Archive for the ‘BART’ Category

Payton Perspective: Re-elect Joel Keller to BART Board

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Joel Keller at Antioch BART Station opening 5-25-18. Photo by Allen Payton

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Usually, I don’t recommend elected officials serving in the same office for 24 years, such as Joel Keller, who was elected to the BART Board on the same night in November 1994 that I was elected to the Antioch City Council. That’s because elected representatives tend to become complacent or arrogant in office and stop listening to their constituents, and end up doing the bidding of the powerful, special interests who support them and contribute to their re-election campaigns.

However, Joel is different. Having served on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and three of the four transportation boards in East County, including as Chairman of the Bypass Authority in 1998 when we purchased the right-of-way for the State Route 4 extension (aka The Bypass) from Lone Tree Way to Balfour Road, I’ve learned the difficult lesson that infrastructure projects can take a long time. Too much time for most all of our liking. But, that’s another issue. My point is, it’s taken that time for Joel to get BART extended to Antioch.

Although it’s not full or “real” BART, as we Antioch residents would have preferred, the bottom line is Joel was able to wade through the funding limitations from BART and the federal government, as well as the opposition by other regions in the BART District and directors who represent those regions and make his promise and commitment a reality. Antioch has a BART station. During his next four years, if re-elected, I believe Joel will be able to help deliver further extensions in East County, first to Laurel Road – which will benefit Antioch’s economic development area for job creation and serve the residents of Oakley – then to Brentwood near Sand Creek Road.

Joel has done what he said he would do, and he listens to his constituents. Most recently, Joel heard the complaints about safety on the BART system. In order to ensure the rest of the board members heard the complaints from the people in his district who can’t attend their normal day time meetings in Oakland, had the board hold a night time meeting in Pittsburg. Then, due to the overwhelming response by riders to the opening of the Antioch BART Station, Joel heard the outcry for more parking spaces, and he delivered by getting the other BART Board Members to join him in voting to fund 800 more spaces.

I believe Joel has earned one more term on the BART Board, which most likely will be his last, and recommend we re-elect him.

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BART identifies funding to add over 800 parking spaces at the Antioch Station

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

eBART train at the Antioch BART Station. Photo by BART.

Construction would begin in fall of 2019 with the new lot opening in fall of 2020

With full funding identified, BART is moving ahead with plans to nearly double the amount of parking at the Antioch Station.

The station has been a tremendous success since opening in late May and that has pushed the demand for parking in Antioch far beyond the space available.

Antioch Station currently has 1006 parking stalls. Another 800-plus spaces will be added under this plan.

“The response to the extension has been overwhelmingly positive, except for criticism about the lack of parking,” says BART Director Joel Keller, who represents East Contra Costa County. “We’ve made it a priority to ensure that every rider has access to the new service which takes drivers off the congested Highway 4 corridor.”

The plan calls for converting a plot of BART-owned land just east of the current lot into more than 800 additional parking spaces. 

The current daily ridership for the Antioch Station is 3,050 while the forecasted ridership before its opening was 2,270 trips.

The proposed parking lot cost is $16.4 million. Funding sources include the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, BART, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority.

BART will now work on the environmental impact and design.

Approval by the BART Board is required with the plan expected to go before Directors in late 2018 or early 2019.

Construction would begin in fall of 2019 with the new lot opening in fall of 2020.

 

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Riders invited to Sept 27th evening BART Board meeting in Pittsburg on system safety

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Rider safety will be the focus as the BART Board of Directors holds its Thursday, September 27th meeting at 5:00 P.M. at Pittsburg City Hall. The BART board voted in August to hold a special night meeting in a suburban location to further discuss General Manager Grace Crunican’s Safety and Security Action Plan.

“The special time and location of this board meeting will give more members of the public the chance to share their thoughts about public safety directly with board members,” said BART Board President Robert Raburn. “We need their input as we take action to make BART safer.”

The meeting will include an update on BART’s proof-of-payment strategy. There will be a presentation with citation data as well as a hearing on a request to hire more community service officers to expand the program, which was launched in January. Further, the board will get an update on station infrastructure efforts to deter fare evasion. That is likely to include a discussion on whether to replace BART’s fare gates.

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas is scheduled to present a new report from the University of North Texas on the BART Police Department. The report includes recommendations for adequate police staffing levels at BART.

The board is moving towards adopting a district surveillance policy. A final vote on this policy could come at this meeting depending on actions that take place at the September 13th meeting. BART has already made clear that any boosts to system safety will not include the implementation of facial-recognition technology.

The board could also vote on a plan to provide alternative bus service for when the system moves to a 5am start time as part of the Transbay Tube seismic retrofit project. The switch to the 5am service start is expected to happen on February 11, 2019.

