Thursday, February 28, 2019

PRNC votes to oppose BNSF plan to run diesel trains in Miller Knox Regional Park

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council unanimously approved a motion Wednesday night opposing a plan by Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad (BNSF) to run diesel engines and railcars through Miller Knox Regional Park along the shoreline to Ferry Point.
     The details of the Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad's plans were revealed in a presentation by Carol Johnson of the East Bay Regional Park District and Eric Zell of Point Richmond. Zell is working with the district opposing BNSF's plans.

The tracks - and trains - would run along the shoreline to the right
     Johnson told the PRNC that the park district is moving ahead with a land use plan amendment (LUPA) for improving the heavily-used, 295-acre park.
     The improvements planned include a major sprucing up of the lagoon (including dredging), construction of more parking and picnic areas as well as adding a promenade-path from Ferry Point to the lagoon trail.
     But the district's plans are bumping into claims by BNSF that the corporation owns the rights along the shore to use it for a rail line - and the company plans to do so soon.
     "BNSF has not recently operated trains within the easement area, but it has notified the Park District of its expanding business at Richmond Terminal, necessitating the reactivation of its rail use within the easement in the near future," attorney L. John Nelson IV said in a letter to the district dated Oct. 9, 2018.
     Nelson is with the legal firm of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith representing BNSF.
     The detailed letter - laced with legal citations - attacks the assumptions and conclusions of a draft environmental impact report on the Miller Knox regional shoreline plan amendment.
     East Bay's Johnson said the park district is contesting BNSF's contention that it still owns the tracks all the way to ferry point - and the corporation's stated intention of reopening and reusing the rail line.
     She said the district is already battling with the railroad corporation on the legal front, but needs public help and support.
     The multi-clause motion approved Wednesday by the PRNC includes language opposing BSNF's track renovation plans, supports the park district's land use plan amendment, asks the City of Richmond to investigate ongoing problems with BNSF trains on tracks at West Richmond Avenue and directs the PRNC board to send a delegate to the March 19 East Bay Regional Park board meeting to support the proposed improvements to Miller Knox.

The proposed BNSF railroad and tracks would run along the bay shoreline on the right

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Update tonight on railcars in Miller Knox

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will hear an update from Carol Johnson of the East Bay Regional Park District about plans by BNSF railroad to move railcars through Miller Knox Park.
     The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center and is open to the public.
     Johnson's report on BNSF's plans is scheduled to be given at approximately 7:45.
     At an earlier meeting of the PRNC, Johnson informed the group of BNSF's plans. Tonight's report is an update and expected to have more details.
   The full agenda for tonight's meeting is below.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Terminal One shoreline parking at issue

   POINT RICHMOND - The Bay Conservation and Development Commission's public hearing on the proposed 316-unit Terminal One housing project adjacent to the Richmond Yacht Club and Miller Knox Regional Park has been delayed until April.
     The BCDC has requested additional information about public parking from the developers of the project (Laconia) - and the City of Richmond.
Terminal One site, adjacent to the Richmond Yacht Club
     BCDC "asked the applicants to provide further information regarding the use of on-street parking as well as parking at nearly public access areas," Rebecca Coates-Muldoon of the BCDC said.
     Additionally, the BCDC wants to know of any measures being taken by the developers to "encourage public use for shoreline access and discourage use by residents and their guests."
     The delay in holding a public hearing to April may be partly an outgrowth of concerns raised by the Brickyard Cove Alliance for Responsible Development (BCARD) in addition to BCDC's analyses.
     In a letter to BCDC, BCARD member Brian Lewis outlined a series of the group's concerns about the proposed parking plan and existing parking issues. He included a video exhibit for BCDC to consider: BCARD video of traffic.
     "It will only be worse with the residents at Terminal One," he wrote,
     Of major concern is the planned lack of public parking along the proposed Shoreline Drive.
     "I suspect Terminal One is wanting to preserve the views from the homes and condos without cars," Lewis wrote, He noted that if it is allowed, it is a major change along the Point Richmond waterfront.
     "Every HOA in this area has on-street parking next to the water. Even San Francisco has street parking along the Embarcadero."
     Because the Terminal One project still needs finish up obtaining permits and is unlikely to receive them until fall of 2019, construction is now predicted to begin in 2021.

This map shows Shoreline Drive and the public park and pier.