BART Line Set to Break Ground Today

The long-awaited work to extend BART from Fremont to Berryessa begins today with a groundbreaking ceremony featuring many of Silicon Valley’s most prominent political officials. The event has been a long time coming, and shovels should enter the ground this afternoon

The project, stretching 10 miles at a $2.3 billion price tag to build, will take riders from South Fremont to a new station that will be called Warm Springs (pictured).

The Business Journal reports that political leaders expected to attend the groundbreaking ceremony include former San Jose Mayor and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta, current Mayor Chuck Reed, Sen. Diane Feinstein, and U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, amongst others.

This phase of the project expects to be complete by 2015, while the plan to extend BART through downtown San Jose has yet to secure funding.

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


  1. The above picture does not reflect the huge transit station residential & commercial development that will surround the Warm Springs station.

    To see how Warm Springs and Berryessa stations will look, take a good look at the surroundings of the Fremont BART station.  Any idyllic surroundings will be swallowed up by grungy, dense housing stacked up to as many stories as possible.

    One of the more interesting city council meetings I ever attended as an observer was when Reed opposed an effort by Chavez who wanted to really pile on the density and height of housing near the Berryessa Station.  Reed wanted a lot of height and density, but Chavez wanted a whole lot more.  After the dust settled from the clash of Titans, it became clear that the entire neighborhood would be seriously and negatively affected.

    As far as I recall, no residents from the Berryessa BART station area were notified of that critical debate, nor were any present and speaking. They’ll have a big surprise in a couple of years when the value of their homes takes another big hit.

    People living in and around Warm Springs and the Berryessa BART station area have no idea what they are in for as they are converted into seriously ugly mini-downtowns, not bright and sparkly parklands like the picture above.

  2. > Any idyllic surroundings will be swallowed up by grungy, dense housing stacked up to as many stories as possible.


    I believe the correct term for “grungy, dense housing stacked up to as many stories as possible” is “TRANSIT VILLAGES”.

    “Villages” are much more charming than “grungy, dense housing”.

    “Villages” generally have a smithy, a spreading chestnut tree, a town square with statues, benches, and no muggers or grifters, a Christmas card church, and a quaint little farmers market selling fresh wholesome foods, not to be confused with giant corporate entities like Whole Foods.

    In the case of Transit Villages, which are intended to be efficient warehousing for the masses, the urban planners typically cut corners on things like the smithy, the statues, the Christmas card church, and the wholesome foods, although they customarily add a unionized transportation service of some kind and a corporate chain convenience market like a 7 Eleven.

    The masses will love it.  Each massling, I am told, will be allocated 800 square feet of living space.

    Better than the Soviet Union!!

    Who said Obama was a Communist?

    • > Each massling, I am told, will be allocated 800 square feet of living space.


      It has been brought to my attention that 800 square feet of living space is NOT the planned allocation for each massling, but is rather the allocation for an entire massling family.

      Undoubtedly, this is going to put a strain on those fat, lazy stay-at-home-moms with five kids who never work a day in their lives. And it underscores the urgency of keeping those government contraceptives and abortions flowing.

      Since stay-at-home-moms raising kids don’t earn any income on which to pay income taxes, it is extra important to get them back into the “work force”, under-employed as it is, to keep the government supplied with tax revenue.

  3. who in the heck is going to drive from the west side just to use BART?  Another waste of our money, love to know how much of our SJ money went into the project.  Since Chuck sits on the board I am sure it was a very big chunk.

  4. The point of mass transit is to have it link large population centers. That is the point. If the train goes to the middle of an unwalkable suburbia, then why build the train?

    Besides, density is the correct policy regardless of the train. San Jose is a highly desirable labor market, and this will only increase over time. The rising home values over the last 15 years have demonstrated the demand for new houses, and permitting further density will allow us to absorb the workers we need to continue to grow and prosper.

      • The “us” are the people of San Jose, but more broadly it is the Bay Area labor market, aka one of the single greatest producers of wealth in the United States. And of course the workers are asked if they want to be absorbed…they are the ones buying the high density houses! If they want to continue living in Sacramento or Virginia, they are obviously free to do that. But they don’t want to do that. We know that many want to come here, because it is their demand that is driving up home prices.

        Housing prices are also high because hundreds of thousands of Americans want to buy in the Bay Area, but government prevents the construction of higher density housing through a variety of anti-free market laws, especially parking requirements, floor-to-area ration specifications, etc. We should stop using government to distort the market, and instead we should let owners build as densely as they want on their own property. San Jose used to be orchards, then it got denser and became suburban. If some pockets of San Jose change towards something denser still, then that is okay too. Free markets change neighborhoods, deal with it.

        Sorry Lou, but if you’re trying to pin me as something of a left-winger, you are barking up the wrong tree. My free market credential are stellar. Yours…I have my doubts.

        • > My free market credential are stellar.

          Whoever told you this lied to you.

          “Mass transit”, “smart planning”, “smart growth”, “smart meters”, smart this, smart that, and “transit villages” are NOT free market solutions.

          They are the delusions of central planners.

          Sorry.  You’ve been misled.

        • Again I’m afraid you are wrong. Smart meters (if we are thinking of the same thing) price parking spots according to demand. Perhaps you disagree with the government building parking spots, but if the government is going to provide parking spots, it ought to at least price them according to demand. Government giving away free parking spots is central planning, my friend. It is socialism for drivers.

