BART on Its Way to Berryessa

High-speed rail looks like it’s on the fast track to nowhere as more people speak out against the project, while the BART system received some excellent news earlier this week. The Federal Transit Administration sent word earlier this week to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority that $900 million in federal funding has been recommended for approval. Construction crews could break ground as soon as this spring on a 10-mile extension that would take trains into the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The $2.3 billion San Jose extension will be built by the authority then incorporated into the BART system. It will start at the end of the Warm Springs extension, now under construction and expected to be completed in 2014, and reach 10 miles into Santa Clara County, ending, for now, on the east side of San Jose. Two stations are planned - one in Milpitas near the Great Mall with the other at the end of the line in the Berryessa neighborhood, across the street from the San Jose Flea Market.

“The authority last month awarded a contract to build the extension, which could be completed by the end of 2016. A second phase, taking the extension another 6 miles into downtown San Jose and Santa Clara, would follow when funding is available.

“Aside from the federal funding, the bulk of the extension and the cost of operating it will be paid for by sales taxes approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2000 and 2008. About $649 million will come from the state.”

Congress will have 60 days to review the recommendation, which seems to be a sure bet. Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, says Congress shouldn’t think twice about approving the project because “there are very solid reasons this project has been supported by the leaders of the Silicon Valley economy for the past 12 years.”

That hasn’t always been the case, of course. Guardino and San Jose City Councilmember Pete Constant had their own battle over BART, which ended in public apologies.

Also announced Thursday, BART will receive some sleek new trains to replace what has become the “oldest rail fleet in the nation.”

The Chronicle’s Michael Cabanatuan reports, “The first cars are expected to arrive in September 2016 with the last of the batch arriving by the end of 2018. All 775 cars would be delivered by 2023.”

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

17 Comments

  1. Hold on a sec….I don’t know ONE resident of San Jose who uses Bart. Come to think of it, look at all of the areas immediately surrounding Bart. High Crime is the common factor. Yeah that’s what SJ needs, more crime.
    When will the media get a clue? SJ will NEVER come out of SF’s shadow. People will not flock to Bart. Look at light rail. 17% are working professionals the rest of the ridership is well…not. Yeah let’s subsidize Bart the way we subsidize LR. As if money wasn’t tight enough.
    Then again, if we keep building “affordable housing” (AKA ‘the Projects’) then Bart will mesh well with the high crime that alone brings in. Awesome.

      • Yes it does. I lived in Alameda County for years. The daily ridership is decidedly a rough crowd. But hey, you are the exception to the rule. Smile….while your wallet falls out because your pants stuck to your filthy seat. Don’t step in the gum or on the used condoms on the floor while you get off at your stop.

    • I don’t know a San Jose resident who uses a jet pack, or cheers for the San Jose A’s or rides high-speed rail.

      You think the reason you might not know an SJ resident who uses BART is because BART doesn’t go to SJ? If BART did go to SJ, I’m sure people would use it more.

    • High crimes are everywhere and you won’t even know it until it happens. BART or any means of transportation are needed where people live. One good thing BART or SAM TRANS is keeping more drivers off the busy streets. That’s where the crimes at. Speeders, Reckless Drivers and inconsiderate near miss accidents ready to happen. Keep our Roads and Highways safe. Take the Bus or Train.

  2. Thankfully the shame train is going to stop on Reed’s doorstep. When we open the gap between SJ and the east bay dope dealers, robbers, and thugs in general they’ll have a direct route to SJ to spread their brand of mayhem. I don’t know anyone who wants anything to do with the east bay, but I’m sure we’ll prove a niche market for their exports.

    At least it’ll stop on Chuck’s doorstep. Let him deal with the aftermath. If his house isn’t underwater yet, it will be.

    • Chuck Reed lives in the hills three or four miles from the BART station, way up hill from Old Piedmont Road.  The problem is not visitors using BART, however.  It will be the BART guards who lack training in law enforcement practices who will bring problems to the site of the displaced Berryessa Flea Market.

