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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Emery-Go-Round Eligible To Receive $4 Million Grant

Emeryville's TMA Stands To Benefit

Emeryville's business/resident funded free bus shuttle, Emery-Go-Round is poised to pick up a nice financial boost if it partners with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to try to reduce vehicle use.
Re-printed from the Daily Californian:

Air quality district offers $4 million to promote decreased vehicle use

By J.D. Morris | Senior Staff
Monday, August 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the regional government agency that regulates sources of air pollution, is offering $4 million for ride sharing or shuttle services that promote decreased vehicle use.
As part of its efforts to diminish local air pollution, the air district will review applications and distribute the money on a first-come-first-serve basis beginning Thursday. Only public agencies are eligible.
“These are ride sharing projects that are meant to fill in existing needs … to make it more convenient so you can get on other buses, ferries and make it to a route station,” said air district spokesperson Ralph Borrmann.

Funding is made available through the district’s Transportation Fund for Clean Air, a grant program sustained by a $4 surcharge on vehicles in the Bay Area. The program generates about $22 million in revenue each year.
Berkeley does not have any projects that would be eligible for the funds, according to Farid Javandel, the city’s transportation manager.

The same goes for BART, which does not have the resources to manage shuttle services, according to BART spokesperson Luna Salaver.
“Instead, we are working with other entities to encourage them to apply for these grants,” Salaver said. “Once a grant is established, then we help promote the connections.”
One program that may be eligible for a portion of the $4 million offered by the district is the Emery Go Round, a free shuttle that connects Emeryville passengers to the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.
But Roni Hattrup, executive assistant for the Emeryville Transit Management Association, which manages the shuttle, said the association has yet to identify what projects it would seek to fund through the program.
“We have some ideas of what we want, but we have to determine if we’re asking for money for new buses or if we’re asking for money for bus shelters or something like that,” Hattrup said.

Even if Emery Go Round does decide to apply for the funds, it may not pan out because the association is a nonprofit, not a public agency. Still, Hattrup said the program may try to contract with the city of Emeryville, which she said would likely act as a “pastor agency” in order to gain eligibility.
Last year, when the district provided similar grants, it funded about 11 projects in another attempt to cut down on vehicle use — which accounts for over half of the Bay Area’s air pollution, according to Borrmann.
“The overall goal is to reduce air pollution and to encourage people to take transit by filling in the needs where they exist so people can make it to major buses, trains and ferries,” Borrmann said. “It makes it easier for residents to shift to transit and ride share and reduces the number of vehicles on the road.”

J.D. Morris is the lead environment reporter.


  1. This is super. If we get the new funds, can we add additional routes to make it more "resident friendly"? I've heard complaints from some that since the current system is funded by local businesses, route priority is given to serving the businesses, and some neighborhoods - even Jennifer West's, Ken's, and Ruth's own neighborhoods over by Doyle and Powell - are underserved, not to mention other parts of the City.

    And of course since the Go Round is free, it means AC Transit routes that serve more of the public become less profitable and are discontinued.

    I think the Go Round is great, but let's get the funding and tweak the routes.

  2. Awesome! The Emery-Go-Round is a great service.

    Just to be clear: no resident pays an assesment for the Emery-Go-Round through their taxes. HOAs, since they are a business, pay an assesment based on the square footage of property owned by the HOA (which is often minimal.) Multi-family residents ostensibly pay this assesment through their HOA dues. Redidents of single family units DO NOT pay for the Emery-Go-Round.

  3. I would have to disagree with the above statement. If you are a residential renter in Emeryville, you are paying for the Emerygoround service as your landlord passes on these additional taxes to their tenants. Nothing is truly free. Also, does the city run this or not? Seems like another non-profit scam. Next the Emerygoround will need their own police force to oversee their expansion.

  4. Not only to BART, Emery Go Round also connects to Amtrack bringing business commuters daily from as far away as Sacramento. Students and shoppers of all ages appreciate Emery Go Round as it helps keep Emeryville a good family friendly place to live.

