SJDA has requested a more thoughtful mitigation plan that protects businesses – especially those along Santa Clara Street – when construction crews dig BART subways beneath downtown San Jose when the second phase of BART’s extension into Silicon Valley gets under way.
SJDA suggested 20 mitigation improvements in its comment letter to Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), such as:
- Direct engagement and integration with existing social, email and other communication modes downtown;
- Creative wayfinding to address “diminished pedestrian and vehicular access;”
- Emergency communications procedures;
- Transparent complaint resolution procedures;
- Financial relief package application recruitment and management.
VTA expects the 6-mile, four-station construction project between Berryessa and the City of Santa Clara to take eight years.
SJDA has advocated for the west station option, which would place the downtown station between Market and Third streets rather than closer to City Hall and San Jose State University. The west station option is also preferred by SPUR and BART itself.
The X-factor is whether VTA and BART can agree on a single bore tunnel that would stack tracks in a deeper station but have much less construction impacts than a twin-bore design. Technical and risk assessment studies are under way to determine the efficacy of single-bore vs. twin-bore. A decision is due this summer.
SJDA is measuring the short-term impacts during construction with the long-term benefits of a major transportation improvement.
“We need to continue our support of BART because it will ultimately be good for downtown,” said SJDA Board Member Henry Cord.
SJDA’s Advocacy/Historic District Committee will handle BART matters as they evolve. Email SJDA@sjdowntown.com if you’d like to be a part of the BART conversation.
A summary of how others commented on the Supplemental EIR can be found at www.sjdowntown.com/sjda-news/.
How others commented on the Supplemental EIR:
- All the current BART system is twin-bore design, and BART prefers it stay that way.
- BART prefers the West Option for the downtown station due to its proximity to downtown’s employment centers and to light-rail connections.
- BART says that it will need an additional 60 cars for Phase II to become efficient.
- SPUR prefers the West Option because it holds the better potential to attract new riders, which increases revenue and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- SPUR recommends additional station portals on Santa Clara and Third streets and west-facing portal on Santa Clara Street between Market and Second Street; keeping the portals on Market between Post and Santa Clara streets and on the northside of Santa Clara Street between Market and First streets.
- SPUR liked that BART did not plan parking around the downtown station.
- The management company for SAP Center would like BART to provide parking and take other transportation mitigation measures during construction of the BART station planned at the arena and train station.
- The City agreed that the construction mitigation plan should be improved.
- The City also requested a shared, well-planned parking and access plan for BART, the train station and arena.
- The roles of the City and other public agencies needs better definition.
All of these respondents continue to support the Phase II project.
Ultimately, the VTA Board will vote on the downtown station options and single-bore/twin-bore decision later this year.