BART to Silicon Valley

BARTThe current BART extension plan calls for six BART stations in the South Bay. Six. Of those six stations, four are in San Jose and of those four stations only one is technically downtown.

The downtown station will be located on East Santa Clara Street, between Market Street and 3rd Street. Another station will be located near the the Arena and the Diridon train station. Some say that area is part of downtown; I say it is a stretch. The other two stations are on the east side of San Jose, Alum Rock and Berryessa.

The Alum Rock station will be located at East Julian & North 28th Streets, near 101.

The Berryessa station will be located in the Flea Market area. The city wants to flatten the Flea Market and replace it with housing. Just think of all the people who would come down to the Flea Market from around the Bay Area to spend their money. But, no! Put in housing so those residents can take BART out of the area.

There will also be a station in Milpitas (Montague/Capitol) near the Great Mall and there will be a station in Santa Clara near the Caltrain station.

With these exciting San Jose station locations, where will we be going in San Jose? Could it be that there will be a great deal of ridership between the Alum Rock and Berryessa stations? Maybe downtown residents will hop on BART at the downtown station so they can go up to the Great Mall in Milpitas. The city will want to get those Shop San Jose posters up in the stations.

I did not mention the really exciting news, the Santa Clara station will have an Automated People Mover system that would connect to the Norman Y. Mineta International Airport! Wow! Now everyone in the Alum Rock, Berryessa, and Milpitas areas can haul their luggage on BART and a people mover to the airport! The ease of it all. Wait a minute. The Santa Clara station would be on the west side of the airport and the terminals are on the east side of the airport. That Automated People Mover will cost a pretty penny to build/operate.

So, you want to use BART to get the heck out of San Jose you say. Currently there are plans for 5,000 paid parking spaces with plans to increase that to 10,000 by 2030. VTA claims there will be over 100,000 riders (Yeah, right). Let us assume half that number will leave San Jose, how are they getting to one of the stations? Well, VTA would love for you to take one of their buses or light rail. However, will VTA be able to handle/afford the increased demand? Are you willing to spend most of your life on public transit?

We could save money by forgetting BART and electrifying Caltrain for a great deal less money. Electrified Caltrain would be environmentally good and the trains would be faster (faster to SF than BART). Not to mention we would only have to pay for the Caltrain portion in Santa Clara County.

Stuff to read: Transbay Blog, BayRail Alliance, and VTA.

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