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Editorial: Full BART to Livermore is the best option

Original post made on Mar 22, 2018

Make no mistake: This spring marks the most critical juncture for the BART to Livermore project, and the potential of bringing a BART rail extension to Isabel Avenue is very much up in the air. So make your voices heard.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 22, 2018, 2:54 PM

Comments (24)

Posted by Alexey
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 22, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Who would go to the stop on Isabel? The BART stop should be n Livermore downtown to be really useful. Just next to the train station. People should live close to the station so they would not have to use cars at all. How does a stop at Isabel Avenue help with that?

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I believe Bart should go all the way to Lawrence Livermore National Lab On Vasco Road.

The Lab has the acreage for parking, station building, etc. That will take more cars off of the freeways then any of the other options being considered.

Posted by Buc Lau
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Sadly, the truth is that BART to Livermore is nothing but a pipe dream and will NEVER happen. Why-you ask? Well, has anyone noticed that the Fastrac lanes recently built on 580 eliminated the median? That median was controlled by BART for decades and set-aside for the Livermore extension. BART gave up that control back to CalTrans in order for the toll lanes to be built. One would wonder who benefited from that back room deal and slight of hand. With the median gone, so is any hope for an extension.

Never, ever going to happen.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:14 pm

Great idea and need, I don't see tjis organization executing it though, I wouldn't throw another dollar at bart until they can show fiscal responsibility and safe, clean ridership

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 22, 2018 at 10:07 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Buc, not really. BART was never in control over the median, and the freeway would need to have been shifted the same with or without the toll lanes. The money lost is Caltrans’, as if they could have held out until the extension was put in, they would have gotten their lanes for nearly free.

But they assumed it couldn’t wait, and since the tolls pay for it, why not go for it.

We need this extension, so we can get a lot of the Central Valley riders more evenly distributed between stations. But BART as a system does not have a history of fairness or reasonableness in its planning.

Posted by Buc Lau
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2018 at 10:48 pm

Grumpy. I agree with most of your post, except I may suggest you research my original statement as to who held control. I was told that by three engineers from CalTrans who worked on the toll lane project. I don’t think all three were wrong-but you never know. At any rate I think that BART has proven to be just another money hungry inept governmental agency at best.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 23, 2018 at 7:25 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

I’m looking for Caltrans’ public statement on this, which I seem to recall they made because of how silly it all seemed.

The rest of 580, where BART is now, used to have the same median as where the toll lanes were placed. Nevertheless, BART had to move the roadway quite a bit to create enough room for BART and leave shoulders. BART is quite a bit wider than light rail in both the width of the trains and the space it needs.

That being said, I can’t dispute that BART has not conducted itself well these last few years. Maybe we’ll all feel better with the new train cars. But yes, they do operate like large company middle managers and bureaucrats: more money means checking more items off of a wish list, rather than being prudent and only doing what’s needed. That’s why you have to earmark funds. Otherwise they’ll upgrade their dining room when you’re not looking.

Posted by Justsignedup
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:21 am

Sent this to BART: "I hope the BART politicians mismanaging this system is embarrassed with themselves. I want to hear more about this much needed extension that has been paid by the local residents in mismanaged taxes since the 70's"

Posted by Suzanne Van Fleet
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:26 am

I think the year was 1970. My sister was a technical writer for TRW, and probably because she was young and beautiful she was invited to TRW's gala celebrating the head of BART and the makers of the train cars from Germany. Everyone at the party was treating these individuals like gods, until my sister's boss introduced her to the BART bigwig. He asked her if she was familiar with the mass transit trains at which point my sister crossed her arms over her chest, looked him in the eye and announced, "I'm from LIVERMORE. He followed her around the rest of the night promising and trying to convince her that they were coming to Livermore next. Livermore has been paying for something they still haven't received for over 50 years. More promises or is someone actually going to deliver?

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm

BART needs to go to downtown Livermore, or the extension shouldn't be build, period.

Posted by Jerry A
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Why not run BART parallel to 580 on the north side instead of tearing up freeway they just finished? There is still plenty of open land from El Charro to North Livermore Ave. to run it and leave 580 alone. Personally i would rather keep BART outof Livermore as it will bring the riff-raff downtown and ruin the Outlets much how they ruined StoneRidge Mall. Ask JC Penney shoppers how many cars got broken into since BART arrived. No thanks, I will drive to Pleasanton if I need to take BART

Posted by Rebecca
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 24, 2018 at 5:13 pm

The most traffic comes down the Altamont and Vasco. Placing BART at Isabel will barely affect traffic. It would be well suited at Vasco and 580. That would have the largest impact on traffic. And it's a small bus ride from there to the lab. A second station later at Fallon makes sense for bringing in shoppers to the outlets. But Isabelle makes zero sense.

