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Monday, August 22, 2016

EBI Pedestrian Path Now Requires Taxpayers Pony Up $1 Million

A 'Done Deal' Turns Into a 'Pie-In-The-Sky'

EBI Pedestrian Path Replacement to Cost More Than 
$1 Million 

News Analysis
On May 3rd the Emeryville City Council voted unanimously to amend our General Plan and Conditions of Approval for a private school to kill a needed pedestrian path in the Triangle neighborhood with promises to build a nearby and better replacement path sometime in the future.  A quick check into the costs associated with such a replacement (more than one million taxpayer dollars) however reveals a Council promise that will likely go unfulfilled.  And so the Emeryville City Council moved a much needed pedestrian infrastructure improvement from "in the bag" to "don't hold your breath".

Former Emeryville
John Fricke

Identified the need
for better pedestrian
connections in the
Triangle Neighborhood.
He net us $525,000.
At their May 3rd meeting the Emeryville City Council finally made it official; at the request of Escuela Bilingue Internacional (EBI), a private school at 4550 San Pablo Avenue on the hook for building a public pedestrian path on their land behind their facility, the so called EBI pedestrian path between 45th and 47th streets is now gone, their Conditions of Approval and our General Plan having been amended by the Council to kill the path forever.  A finding of fact was inexplicably presented and entered into the record that the elimination of the path will "enhance the neighborhood".  
The Council, historically none too fond of pedestrian and bike paths, regardless, affirmed the need for a path connecting the two streets and they have assured the citizens they will build a new path further to the east to a more mid-block site, the problem with the EBI Path having been its location they tell us; too close to San Pablo Avenue.  What the City Council hasn’t told us however, is that whereas the EBI Path was a ‘gimme’, fully funded by EBI itself, the proposed mid-block path replacement will need to be funded by the taxpayers.  Further, the Council has not released a timeline on when they intend on building the new path.  The EBI Path, if it hadn’t been eliminated, would be here and being used by the community now.

A pedestrian path at the EBI location was first brought to the fore by newly elected Councilman John Fricke, looking for ways to increase connectivity in the neighborhood in 2005.  The public thought so highly of his idea that they put it in the new General Plan along with a bike/ped path alongside of the Center of ‘Community’ Life that the City Council later eliminated (citing concern over gang rapists that frequently lurk on bike/ped paths).  The staff worked up a condition whereby any business newly locating and conducting a major remodel on the 4550 San Pablo Avenue building in question would be on the hook for building the path as part of a condition of approval.  A few years later, EBI having shown an interest in the site, entered into an agreement with the City of Emeryville to locate their school there and build the public pedestrian path.  EBI was irritated by the requirement to build the path even though they signed on to providing it and they made their grievances known to City Hall.  The Council, feeling their pain, voted to get rid of the path in 2012, presumably striking a blow against gang rapists trolling our bike/ped paths.  But the Council in their wisdom, kept EBI on the hook for the money in lieu of the path, determined to be $525,000.  That money was finally released in May after the Council amended the Conditions of Approval eliminating the path forever on the EBI site.

$525,000 In Lieu Of The Path…Sounds Like A Lot
The $525,000 the Council secured in the EBI negotiation in May has been set aside for the mid-block replacement path.  However it will not cover the added costs the City will incur by relocating it.  A breakdown shows a $1 million deficit at least.  Two existing homes, one on 47th Street and on directly behind it on 45th Street will need to be acquired by the City via eminent domain, torn down and then the path constructed.  A check of prices of homes in the Triangle neighborhood show an average of $700,000 to $800,000 for a total of about $1.5 million.  Combined with demolition and construction costs, the total approaches $2 million leaving a balance of at least $1 million perhaps as much as $1.5 million after the $525,000 credit is factored in.

Red Ink
The numbers show how little the $525,000 the City received will go in building a replacement path. Comparable Triangle Neighborhood home prices are from Zillow and other expenses are approximate:


Buy Houses $1.5 million 
Demolition $50,000
Construct Path $250,000
Total $1.8 million


Residents would be advised to question the City Council about how the public is being served by letting a needed pedestrian connection for the Triangle Neighborhood completed now and funded by agreement with a private party turn into a deal that puts us in the hole to the tune of $1 million +, done by hostile eminent domain destruction of established historic single family homes and completed in the distant future, if at all.


  1. Gang rapists? Where's that coming from? Why's that in the story?

    1. I understand your does seem like a non-sequitur. Please follow the links I provided. I remind readers of the extreme bigotry Nora Davis and her colleagues have against bike/ped paths. The people of Emeryville said loud and clear they want bike/ped paths. The City Council on the other hand really isn't interested....that's newsworthy.

  2. Had it in the can and then they gave it away. Why? Where's the accountability?Thanks for reporting this Tattler. You couldn't read this anywhere else. The council sure wouldn't tell us and the Eville Eye blog guy wouldn't report this. All he's interested in is the latest ramen shop opening. Keep up the good work keeping them honest Emeryville Tattler!