BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Begins Revenue Service on June 13
By Jay Srinivasan
On June 13th, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) will open the Berryessa Extension for revenue service. The milestone marks the culmination of the first phase of the BART Silicon Valley Extension Program that is expanding BART service into Santa Clara County, bringing frequent and reliable regional rail service to more than 1.7 million residents.
The $2.3 billion, 10-mile Berryessa Extension, which broke ground in April 2012, begins south of BART’s Warm Springs Station in Fremont, proceeds through Milpitas and ends in the Berryessa area of north San José. VTA funded, designed, oversaw construction and will own the infrastructure and BART will operate the extension. The design-build project was built under the Skanska, Shimmick and Herzog (SSH) joint venture. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN), a national planning, engineering and program management firm, served as the lead designer under the SSH joint venture contract.
“Bringing BART service to Santa Clara County leads us into an era for Silicon Valley where we are forging new pathways for mobility,” said VTA General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez. “With this new addition to our public transit network, we look forward to many years of improved connectivity throughout our region.”
Commuters traveling on I-880 and I-680, two congested corridors that connect residential areas in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties to high-technology and other employment centers in Silicon Valley, can now use the Berryessa Extension as an alternative. By taking cars of these congested corridors, the project will help eliminate 3,500 tons of greenhouse gases every year.
Transit-oriented development opportunities have flourished around the stations. To date, near the Milpitas Station, almost 7,000 housing units, more than 10,000 square feet of office space, and over 186,000 square feet of retail space have been occupied, entitled or under construction. Similarly, adjacent to the Berryessa Station, more than 3,300 residential units have been developed to date, with plans to increase the capacity to 5,100. Plans are also underway for a high-rise hotel with up to 175 rooms.
With the opening of the two new stations, BART will have a total of 50 stations and 131 miles of track serving five Bay Area counties. The project also provides numerous intermodal options, including connections to VTA light rail and buses, Caltrain, Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak, Mineta San Jose International Airport and high-speed rail.
“The project will transform the region’s transportation,” said Timothy Schmidt, LAN’s senior associate and team leader. “Millions of commuters in Santa Clara County and travelers around the world will now be able to circumnavigate the entire Bay Area, thanks to this project.”
The project improves access to employment, educational, medical, entertainment, and retail centers near the two stations. These include the Great Mall of the Bay Area, connections to employment centers such as Google, eBay and Cisco Systems, Levi’s Stadium, Berryessa Flea Market in San Jose, San Jose State University, Stanford University and Santa Clara University.
The second phase of the BART Silicon Valley Extension, which is currently in the design stage, will extend BART service six miles from the Berryessa Transit Center into downtown San José and terminating in Santa Clara. Four stations are planned for the second phase: 28th Street/Little Portugal, Downtown San Jose, Diridon and Santa Clara. The second phase is expected to be completed in 2030.