Council OKs Hillcrest eBART Station

Station agent on duty and restrooms open only 4 hours/day, no escalators

By Dave Roberts

Smile – you’re on eBART camera. Antioch’s leaders did not get their wish to have escalators in the Hillcrest eBART Station when it opens in four years. But they will get no fewer than 38 cameras in and around the station to deter criminal activity.

Antioch’s City Council had threatened in December to oppose the station planned at Hillcrest Avenue and Highway 4 if it does not include station agents, restrooms and escalators. That threat was made by Councilman Brian Kalinowski, backed strongly by former Mayor Don Freitas and not questioned or contradicted by other council members.

But there was nary a discouraging word from city leaders at Tuesday night’s council meeting when eBART Project Manager Rick Rattay showed the council an updated station plan that provides space for future escalators but does not include the escalators themselves.

Whether escalators will later be provided will depend on whether there is adequate ridership to justify the expense, according to a staff report. However, the station and platform will each have an elevator for the disabled.

The end-of-the-line eBART terminal will include a station agent. But he will be on site for only four hours each day – two hours during the peak morning commute and two for the afternoon peak. The station will also include restrooms, but they will be open only for the four hours per day that the station agent is on the job to monitor and service them.

The council’s opposition in December to a scaled-down Hillcrest Station was led by Kalinowski, who said, “It has to be the full option, and we see what the bids reveal and move from there,” he said. “If it can’t be included in the bid document, I direct city staff to bring back to the City Council a resolution to request the BART Board to not approve the bid to go out. At the end of the day if the project and facility doesn’t meet the needs of the city of Antioch, then it’s the wrong project for Antioch and it should not be a project built in Antioch.”

Freitas also blasted the scaled-down Hillcrest plan at the December meeting: “I cannot believe at this stage we are talking about a station agent, an escalator and a bathroom. It just boggles my mind. The concept of eBART is that we would always, always, always build the extension to classic BART standards – and in the interim we would have the eBART standard. So to see a design that doesn’t have some of the basic components of a station is absolutely unbelievable and, frankly, unacceptable. This council should say ‘no.’

“I’m just appalled that this is the type of discussion that we are having. These elements are basic to a station. We’ve all been to a city park after an event when the bathrooms are closed and they smell like urine. This station should not smell like urine. And there is a safety issue. You want to see a station agent that you can run to if there is an emergency. Having something 10 miles away (at the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station) on congested Highway 4 is not going to make it. This council should say ‘hell no’ to this project unless these elements are in the overall bid.”

But neither Kalinowski nor Freitas were at Tuesday’s council meeting. The other council members did not voice opposition to the lack of escalators and restriction of station agents and restrooms to just four hours per day.

Mayor Jim Davis did ask several questions about security at the station, which will be on a BART police patrol beat that includes the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station and the North Concord Station. That means that the nearest BART officer could be 14 congested highway miles away when needed at Hillcrest. Davis was assured that Antioch police would be notified in case of an emergency.

Council members were also comfortable with the station’s security plan, which includes:

· Thirty-eight cameras that can be monitored at the BART Police Dispatch Center in Oakland, the Hillcrest Station Police Room and the eBART Central Control and Maintenance Facility, which is a half-mile from the station. Fifteen cameras will be in the station, 15 on the platform in the median of Highway 4, six in the parking lot and one in each elevator.

· Ten courtesy phones, including five in the station, three on the platform and one in each elevator.

· Five emergency call boxes in the parking lot (which provides 1,000 spaces).

· Additional BART police patrol in the evening.

· An unsworn community service officer patrolling during the day when the station agent is not on site.

· A public address system in the station and on the platform that can be used to warn criminals or would-be criminals that they are being monitored. Passengers will also see themselves on a large monitor as they enter the station.

“I was initially skeptical about some of the issues,” said Councilman Gary Agopian. “I’m very pleased we received a listening ear. The outgrowth is an improved plan. ‘Safe and clean’ is the mantra every day when the station is open. That will improve the possibility of the station being used. We will have a nice widened highway out there. It would be great to have less cars on it. That would be the goal.”

In other action at Tuesday’s meeting, the council:

· Recognized Dozier-Libbey Medical High School for receiving the California Distinguished School Award.

· Learned that there will be two free housing workshops on June 25 – from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. a loan modification clinic at Black Diamond Middle School, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. a home buyer seminar in the City Council chambers. Call 779-6138 for more information.

· Learned that there will be a Fourth of July parade this year beginning at 10 a.m. at Second and E streets in downtown Antioch, but no fireworks. For more information call Walter Ruehlig at 756-7628 or e-mail or Applications to participate in the parade are at and

· Approved an urban water plan that ensures an adequate water supply in the city for the next 20 years.

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eBART Station 2

eBART Station 1

eBART Station


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