We also anticipate an update on efforts to increase parking around the new BART to Antioch line.

The meeting is open to the public. The public may comment at various points throughout the meeting- including the public comment period or during specific agenda items. The agenda will be posted the Friday before the meeting at https://www.bart.gov/about/bod/meetings/2018

Because this meeting is not taking place in the BART board room, we will record it and post it on our website several days later due to the post production time needed. It will not be livestreamed.

The meeting will be held in the Pittsburg City Council Chambers, which is on the third floor of the building. The council chambers are located at 65 Civic Avenue, which is a short walk from the Pittsburg Center Station on the new BART to Antioch line. Courtesy of Tri-Delta Transit, there will be a shuttle available in the pick-up lot at the corner of Railroad Avenue and California Avenue to transport attendees between the BART station and the City Council Chambers. The shuttle will run from 4:15 pm to 11:15 pm. There will be directional signs at the Pittsburg Center BART station and the shuttle pick-up and drop-off locations. See map below:

Pittsburg City Hall shuttle route

Driving Directions:

From all points west:

Take Highway 4 eastbound toward Pittsburg/Stockton

Exit Railroad Avenue (exit 23)

Turn left onto Railroad Avenue

Turn left onto Center Drive, drive past the Justice Center and the Library

There is a parking lot in front of City Hall

Parking is free.

From Antioch/Oakley/Brentwood:

Take Highway 4 westbound toward Martinez

Exit Harbor St/Railroad Avenue (exit 23)

Turn left onto California Avenue

Turn right onto Railroad Avenue

Turn left onto Center Drive, drive past the Justice Center and the Library

There is a parking lot in front of City Hall

Parking is free.

Editor’s Note: We need to pack the room and make sure our voices are heard, by letting the full BART Board know about our concerns with safety, so that they don’t just hear from the folks who live close to and/or were able to attend their day-time meeting during the summer at the BART Headquarters in Oakland.

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Letter writer responds to Herald article on Antioch BART extension, shares concerns

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Dear Editor:

‘After waiting almost 60 years Antioch gets extension to BART!’ Vol. 9, No. 6, dated June 2018

This article has been anticipated about as long as residents have been waiting for the new EBart train and Antioch Station to open. It’s a wonderful advancement on the part of BART and a welcome addition for the residents of Antioch!

Although the article is highly positive on the new eBart train, the negative factor involving the parking at the station far outweighs the good it brings when there is absolutely no ability to access and utilize the train because there’s no available parking. By 7:30 am on any given day, the parking lot is packed full. And for those who chose to park on the street, citations and towing added to the agony of not being able to find a spot to park. If you can’t park at the new station, how are you supposed to use the new train system? For those of us who daily commuted on the Tri-Delta 300 Express to BART, this is extremely disappointing as we can no longer take the bus from park-n-ride to the Pittsburg BART, and even then, having a place to park. Sure, the new eBart trains boast a variety of amenities and the “newness” is refreshing; however, with not having adequate parking to accommodate the daily commuters who have been using this park-n-ride location for years to ride the bus to BART, it’s very discouraging to know that we now must try to find another alternative in parking our car if we wish to use BART’s Etrain system.

It is awesome to see the new eBart train up and running. The issue of parking and the overwhelming demand for such on a daily basis limits this “awesome’ness” to a great degree. Both the City of Antioch and BART should have planned way ahead of this station’s opening to ensure sufficient parking was readily-available for the mass of those who would utilize this station – this should have been a prime consideration and know well in advance that the two parking lots would not suffice for the demand of the commuters who have been waiting such a long time for this station to open – only to find now that we can’t utilize its services since we can’t find a parking place.

It’s very sad that I now must rely on someone else to me ff and pick-up at this station if I use BART’s Etrain. The impact of others having to do the same is also a serious issue with more car traffic in the lanes adjacent to the station. The high demand for use of the new train demands a higher use for parking and this now needs to be a key factor to consider in moving forward. Having the BART Etrain finally open is great; allowing the daily commuter to access and use this train system – and can park at its station – is now the immediate need that both the City of Antioch and BART need to consider and rectify.

Michele Garcia

Antioch

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Parking tips for Antioch BART riders

Friday, June 1st, 2018

From BART.gov

Our new BART to Antioch service has been a tremendous success this first week of service, which has meant parking demands in Antioch have exceeded the space available.

In the long term, we are exploring limited options to increase capacity.

In the short term, to ensure public safety, over the weekend we plan to block access to illegal parking in the field across the street from the station.

This step is being taken due to the fire danger as the field is dry and hot engines can spark a fire.

Blocking access is also meant to prevent drivers from parking in Slatten Ranch Road bike lanes.

