A BART station in Alameda? Maybe.
A BART station in Alameda? Maybe.
Photo from the BART blog.
Alameda could someday be home to its own BART station, the Island’s BART representative has said, which would be a boon for city leaders seeking ways to blunt the traffic impacts of development being considered at Alameda Point and elsewhere.
But the director, Robert Raburn, said new stations won’t be built until fixes to the BART system’s existing core are addressed – and that the Island could face some stiff competition for one.
The BART board will get an update on the transit agency’s plan for the future of BART at its meeting Thursday.
Raburn told the Planning Board on Monday that BART is considering the possibility of an Alameda station as one of its future investment options.
“I think that Alameda is well positioned to reap the benefits of real BART coming to the Island,” he said during a telephone interview Tuesday.
Mayor Marie Gilmore wrote BART General Manager Grace Crunican in July asking the agency’s leaders to consider a second transbay tube that includes a station in Alameda.
“A BART extension to the City and an additional transbay tube would provide a convenient and efficient transportation option for transit riders throughout the region and allow the City to create a truly transit-oriented development at Alameda Point,” Gilmore wrote in the July 29 letter.
“This BART extension also could act as an emergency lifeline transportation corridor in the event of a disaster,” she added. “Other potential benefits include congestion relief, decreased car dependence, increased tourism and higher property values for the City and the region as a whole.”
Raburn’s comments to the Planning Board on Monday were a preview of a response Crunican is expected to deliver to Gilmore on Tuesday, he said.
An Alameda station tied to a second transbay tube was contemplated in a 2007 rail study conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (it said a second tube and Alameda station could cost up to $26.5 billion). Raburn said the map BART board members will discuss on Thursday includes a potential station in Oakland’s Jack London Square.
“In just some very back-of-the-envelope discussions with our planners and operations staff, we’ve talked about a station under the estuary,” Raburn said, with elevators up on both sides.
Alameda could be a good candidate for a new station, he said, due to its size and high transit ridership. State-mandated efforts to link transportation, jobs and housing to combat global warming make Alameda Point a priority area for development, and the city’s proposed development plan envisions a higher density of homes near transit – another consideration for BART’s leaders as they consider new projects.
But while Raburn doesn’t think a new Alameda station – if it happens – would wait until 2050, the scenario included in MTC’s rail study, he said BART needs to add cars and install a new control system to speed trains for BART’s growing ridership first, before new stations are considered.
He said BART is in the “idea-gathering phase” and that 100 possible projects have been suggested as part of this process. Raburn said that number will be winnowed down to 10 as the transit agency’s effort to develop a vision for the future progresses. A presentation on the vision process given in April said BART would hold “open house meetings” on the plan in February 2014 and offer a final report the following May.
The BART board’s meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday in BART’s boardroom at the Kaiser Center, 344 20th Street in Oakland. And Raburn said Alamedans are welcome to contact the transit agency’s board to offer their thoughts on a potential station in Alameda.
“I invite the public to come in and scrutinize this as well,” he said.