By Xuan Lam
BART Website Intern
Just one month away from its opening day, BART’s newest station -- West Dublin/Pleasanton -- buzzes with construction activity. Metal is clanking, drills are humming and construction workers in neon-yellow vests and hard hats are putting the finishing touches on the 44th station in the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, the first to open since the San Francisco International Airport extension in 2003.
Photo by Xuan Lam
Perched above a busy freeway, in view of the gently rolling hills that define the landscape here, the West Dublin/Pleasanton Station looks at first glance like a utilitarian, simple silver structure. It’s not outwardly evident but this station has a number of special features that make it an innovative addition to the BART system. It was built in between the existing Dublin/Pleasanton station to its east and the Castro Valley station to its west.
It is quite unusual to build an "infill" station in between two other stations on a continuously operating transit line without any major interruptions, said Jim Gravesande, the BART group manager for the project. "This is the first of its kind" in the BART system” and one of only a handful in the nation, he said. It is much more common to build new station extensions at the end of lines, rather than to "infill" a station between older ones.
"Building an infill station makes it more complicated," Gravesande said. "We are right in the middle of an operating rail line. We were able to do it with only minimal service interruptions." The feat was accomplished by single-tracking through the area during the construction; essentially, running trains along one of two sets of tracks while work was continuing on the other.
The $106 million project is also notable for being built in partnership with private funding, with partners who want to create housing, retail and other transit-oriented development in the area. The station also provides pedestrian access to the Stoneridge Shopping Center, a large mall.
"We used the land as leverage to get funding for the project," Gravesande said. "We have not impacted BART's operating budget to build this project. It's a model that can be used in the future."
The station is expected to be a welcome addition for many who live in the busy I580-I680 corridor and beyond, because it will offer additional parking and another way to access public transportation. "I think having more options is a great thing for BART. I think it’ll definitely attract more riders" said frequent BART rider Aurora Baxter of Berkeley.
Gravesande noted that as more people moved to outer reaches of the Bay Area to find more affordable housing, to places like Tracy and Mountain House, "some people ended up with a two-hour commute to work." Additional BART service to the area will help "people who are looking for easier ways to get to where they are going," he said. In addition, as jobs have been created in the business parks around Dublin and Pleasanton, BART also gives residents of other areas the option to take public transportation to their jobs in these areas, not only to get from them to jobs in San Francisco and Oakland.
Opening day: February 19, 2011
Hours and schedules: First train of the day toward San Francisco on weekdays leaves West Dublin/Pleasanton at 4:15 a.m.; last train of the day from San Francisco on weekdays arrives West Dublin/Pleasanton at 1:25 a.m. To plan any trip, use the QuickPlanner - and be sure to use a date of Feb. 19 or later. Minor adjustments to the overall BART schedule may occur due to the addition of the new station into the system; use the QuickPlanner for details on any change to specific schedules starting Feb. 19 or later.
Sample fare: One-way to Powell Street Station in San Francisco, $5.40. To calculate any fare to or from West Dublin/Pleasanton, use the QuickPlanner; be sure to use a date of Feb. 19 or later.
Parking: 722 spaces on Dublin side; 468 on Pleasanton side. More info on parking at the new station.
To view a slideshow with more images from the new West Dublin/Plesanton station under construction, visit the BART blog.