Tips for parkers: the parking lot at Pittsburg Center Station did not fill up this week.

Pittsburg/Bay Point didn’t fill up until much later than it did before the extension opened and at 10 am, there were still open spots.

Carpooling to Antioch with Scoop is also an option because it guarantees a space before 10 am, allowing users to be flexible with their schedule.

In addition, TriDeltaTransit reconfigured many of their routes to accommodate BART riders.

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New Antioch BART Station opens with guaranteed parking for Scoop carpoolers

Friday, June 1st, 2018

From BART.gov

As of Tuesday, May 29, the Scoop to BART program is offering guaranteed parking until 10 am for carpoolers at the new Antioch Station. BART will allocate permit parking spaces specifically for carpoolers using Scoop. The app connects neighbors and co-workers to fill seats in vehicles already driving to BART stations. The Scoop to BART program helps to get more people to the station, in fewer cars.

“We’re really excited to launch this program at a brand, new station. As people look into their options for how to get to the station, this will be one, right from the beginning. As an end of the line station people will likely be coming to the Antioch station from far away and splitting the cost of that drive can be a big money-saver.” said Jumana Nabti, Manager of Access Programs at BART.

To participate in the Scoop to BART program, download and register with the free Scoop app for iOS or Android at takescoop.com. Type in the BART station name and schedule a ride either before 9 pm the night before the morning commute or by 3:30 pm for that evening’s commute. Shortly after the deadline, Scoop notifies commuters who have matched with one of their 100,000+ users and provides a guaranteed ride home for passengers unable to be matched into a carpool for their return trip. Scoop coordinates with BART to help verify carpoolers and works with BART police to ensure smooth operations every morning.

“We’re excited to offer our Scoop to BART Program at the launch of the new Antioch Station,” said David Clavens, Head of Marketing at Scoop. “We’re proud to partner with BART to help make commutes more enjoyable and efficient, as well as help provide first and last mile solutions for local commuters across the Bay Area.”

BART to Antioch extends service east of the Pittsburg/Bay Point station using smaller diesel trains. Timed transfers between the standard BART trains and these diesel trains take place at a dedicated platform just beyond the Pittsburg/Bay Point station. The new Antioch Station has just over 1000 parking spaces, with 225 for reserved permit parking (including the Scoop to BART program). The rest are allocated to first-come/first-served parking. More information and FAQ on the Antioch Station is available on the BART website.

The Scoop to BART program is a recipient of the Federal Transit Administration Mobility On-Demand Sandbox grant. This grant funds expansion of the program, and enhancements on Scoop’s app platform that improve the experience for BART commuters. The program is a partnership between BART, Scoop Technologies, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) 511 Carpool Program.

The Scoop to BART program is now available at Antioch, Colma, Concord, Daly City, Dublin/Pleasanton, Lafayette, Millbrae, North Concord, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Rockridge, San Bruno, South San Francisco, Union City, Walnut Creek, and Warm Springs Stations.

For more information, visit rideshare.511.org, BART.gov/carpool, or TakeScoop.com/bart.

 

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Antioch BART Station opening celebration Friday, May 25, service starts Saturday

Monday, May 21st, 2018

An eBART train at the Antioch BART Station. Photo by BART.

The wait is almost over for East County residents.  BART to Antioch will open for passenger service on Saturday, May 26, 2018.  To celebrate, BART will hold a community ribbon-cutting celebration on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 11am at the new Antioch Station featuring free preview train rides and local entertainment.

New service is fast, clean, and comfortable

The service between the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station and Antioch is 10 miles long and adds two new stations.  The extension will be able to carry an estimated 2,400 people in each direction, per hour, during rush hours.

“This is a new dawn for transit in this part of the Bay Area,” said BART Director Joel Keller, who serves East Contra Costa County and led efforts to bring the extension to the region. “Making this visionary project a reality took the long-term dedication of East County residents, and the commitment of many local, regional, state, and federal leaders.”

BART to Antioch is part of the Highway 4 Widening Project, which expanded Highway 4 between Pittsburg and Brentwood. The combined project was designed to bring commute relief as soon as possible with minimal disruption to the traveling public.

The $525 million cost of the extension is about half of the $1 billion cost estimated for extending BART’s traditional electric-powered line.

Quiet DMU trains offer a smooth ride

The extension marks the first time BART is using Diesel Multiple Units or DMU train cars.  They meet the US Government’s strictest emissions standards and use renewable diesel, an advanced biofuel produced from bio-based sources such as vegetable oil.