      No one should get excited about the economic benefits to Berryessa or San Jose so far as that is concerned.  Take a good look at the barren area surrounding the BART station in Fremont separated from downtown Fremont by tall residential towers facing away from that BART station.  Planners’ promises of a new urban village around the BART station in Berryessa with various types of residences and shops will never happen.  Neither will what the planning department calls “bustle” on sidewalks and shopping areas.

      The planning department promised “bustle” (they like the word) on the sidewalks for the development on Capitol Avenue and Baton Rouge seven years ago…didn’t happen, no one believed it would happen.  The planners who bring these transit development “visions” off the drawing board into reality are stubbornly reluctant to accommodate the public’s needs and desires in the neighborhoods and, like former planners in East Germany and Bulgaria, insist that they know better than those they condemn to live in the planners’ nightmares.

      • Barry Swenson’s medium rise housing project adjacent to Tamien LR Station was originally planned to have two towers.  They can’t fill the first one.  Barry forgot to take into account that the surrounding area is infested with Latino gangs.

        If you’re gonna drive to the Tamien Station, you might as well go another 3 miles to DT SJ in your car.

        I just cannot envision a huge ridership from SJ to anywhere on BART; especially since, light our little trolleys, every train stops at every station.  Hardly “rapid” transit.

        • JMO, the real beneficiaries of BART to San Jose will be riders from Alameda County and beyond.  I very much doubt whether ridership from SJ to those destinations will be significant. 

          It is interesting that our local movers and shakers have managed to extract transit costs from SJ residents to pay for those entering Santa Clara County.

        • There are many people who would use BART to travel up the East Bay.  Have you tried to get to a Warriors game on a weeknight?  Or go to Berkeley for dinner.  Or get to SF at all?  BART would be in high demand for all three of those purposes. 

          And I know it is hard to imagine for those who are South Bay centric, but there are plenty of people who commute out of Santa Clara County to jobs in the East Bay.  BART Parking lots in Fremont and Union City are so crowded that you can’t find a place if you are not there by 8 am.  That’s because of the large numbers from south of the terminus who want to ride BART.  I, for one, can’t wait until BART extends into Santa Clara County.

        • Dinner in Berkeley?? Really? We have Olive Garden and Red Lobster in SJ too. There are no world class restaurants in bezerkly that Ive ever heard. Great example. Also, riding Bart to SF is foolish. You have to travel in a 270 degree arc around the entire bay area to do so.

        • Wrong.  There are great and unique restaurants in Berkeley.  Some are even world famous.  Sorry that you haven’t been there to try them. 

          BART to SF goes straight through Oakland, under the bay, and right to Embarcadero.  It’s faster than taking a car, and significantly cheaper because of the price of parking.  Tell all the people who park in Fremont and Union City to commute by BART that they are wasting time.  They’d laugh at you.  There is standing room only on rush hour BART trains.

  3. This is great news, too bad we can’t get the extension to downtown San Jose sooner! I wonder what the reasoning was behind having the BART stop in the Berryessa area?

  4. Anyone know how much San Jose’s share of BART operating costs will be?

    Anyone know how much San Jose’s share of the 40 million a year VTA lightrail operating costs are?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Associating BART with crime rates? What is this? Transpirational efficiency is the key here. Along with your crime rates the alleviation of our horribly congested freeways would can come with this. And perhaps provide opportunities to individuals with transportation issues in our city. Those who are less fortunate and live in the subsidized community would appreciate this long awaited gift. Something you would not understand or know anything about. But thats okay, the decision is past closed minded people like yourself and was in the hands of those with some actual intelligence. This is not just some random spontaneous decision made by the city or BART. You should stop putting your attention and criticisms on assumptions &stereotypes; and maybe we could get more outcomes like BART extension to San Jose to continue making San Jose a great city.