaging comments from the School Superintendent Debbra Lindo, excoriating the Bike/Ped Committee for their recalcitrance on this path,  one Committee member, exasperated by such talk told the assembled throng because of a lack of planning on the part of the District, "we're now being made to feel guilty for throwing the children under the bicycles wheels".  The idea was floated that the running track would be built whole now but two lanes of it would be removed later with the possible inclusion of the bike/ped path when the District builds out phase 2 of the project, but the idea was summarily rejected by Committee members as not credible.

Amid a plethora of challenging questions from disbelieving Bike/Ped Committee members, School Board member Josh Simon moved the conversation away from the intractable running track issue.  After suggesting there might be a yet to be revealed way to fit a bike/ped path in,  he lamented the high cost of the ECCL Path.  Mr Simon told the meeting attendees that the School District was not going to build the ECCL path during 'phase 1' construction of the Center of Community Life but perhaps a path could be build during phase 2, someday in the future.
But it's the high cost of building the required path that's got the School Board vexed he told the Committee members, "The reason we pushed the ECCL Path into phase 2 is the cost" Board member Simon said.  Emeryville residents will remember this School Board said the amount of money the District can raise through selling bonds is enough to build the whole Center of Community Life, an "exceptional" community facility they assured us.

This required bike/ped path really has the Emery School District grasping at straws.  After pleading with the Planning Commission and the City Council to reject the path by telling lies about the size of the pool deck and raising the specter of looming rapists and drug dealers, now they're pivoting and delivering this running track poppycock.  Their performance drew the ire of former School Board President Cheryl Webb who attended the meeting, "disingenuous" she said of the staff and Board members.
Former  School Board
President (resigned)
Cheryl Webb:

The District is

After showing us they have no compunction about lying to the people of Emeryville, this School District is now preparing to build a school and community center at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.  It's not inspiring a lot of confidence. Emeryville taxpayers would be right to be concerned.
But the School District doesn't have a choice about this path; they are required to build it.  It's the expressed will of the people of Emeryville as revealed by our award winning General Plan and as specifically codified by the City Council's ruling after hearing the School District's lamentable case against the path.
It should also be noted the General Plan says the Center of Community Life is a "pedestrian priority zone".  And so now is the time to build it, when the Center of Community Life is being built, now, not perhaps if Josh Simon can figure a way to do it at some unspecified later date.

We grow tired of all the chicanery and outright lies from this District about this issue.  It's been a litany; the bogus claim of the too small pool deck from District architect Roy Miller, the rapists and drug dealers, the cost and now this absurd claim the running track will be negatively impacted.  This School District, we now know, purposely designed this Center of Community Life behind closed doors over the years without the required bike/ped path.  Any talk now about it being too late is insulting to the people of Emeryville.  We remind the School District that they need to build this school and community center for ALL the stakeholders in the community, including the bicyclists and the pedestrians.  Once again, absurdly, this District and this School Board shows us they don't know the meaning of community as they build the Center of Community Life.


  1. Your comment that the school district can't afford to build the path is untrue. They can afford to build it they just don't want to.

    1. That's a good point...I tried to make it obvious the Board isn't interested in spending the money on the path by the recounting of the bond money raised for the ECCL whole community project.

  2. How can we show our support for the bicycle path? IMO, the path will establish a positive connection between the school and the community by bringing bike riders ( an overall healthy and harmless population) to the area.

  3. Note to the Readers-
    I changed the story at the behest of the above commenter (last sentence, 1st paragraph) to: "they SAY THEY can't afford to build the path..."

    Thanks to the reader who alerted me.

  4. Kudos to Brian for all the reporting on the School Board. No one is letting us know what's going on except for you. Some may say they don't have kids (me) and they don't care about the schools but we all are involved in this one way or another. We're paying for it remember. But also we should expect better from OUR schools. At least we shouldn't be lied to. Keep it up Brian.

  5. If indeed the bike path would cut into the track then I say screw the bike path. I think a track program at the school is more important. Unfortunately this is one more of many examples of poor planning and little foresight on the part of the District.
    On a side note..I was at CVS the other day and right there on the new bike path and picnic table were two street people having sex and doing their business right in the open behind Arizmendi. It was 11 am and it was disgusting. I have to admit that the bike paths around San Pablo do attract an undesirable population. My wife is a regular jogger and she does not at all feel safe on that stretch of path even though it is in pretty much in full view of the parking lot. It sucks but it is the reality of Life around San Pablo Ave. If you're going to provide paths around that area then they better be policed...and that co$t$ money.