The DMUs run on their own tracks in the median of State Route 4 and connect with the existing BART system at a Transfer Platform just east of the Pittsburg Bay Point Station. At the Transfer Platform, riders simply exit one train and walk across the platform to board the other train. BART passengers trying to reach the Pittsburg Center Station or the Antioch Station will remain in the BART train to reach the Transfer Platform. The Transfer Platform is only reachable by train. 

The trains boast a variety of amenities including digital signs, automated audio announcements, and modern climate control systems for those hot summer months.

Two new stations  

The new Pittsburg Center Station is located at the Railroad Avenue overpass of Highway 4 in Pittsburg. The new Antioch Station is located at 1600 Slatten Ranch Road in Antioch. Learn more about the stations and service in our FAQ.

Schedule

The BART to Antioch schedule has been incorporated into our QuickPlanner, which can be found on the bart.gov homepage. For schedules by line or by station, enter a date of May 26, 2018 or later.

Community celebration open house

The public is invited to share the excitement with us at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Antioch Station. Free preview train rides will be provided all day and into the evening. 

WHAT: Public celebration of the opening of BART to Antioch.

  • There will be no BART service to event.
  • Free shuttles will run between the Pittsburg/Bay Point and Antioch Stations between 9am and 9pm every 15 to 30 minutes. The shuttles will accommodate people with wheelchairs.
  • Tri-Delta Transit‘s 300 bus also runs between the Pittsburg/Bay Point and Antioch Stations.
  • Attendees will get free rides on the line’s new environmentally-friendly Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train.
  • The rides will start in Antioch and will end at the transfer platform in Pittsburg.
  • They will not stop at Pittsburg Center Station until after 3pm and will not connect to the main BART system.
  • BART’s new Fleet of the Future train cars will be at the transfer platform for tours, but will not disembark.

WHERE: Antioch BART Station, 1600 Slatten Ranch Road
East of Hillcrest Avenue exit off Highway 4

WHEN: Friday, May 25, 2018
Ribbon cutting ceremony 11am-Noon
Free public train rides 1pm-8pm

Speakers will include BART General Manager Grace Crunican, BART Board members and regional elected officials and transportation leaders. Entertainment provided by the Pittsburg High School Jazz Combo and the Antioch High School Music Masters

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Op-Ed: BART parking – One size does not fit all

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

BART Director Joel Keller. Photo from BART.gov

By BART Board Member Joel Keller

At age 17, after interviewing hundreds of renowned thinkers, Nikhil Goyal wrote a book called, One Size Does Not Fit All.  It offers a prescription to transform the American educational system.

I don’t claim to be as smart as that young man. But I’d like to borrow the title to his book and apply it to BART parking.  Here’s why.

As a BART Director in Contra Costa County, most of my constituents depend on their cars.  They have a very different commute experience than my colleagues whose constituents live in more transit and pedestrian friendly areas.  Consequently, the solutions to help my constituents connect with BART may be different than those of some of my colleagues.

In January, BART staff made a presentation to the Board entitled “BART’s Parking Program: Update and Discussion.”

We board members learned that BART’s revenue from parking has increased from under $5 million in 2003 to $35 million in 2017. BART has a total of 48,000 parking spaces at 34 parking facilities. We have a systemwide waitlist total of 38,000 customers.   Staff presented some possible solutions to dealing with easing the overcrowding in our existing lots.  Those ideas included demand based pricing and variable pricing.  These are fine ideas for consideration, but what about parking expansion?

So, I decided to do what young Nikhil did and speak with some pretty smart thinkers in my district.  I contacted several local business owners about parking at BART.  They asked, “Why is BART just trying to manage the overcrowding, and not capturing the revenue that could be generated by creatively accommodating the people whose names are on the waitlist?”

As a director who represents auto dependent riders, I think they are right. Let’s assume that the 38,000 names on the waitlist contains duplications, and that there are, say, 16,000 potential riders who are willing to pay parking fees to get a spot. That could increase our parking revenue to as high as $54 million, or a $19 million/year increase.

So why aren’t we looking at solutions to find more places to park and charging for those additional spots along with better managing the existing spots that we have now?  Why not create satellite parking lots served by free shuttle buses?  Why not partner with area businesses, local governmental agencies and others to use adjacent and existing parking more efficiently?

I believe each of these ideas merits further discussion and I look forward to a robust exchange of ideas when this item returns to the Board. I am sure that there are other ideas that we should explore, but as I said at the Board meeting, the solution to overcrowded parking cannot be a “one size fits all.”

The needs of auto dependent stations are different than the needs of stations in more urbanized parts of the District. While the solutions may be different, the differences should be respected.

Director Keller represents the BART District 2, which includes Antioch, Brentwood, Concord (partial), Oakley, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Byron, Knightsen, Bethel Island, and Discovery Bay.

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