John Chernowski, who has spent 22 years at Berkeley Lab in a number of positions, has recently taken over as Senior Manager, Transportation and Parking Demand after spending six months as the interim transportation manager. At the Lab, the transportation manager is responsible for, among other matters, parking and shuttle services and the challenges they bring.
In our Three Questions For (3Q4) series, we asked John for an update on transportation initiatives implemented in the past few months, and what is on the horizon as more employees take up residence on the hill.
Elements: You were interim transportation manager for six months, so you must have had a taste of the particular challenges of this job. Knowing that, why did you apply for the job of transportation manager? To put it differently, what were you thinking?
John Chernowski: I’ve been in unpopular roles at the Lab, so I know I can handle the brickbats that may come my way. I took on the interim function because I thought I could help the Lab address a challenge that’s plagued us for some time. As I reached out for solutions, I quickly realized that I had a built-in support structure from all the relationships that I’ve established over the years who were willing to collaborate on solutions.
Elements: What are the changes that you’ve made in the past few months that have made the most impact on commuting, and how is the Lab staff embracing these changes?
Chernowski: I think the biggest change that we’ve made is establishing a regular and ongoing dialog with the Lab community. This has provided a great forum for understanding challenges, harvesting suggestions, and building trust as we work together to improve our commute options. New shuttle routes, carpool spaces, and bike racks are all the result of the Lab’s community input.
Elements: The shuttles seem to have more riders. What is driving that, and what changes are coming up to improve the rider experience on the shuttles?
Chernowski: We’ve seen a solid increase in ridership on the Rockridge BART, Potter Street, and North Berkeley BART routes over the last few months. This is driven largely by community suggestions and maps of our population distribution, while also ensuring that we’re using our funding responsibly. We’ve recently installed new and replacement bike racks, and we’ll soon upgrade our NextBus capabilities. Finally, we’ll continue to monitor our routes and times to best serve our riders.
For more information about transportation at Berkeley Lab, and to see the new transportation website, go to https://commute.lbl.gov/.