          “Smart growth” is a silly term used by government folks. I don’t use it or defend it, but I would point out that trying to enforce laws that keep Berryessa suburban is a form of central planning, and a stupid one at that. Berryessa should be as dense as the market demands, and no less so.

          Mass transit is definitely a government program, but I would remind you that the freeways are, by free market standards, a total abomination. A train is no more and no less free market then the road to your house.

          I am not defending the train. I am defending building dense housing around a train that is already a foregone conclusion. The housing is widely desired and will do wonderfully on the free market.

        • > I am defending building dense housing around a train that is already a foregone conclusion.

          You are defending big government policies that impose dense housing on the community.  You are NOT defending the free choice of individual members of the community, you’re defending the judgements of central planners.

          > The housing is widely desired and will do wonderfully on the free market.

          “Widely desired” by whom?  Widely desired by people who want choice and control over their individual circumstances?  Or, widely desired by bureaucrats sitting on the fat butts in government offices while admiring their framed “Urban Planning” diplomas on the wall?

        • >“Widely desired by whom?”

          The houses will sell for good money. That is a pretty straightforward definition of “widely desired.” It is desired by the people who will buy the homes! Do you have another definition of desire, if not “things that people want to buy”?

          I am defending the right of developers to develop a region as densely as the free market demands. If the city has to coerce the developers into building high-density housing, then I will oppose the city. But if developers think they can make money by building large apartment complexes and selling the individual units to folks who CHOOSE to live near a train station, then that seems pretty normal and unobjectionable to me.

          >“government policies that impose dense housing on the community”

          You seem to be of the view that “the community” has the right to tell individual owners and businessmen what they can build, and how densely they can build. You think “the community” gets to say whether there should be big apartment complexes next to the train station. The idea that the good of “the community,” as expressed by neighborhood know-it-all busy-bodies, is supposed to trump the property rights of the developers seems to me to be pretty far from a free market ideal.

          I am not calling for anything radical. I am calling for developers to build as much or as little as they like, based on their opinion of what a free market will demand. If that means suburban, then fine. If that means dense housing complexes, then fine. The “community” does not get a say in those private property decisions, because this is a free market society.

        • >  You think “the community” gets to say whether there should be big apartment complexes next to the train station.

          You have NOT been paying attention.

          The “community” doesn’t do this:  URBAN PLANNERS do this.

          URBAN PLANNERS write the city’s “master plan”.

          URBAN PLANNERS say where the train station will be.

          URBAN PLANNERS define the zoning around the train station.

          URBAN PLANNERS plan for the housing to be crowded tenements, er. . . um . . . “high density”.

          URBAN PLANNERS entice/bribe/coerce developers into building the things the URBAN PLNNERS want built.

          The mismanagement of the housing market by the government and it’s URBAN PLANNERS results in housing shortages which are what compel the “masses” to “demand” housing in those charming and bucolic “transit villages.

          People don’t choose to live in crowded, high-density cracker boxes.  They live in them only because the politicians and their central planners take away all of their economic alternatives.

        • > In your opinion what is the economic alternative to high density housing?

          Oh, I dunno.

          How about, maybe, … um… FREEDOM!

          Yeah!  That’s it!  FREEDOM!!

          The freedom not to be just a push-pin on a wall map in some government bureaucrat’s office.

          “There’s too many green pins in this area, and not enough blue pins in that area.”

          “We need some POLICIES to make the green pins and blue pins line up where we want them to be.”

          “These little pins are just like amoeba.  Just give them a little stimulus and they twitch and move to where you want them to move.”

          “And they’re not even aware!  They don’t know it’s being done to them!”

        • In your opinion what is the economic alternative to high density housing? The suburban status quo? Hundreds of thousands of people want access to San Jose’s labor market, but our anti-density biases prevent the free market from building them homes. So instead those people are forced to live with their parents until they are 30, or they are forced to have too many roommates, or they are forced to commute from Gilroy, or they are forced to live in other states etc.

          The big-government planners have mandated suburban living for the last 50 years. They have required us to live in single family homes, to build big parking lots, and to have large front and backyards. They have controlled our economy for too long with their anti-growth, anti-density form of suburban socialism. You, Lou, are a suburban socialist. San Jose’s problem isn’t the occasional train station. It is the widespread bias against big time density and urbanization. There is every reason to believe that if the planers got out of the way, San Jose could add hundreds of thousands of residents in the next couple decades.

          Its okay to be in love with suburbia, Lou. But you need to understand that the “planners” you hate PLANNED that suburbia. The idyllic suburbia you are defending is the result of PLANNING. I want to smash that planning. I want to let the free market take control. When people get the chance to live in “high-density cracker boxes,” I guarantee you they will jump at the chance. If that density chases you out of the city…well I really will feel bad. But sometimes the free market hurts.

    • > why don’t DK and Lou exchange phone numbers so we don’t waste space on this site.  come on SJI your better than this

      Dear Grumpy Old Rob:

      Thanks to modern information technology, this site doesn’t have a space shortage.

      Consumers of stimulating intellectual dialogue should feel free to indulge themselves and wallow in all the piquant Lou Scannon commentary their little hearts desire.

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