San Jose is Paving the Way for BART

Key bike, freeway infrastructure on its way to support 23,000 daily riders

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Today, on a day when Senator Barbara Boxer will be touring the future BART station in the Berryessa neighborhood of San José, the San José City Council will be voting to move forward on two key pieces of the multimodal infrastructure that will be required to support BART’s 2017 planned arrival in San José. Specifically, Council is expected to push forward with $1.6 million in preliminary engineering for the construction of a freeway interchange at Mabury, Taylor and 101, as well as with the construction of an innovative streetscape design along Hedding Street to support large numbers of cyclists who will commute to the station by bike.

Both of these improvements are occurring in the district of Downtown Councilmember Sam Liccardo, who has been a key backer of the BART extension, both through his leading roles in the 2000 and 2008 campaigns, as well as a Valley Transportation Authority Board Member and Past Chair, and Board Member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. In preparation for today’s meeting, Liccardo has authored memoranda on each project, with the expectation of support from a majority of his Council colleagues.

The first, which is co-authored by Councilmembers Liccardo, Xavier Campos, and Rose Herrera, directs Department of Transportation staff to modify the bikeway project on Hedding Street, to incorporate innovative “green lane” pavement that will provide a strong visual differentiation between the portions of the street designated for motorists and cyclists, to maintain a “buffered” bike lane for a long stretch, and to address some residents’ concerns regarding a loss of street parking.

In the second, Councilmember Liccardo calls for the Council and city staff to prioritize funding for the full build-out of the $57 million Mabury/Taylor/101 intersection by the time that the first BART train rolls into San José in 2017. “Our failure to beat the timeline of BART construction to the finish will result in serious gridlock along key surface arteries, like Alum Rock, King Road, and McKee Avenue, as 23,000 riders rush from 101 to the Berryessa BART station,” warned Liccardo. “We’ve got to get this infrastructure into place before BART’s arrival, or else BART will be little more than a slow train out of town.”

As a Board Member with VTA and MTC, Liccardo has pledged to lead the charge to secure regional funding for the project. “Given the chronic shortfalls in transportation infrastructure funding,” he observed, “we’ll need plenty of help, and I look forward to working with key allies on the California Transportation Commission and MTC to make these improvements happen on time and on budget.”

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