Station to nowhere?

With no pedestrian walkways, completion of BART project to be delayed one year

Pleasanton residents who have witnessed the new West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station taking shape in the middle of Interstate 580 will have to wait another year for it to open. Transit officials are now saying the weldings of steel pieces to be used in the pedestrian walkways aren't up to standard.

Initially slated to open later this year, the station is now looking at a late 2010, early 2011 completion and an additional $2.5 million added to the total cost due to welding problems.

The problems lie in the welding of the metal that will be used in the walkways connecting riders from both the Pleasanton and Dublin sides of the freeway to the station.

It was discovered in June 2008 by Caltrans, which has oversight for the project, according to BART spokeswoman Luna Salaver.

Caltrans determined that the welds didn't meet the proper safety requirements and could not be repaired. The state transportation agency's standards differ from BART's, and it doesn't appear the weldings were unsafe, but rather they didn't meet the stricter standards.

Two of the steel trusses currently lie near parking structures on the Pleasanton and Dublin sides and another two are located near the I-580-I-680 interchange.

"The delay started in June 2008, so we worked with the contractors, the inspectors, Caltrans and the developers to do a complete analysis of this weld situation, and only after that thorough analysis was done, there was a decision made that the most cost-effective path forward would be to rebuild the trusses," Salaver said.

New steel products will cost up to $2.5 million. Salaver said BART has hired a contractor to oversee the construction of the walkways to make sure they meet standards.

"They're going to construct new walkways and as the welds are done, BART and BART contractors as well as Caltrans will be monitoring quality control and quality assurance," she said.

It's unclear who is paying for the additional cost to the $87.5-million project. Salaver said BART is working with all of the agencies involved to determine who will be held financially responsible.

"It's not settled at this point in time, but we are working diligently so it doesn't affect the taxpayers," she said.

The project was developed as a public-private partnership, with $57.5 million stemming from bonds BART sold, $14 million in grants and $15 million in land-generated revenues, Salaver said.

The city of Pleasanton entered into a funding agreement in 2006 along with the city of Dublin and the Alameda County Surplus Property Authority that allows BART to draw from a reserve fund at the time the transit agency was selling construction bonds, according to Dave Culver, who is Pleasanton's finance director.

"What this agreement calls for is it obligates each entity for providing some reserve funding that BART can access should their operating revenues fall short of their expenses, including debt service," Culver said.

Out of a total commitment of $8 million between all of those agencies, half has been set aside to BART. The remaining $4 million will be allotted when the project is completed. Pleasanton's share is a total of $1 million ($500,000 of which has already been set aside) that comes from funds the city collects in transportation development fees to be used toward reducing traffic congestion.

"Up to this point, since (the project) didn't open on time, (BART officials) have notified everyone that they will draw down $1.5 million from that reserve fund for debt service on their bonds," Culver said.

The station is now 75 percent complete. The walkways had been less than 10 percent complete, Salaver said. Two parking structures, one on each side of the freeway in Pleasanton and Dublin, are 95 percent finished.

Once fully built, the new station, located in the median of I-580 between Golden Gate Road in Dublin and Stoneridge Mall Road in Pleasanton, will provide an additional stop in the current 10-mile gap between the East Dublin/Pleasanton and Castro Valley stations.

As part of the station project, a new transit village was planned on the Dublin side to include a 150-room hotel, 210-unit apartment complex and retail/office space. On the Pleasanton side, the City Council approved last September a 350-unit apartment complex described as a transit-oriented development to reduce freeway congestion that was slated to coincide with the opening of the station. Part of that development also included 14,000 square feet of retail space, where developers had hoped to house a grocery store.

But earlier this year, the developer of those projects, San Diego-based Windstar Communities, said those would be pushed back due to the economic downturn. Windstar Vice President Eric Heffner said the hotel may not be a viable option anymore.

Bob Russell, a principal for Oakland-based Ampelon Development Group, which acted as the master developer on the project, said a portion of land in Dublin that was slated for the apartments has now gone back to a lender, but the parcel's status is unclear.

