Health is a core tenet of the Great Communities Collaborative: research has shown that households located near high-quality transit have higher rates of walking and biking, lower likelihood of being overweight or obese, and lower risks of life threatening, obesity-related diseases for residents.
The GCC puts this data into action through its advocacy on local planning. In the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Master Plan, working toward a healthier community emerged as a primary campaign goal. Campaign partners TransForm, a regional transit and land use advocacy organization, and La Clinica De La Raza, a family health clinic based in the East Bay, advocated for a plan that would transform the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station—located in the median of a freeway, flanked by a massive surface parking lot—into a walkable, healthy, community-serving transit hub. The campaign platform addressed a range of issues, but specific to health, TransForm and La Clinica advocated for:
- Good circulation within the plan area
- Strong connections to surrounding area for buses, bicyclists and pedestrians
- Pedestrian safety, and lowered parking requirements to encourage alternative modes of transportation.
Adopted in 2011, the plan reflects the campaign goal of creating a walkable community through specific design interventions. The plan proposes re-designing the BART entrance to include plazas, green space and “shared spaces” created by design standards and textured pavers that calm car traffic to benign speeds and create connections to from the BART station to the surrounding areas. The plan also proposes parking maximums, particularly innovative for suburban area, provision of bicycle parking as well as requiring developers to conduct a comprehensive parking demand management to lower the amount of space dedicated to parking.
Due to the persistence of the campaign partners advocating for the incorporation of the needs of Spanish-speaking community, the plan requires bilingual wayfinding on BART-owned property. And to ensure connectivity through the area, the plan outlines rigorous design standards for transparent building frontage and a mix of uses—a striking different from the typical development pattern of Pittsburg.
Taken together, all these design elements will encourage pedestrian and bicyclist use of the space and link residents with transit without the need for a car. Through this plan, the GCC’s campaign partners have laid the rails toward a healthier Pittsburg.