April 16, 2018
Via U.S. Mail and Email: email@example.com
Tri Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority
1362 Rutan Court, Suite 100
Livermore, CA 94551
Re: Ace to Bart Light Rail Connection, Tracy Stop
I am writing to you on behalf and at the request of our Tracy City Center Association Board of Directors. At our DISI subcommittee meeting on April 5, 2018 we were briefed (by City of Tracy Councilwoman Veronica Vargas) on two (Ellis vs. Downtown Tracy) stop locations being considered for the proposed ACE to Bart light rail connection. As a property-based improvement district (PBID) representing Downtown Tracy, we wholeheartedly want to make clear our unified support for a Downtown Tracy stop at the existing, purpose built, multi-modal station (Tracy Transit Station) in the Union Pacific “bowtie” area at our southern boundary near 6th Street and Central Avenue.
As a stakeholder group of property owners, merchants, and citizens in Downtown Tracy we view this light rail connection as much more than just a train stop. Locating this stop downtown will have a once in a generation trickle down effect on three fronts: improved infrastructure/access, a stimulus for transformational development (both commercial and residential), and the leveraging of existing and future facilities to their best and highest use.
The merits of a downtown stop (using existing facilities with room for ample parking lots/structure) and the fear of it being bypassed once again (as it was with ACE, and High-Speed Rail) were discussed in an April 6, 2018 editorial (attached) written by Tracy Press publisher emeritus Sam Matthews. We, as a community, have made and prioritized a tremendous investment in downtown facilities (City Hall, Transit Station, 6th Street Plaza & Roundabout, Grand Theatre Center for the Arts, streetscape improvements, public parking facilities, festival lighting) in excess of $100 million. The private sector is doing its part with the adaptive reuse of existing/historic buildings, bringing in new retailers and restaurants, leveraging downtown’s social value with events and activities, and an unprecedented (since 2010) self-imposed tax assessment on downtown properties to be certain that Downtown Tracy thrives going forward. An integrated light rail stop downtown would add another critical piece of the overall plan to re-emphasize downtown as Tracy’s heart and soul.
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Some clear advantages to focusing on a Downtown Tracy stop include:
- Downtown Tracy is already an extremely efficient land use form that minimizes It is relatively compact and walkable, and portions of the Union Pacific “bowtie” area could be used to supplement existing walking paths, and provide space for dual use weekday commuter parking and night/weekend event parking for large events at both the 6th Street Plaza and Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.
- Downtown Tracy represents an enormous amount of investment already in place: infrastructure, historic buildings, public facilities.
- Downtown Tracy attracts and cultivates independent, locally owned businesses. Rent structures and opportunities for startup businesses tend to be more attainable. Downtown facilitates that elusive entrepreneurial spirit we are so eager to capture.
- Downtown Tracy is a job creator, and a natural incubator for small business. “Location neutral” businesses are locating to downtowns at unprecedented rates, and help fill upper-floor, old warehouse and other unique downtown locations that “traditional” retailers/businesses may shy away from.
- Downtown Tracy already has a significant inventory of adjacent affordable housing stock that is, in many cases, in desperate need of renovation/upgrades. The availability of nearby public transit has been shown to increase property values, allowing these renovations/upgrades to make financial sense.
- Downtown Tracy is already working on various projects that can bring higher density residential that is considerably more affordable than what is available in other parts of the city.
- Downtown Tracy is already centrally located with opportunities to enhance easy ingress/egress along 6th
- Downtown Tracy is not dependent on ten years of anticipated growth, it is here and present now. A future stop at Ellis could be accommodated at a later date.
Attached is City of Tracy Council Resolution 2010-30 (May 16, 2010) directing staff to pursue Downtown Tracy as the preferred stop for California’s High-Speed Rail service in Tracy, emphasizing its “transformative benefits and regional connectivity”. That resolve must be carried forward and applied to the current proposed ACE to Bart light rail extension.
Also attached is a recent (April 15, 2018) San Francisco Chronicle article emphasizing smart land use for urban type smart growth within the City of Truckee, and how their (similar to Tracy) railyard
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project challenges have been overcome by integrating more affordable housing components, and modern development, while at the same time maintaining its historic core.
We are asking for your support and assistance in promoting Downtown Tracy as the best regional option for an ACE to Bart light rail connection stop.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions, concerns, or clarification.
Tracy City Center Association
Encl: Downtown is Right for Light Rail – Tracy Press
Council Resolution 2010-030 – City of Tracy
Smart, Urban Development is Transforming Truckee – San Francisco Chronicle
Cc: Tracy City Council
Bob Elliott, San Joaquin County Supervisor
Randall Bradley, Interim City of Tracy Manager
Kuldeep Sharma, Interim City of Tracy Assistant Manager
Andrew Malik, City of Tracy Development Services Director
Scott Haggerty, Alameda County Supervisor
Susan Talamantes Eggman, California Assemblymember
Cathleen Galgiani, California State Senator
Catharine Baker, California Assemblymember