Windstar still controls the other portions of the project including the hotel and retail space in Dublin and the residential development in Pleasanton, but is holding off for now on developing it.

"Like anyone, they're waiting for better market conditions to start with new construction," Russell said.

Pamela Ott, Pleasanton's economic development director, said the city understands the station's delay and believes once built, it will spur future economic growth.

"Whenever the new West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station does open it will certainly be a benefit to that area of town, providing a transportation option to the employees and residents located around Stoneridge Shopping Center," Ott said. "We know, too, that the new station will help to alleviate some of the parking impacts at the existing station."


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Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:01 am

Look at the bright side. One more year before the invasion from the the thieves and creeps coming over the hill to the Mall.

Also this should never been built. Extension to Greenfield in Livermore was far more needed.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:17 am

If you're freaked out about the Street Preachers disrupting your peaceful surroundings, wait until the drug dealers arrive and hang out 24/7 in the parks and make Plutonia more unsafe. Families looking for a fun time will join you on weekends for free music, movies, religious services; pickpockets and more prostitutes + a rise in petty theft and violence...expect it. Plutonia is gonna look more like a, brown, black, yellow, lavender, white....

Build the transit and they will come.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:38 am

This station is the joke of the Tri-Valley. The city council saw dollar signs and the word "free" from the developer and they pounced. With the delay the city will have to ante up money to BART for not meeting projected revenue targets. Oops, not free anymore!

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm

This BART station should NEVER have been built in the first place. We all know the effort and money should have been spent with a station further out in Livermore. This would have solved so much more than a mall stop station. All that will happen when the new location does open is that it will slow down the transport on the line. Also, look at the condition of Bay Fair Mall - it's exactly what is to happen at Stoneridge. The folks with spending $$$ will now drive to Walnut Creek or Valley Fair to make purchases. The folks who just want to hang out in the AC or heat - will come out on BART. Who thinks this is a good idea. So, in the end this is an example of driving a square peg into a round hole.....the delays and cost just keep minimizing the effort being put into the entire project. Let's just put the current "hideous steel box" that is currently in place on a truck and move it into place in Livermore where it will at least help with traffic reduction.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I think that the real concern has more to do with racial/ethnic minorities and other poor people hanging out in Plutonia and not being able to control the influx or their attitudes and behavior. There will also be an increase in drinking, drugs for sale, prostitution, noise, violence, theft and more litter on the streets.

There may also be an increase in the number of day workers looking for jobs and all of them will be "illegals". If you hire them, they will return and the word is gonna get out and they will find the certain streets to hang out on so that drive by residents find them when they need a day worker and only want to pay slave wages. They will accept slave wages because they are hungry.

If the day workers are injured on the job, I'll do my best to inform that they can receive free medical care in the nearest ER.

If the drug dealers are connected to any of the Mexican drug cartels, they will not hesitate to fight with you if try to mess with their illegal activities. They are not afraid and they act out violently if they perceive danger to their person, imagined or real.

If the hang around the fort types are young, expect an increase in pedophiles looking for young friends.

Understand that the Catholic church might offer many of the "illegals" sanctuary which sometimes includes food, a place to sleep and other freebies.

Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Some time ago I played golf with an Iron Worker that was scheduled to install the steel. He said he was tired of waiting around on the job site and decided to play golf - while drawing full pay...

Who said unions don't look out for their members...:)

Like this comment
Posted by 2nd amendment citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:49 pm

I also agree that i'm looking forward to the rise in car thefts and robberies that this great Bart stop will bring. Another reason i don't shop at Stoneridge anymore.

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 12:28 am

How many times have we heard about robberies in the parking lot at Stoneridge Mall over the past year? What a waste of money to have two stations within the same town when others such as livermore are suffering from horrible commutes on 580.

Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:20 am

I'm wondering why the good people in Livermore haven't sued BART...

Also, if BART can run to Silicone Valley, why can't it run to Livermore and on over the Altamont. Why can't our local politicians get some of this so-called "stimulus money" coming our way for an easterly extention...