    Thanks to Emery Go Round, we've wheeled our luggage to the corner stop, then caught BART to SFO for destinations world wide. AND, the return has been just as easy with friendly and reliable service. Love it!

  5. I hope they use the funds to buy electric powered buses which would reduce the pollution even more than hydrids and this would help stimulate the EV market.

  6. Here at the Tattler, we appreciate all comments however, there have been a couple of overwrought comments here from some Emery-Go-Round cheerleaders:
    For one, contrary to the painted graphics on the side of the Emery-Go-Round buses, the service is paid for by (some) residents in addition to businesses. The Emery-Go-Round would have you believe it is Emeryville businesses exclusively that pay for the service. This "oversight" feeds the pro-business (anti-resident) narrative here.

    Secondly, the idea that Emery-Go-Round helps keep Emeryville a good family friendly place to live is fatuous. For a different take on the relative family friendliness of Emeryville please read what the experts say on the subject in the June 5th Tattler story entitled "Scathing Emeryville Housing Report Released". The Emery-Go-Round may be a great thing and very capable but it can't help keep something that isn't there.

  7. Brian, you are again trying to mislead. When I commented before, I stated that some residents paid for Emery-Go-Round indirectly. My comment is 100% factual. It needs no clarification. It is true that residents do not pay for Emery-Go-Round through their own taxes and thus single family residents do not pay for Emery-Go-Round.

    1. OK, so here's an update in June 2012: This commenter is so sure of himself but we now come to find that indeed all taxpayer residents in Emeryville pay for the Emery Go Round. The Tattler broke that story open last month. City Hall is assessed for the service along with all property owners in the transportation district. This commenter's statement to the contrary is 100% incorrect.

  8. To the 8:23 commentor-
    I have no quibble with your points except to say that an HOA can't exist without home owners (residents). So residents do pay for the Emery-Go-Round. With your "multi-family" HOA fee comments, you have correctly said as much.

    Why, though, some may ask, is this being parsed with so much contention? Because for what ever reason, the Emery-Go-Round wants to acknowledge only that businesses pay for the bus service, not residents. This is evidenced by the painted graphics on every bus. We can only conjecture as to why the residents contributions are going unacknowledged. I would say it's part a larger and ongoing city-wide narrative issued from the Chamber of Commerce and City Hall about forwarding the ethos "What's good for business is good for Emeryville". This narritive feeds the long time City Hall serial dissmissal of residents who have the audacity to complain about negative business impacts in our town.

  9. "What's good for business" is clearly NOT good ALL THE TIME for residents.

    Conversely its not BAD all the time for residents.

    I disagree that being pro-business automatically and inevitably means anti-resident, or for that matter that being pro-resident means automatically being anti-business.

    Businesses and residents should be supportive of each other, not against each other. When they have conflicting agendas, both sides need a fair hearing since both sides are stakeholders. The classic problem is that residents' voices in isolation don't have the impact that money and clout at the disposal of business can have.

    That having been said, the pendulum was far too pro-development for too many years (the Nora years?). During the Fricke era the pendulum swung way too far the other side - at least if you measure it by packed City Hall meetings.

    To make REAL change you need to change the composition of the City Council by more than one seat at a time. It's going to take a lot more than one new voice on the City Council to change things, and if the Jac Asher supporter strategy is to get Jac on by booting Ken off, we will be no better off than we were before. Maybe worse, since Ken is quite a gadfly and change from Jennifer West's seat has been slow to manifest.

    If you want real change, make it big change.

  10. Would be nice to see Emery-Go-Round run a little more frequency, and split the Hollis Route again.
    One Bus that runs every 20 minutes serving the school, Pixar and Novartis just isn't feasible.
    I found myself waiting in line, watching one bus get loaded to an unsafe situation, and maybe I'll get lucky and get on the second bus that comes, some mornings I;ve had to wait for three buses.
    It has gotten to the point where it's quicker to walk, or to just cough up the 2 bucks and take AC Transit.