Like this comment
Posted by Big Deal
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Sep 22, 2009 at 7:57 am

They have been working on the 580 - 238 merge for 100 years and it's still not done. And you really want this state and the feds running your healthcare?

Like this comment
Posted by Hermendez
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

This project already slows down the line! one of the tracks is down through the construction zone. So trains that are traveling to Dublin/Pleasanton BART stop and wait for the outgoing train to vacate the tracks.
The problems with the welds are that the contractor made them without an inspector present which is required for bridges. Who's in charge here? didn't they hire professionals that would know these things?
So everyone seems to agree the station is unnecessary. many people feel the same way about the Oakland airport extension. It is total waste. It's amazing that in such times money is squandered in these ways.
If BART came to Livermore it could increase ridership. The amount of traffic I face to use BART robs the benefits. If I could avoid this traffic jam, I might actually commute on BART instead of using only when my car is broke down.

Like this comment
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

They built the Oracle building, which is 10 times bigger, in half the time it took them to get the Bart Station built to the point it is today. What a joke.

Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I wonder how many more decades until they build a new connector ramp from 580 west to 680 south?

Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Sep 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Tell me more about the robberies in the parking lot. I don't read the newspapers, any pointers to stories? I often park in the mall for a spell -- guess I should stop that?

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 22, 2009 at 5:47 pm

During the xmas holiday, many people sit in cars. They are scanning the big shoppers. They count on some shoppers to pack their gifts in the trunks of their cars and go back and shop until they drop. The theives then open the trunk, take your packages and wait for another shopper to filler up!

Watch out for purse snatchers all the time, they are looking for a woman or girls with a purse that is clearly dangling. They snatch and goooooooooooooooo!

Avoid completely anybody, man/woman or child begging for spare change. They often work in teams to distract you while somebody else does the stealing. Always works.

Don't give money to charities unless you know the charity.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 22, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Incidentally, all the wishing and complaining is not going to keep people from visiting Plutonia and building the BART station. There may be a BART station to Livermore, but Plutonia get theirs FIRST!

I forgot to mention that you can also expect that there will be an increase purse snatchers when BART is completed. What goes around comes around.

What happens to enclaves is that they get chopped up! That is what BART is going to do to Pleasanton...whatever...

Like this comment
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 23, 2009 at 8:55 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

So... what exactly was the reasoning behind building this BART station?

Who asked for it? Who does it help? I honestly can't come up with a single benefit to having another BART station about a mile away from another one.

Methinks some political palms were greased with some financial lubricant.

Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Sep 23, 2009 at 10:00 am

At the time it was approved, many of us questioned this station, especially since Livermore has been paying towards a BART extension for years . . . and it looks like they've been pushed back again by the extension BART is pushing out towards Fremont. Makes no sense to me when, for years, the 2nd most congested strip of freeway in the Bay Area is on the 580 between Pleasanton and Livermore . . .

Here's one of the Planning Commission Staff Reports from 2007 on the high density multi use complex that was supposed to be going in. I'm not sure where it stands now, but note that the development group put in a chunk of the funding for the West station.
Web Link

Here's the funding agreement from 2005. BART was going to issue bonds . . . Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 23, 2009 at 10:06 am

@ Parent of Two - Apparently, this BART station was a public private partnership where most of the funding was to come from the private sector. The motivation of the private developers to pay for the station was to build additional retail and housing around the station creating a "transit village" ala Fruitvale station. When the economy tanked, the developers backed away from the project putting pressure on the public financing for the project.

So to answer your question, the project was driven by the developers, not the people, not the city, and not BART. Those parties were just lured by the dollar signs.

Like this comment
Posted by westsider
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 23, 2009 at 10:08 am

Cholo, the Pleasanton Police Dept. will have a substation onsite in the development next to the new B.A.R.T. station.

Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm

RE: Tom's comment at the top. After first reading your comment, I questioned your intelligence. Why else would someone be so afraid of the possibility that they may actually have to face someone with a skin color other than white when they go to their precious mall. Then, you did me the favor of confirming your lack thereof. It's Greenville, not Greenfield. Check your facts, read a book and get out of your white bread neighborhood once in a while.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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