Posted by ???
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2018 at 8:35 am

Isabelle makes sense when you consider how much high density housing is planned in that immediate area. Thank you Sacramento

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:54 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Isabelle because that’s where BART already owns the land and has the park and ride.

For taxes, no, Livermore has not been paying taxes for 50 years for BART to be extended there. It’s by county, and Livermore has been paying 50 years for BART to Oakland. That doesn’t mean that BART shouldn’t go to Livermore, though.

Why not the north side of the freeway? I’m not sure it would make a difference in cost. The bridges over streets—the biggest cost—are the same no matter where you stick BART. And the ramps on the north side of every interchange would need to be rebuilt anyway. So what’s left is whether to rebuild the toll infrastructure itself. And I suspect a bridge to move BART from the center to the north would cost a lot more than the reconfigured toll infrastructure.

Why not downtown Livermore? Go ask Livermore. They don’t want it.

Why not Vasco? Maybe. But they’re still going to build Isabel, because Livermore, wisely, wants to place their transit corridor development where there is empty land.

Why light rail/diesel? That’s the question I’d like to know. It makes very little sense to require changing trains at a heavy transit corridor. And it’s not even penny wise. The fact that PW correctly considers it a threat because BART could very well choose it is the problem. I don’t really know a solution, besides if BART chooses poorly, forcing the state or federal government to direct BART to not keep a poor choice.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2018 at 3:27 pm

BobB is a registered user.

What is everyone's problem with high density housing? Near a BART station is the perfect place for it. I like the new apartments and townhouses in Pleasanton near the BART station there. The fewer cars on the road, the better.

Yes in my back yard.

Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

@Buc Lau. Welcome to my table, I’ve been saying the same thing since they started work on those Fastrac ( Lexus) lanes, no room for Bart anymore, nice planning Caltrans who got the payoff on this project?? Smartest thing Livermore could do would be to pull out of Alameda County and quit paying for a pipe dream they will never see! Pleasanton will always be the end of the line and the recipient of all the riff-raff riding the rails.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 25, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Not sure I understand the conspiratorial tendency here. Yes, BART is at risk of making a terrible decision. But Caltrans did not. That space was never set aside for BART. It was set aside for oleanders.

Sure, adding toll lanes means that the BART project needs to now widen the freeway significantly more. But Caltrans doesn’t have to pay a penny for that. BART does. If you want to blame an agency, blame the right one.

PS. This is an old discussion. For example: Web Link

Posted by JSebastian
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 25, 2018 at 8:23 pm

BART to Livermore won't do much to relieve congestion because most of the traffic on 580 isn't caused by Livermore residents getting on the freeway...only a tiny percentage of which are BART riders in the first place.

There might be as many as a couple of thousand Livermore BART riders (I doubt its that many), but the point is, being able to get on the train a few miles earlier isn't going to fix 580...its just too small a percentage of the total traffic.

If you want to relieve that congestion, the easiest way is a big-rig ban during all commute hours (basically the hours the HOV lane is in operation). There is no reason to force commuters to compete with big rigs just to get to work. Deliveries can be scheduled outside of peak traffic hours. We have incompatible vehicle mix during commutes...its not a smart way to apportion scarce resources. Implement a Time-Of-Use scheme to separate these incompatible vehicles, and watch the freeway flow smoothly. The CHP will be happy to tell you that most days, there are multiple collisions involving big rigs on 580.

If you really must have a train connection, the least expensive way to connect BART to ACE is not to go down the freeway all the way to Greenville, that's just wasteful.

Just spur BART south down through the quarry property near the outlets, all the way to Stanley, where the ACE line is, and build a transfer station there. Then any ACE ride who wants to, which can include just about any Central Valley commuter (because they can board ACE in Tracy, Manteca/Lathrop, or Stockton), can ride BART without their car ever coming over the Altamont.

Now, is that not a far superior solution? Its less than 3 miles of BART line instead of 10. It still hooks up to ACE. Livermore people who want to ride it still can (they can board at either of the two ACE stations in Livermore, they don't have to ever get on the freeway).

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 25, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.


I agree with your second point: they could just make the connection there. I suspect it’s orobablt because ACE has very limited morning service only, and BART probably is trying to provision for future 15 min daylight service to Mountain House and Tracy, places that will definitely get developed in 30-50 years, just as will the entire 580 corridor up to the Altamont pass split. Of course, one could just upgrade ACE to do that, but like Caltrain it probably won’t happen.

I think we should have a toll booth on the Altamont pass charging people for the real economic impact of their commute. But that won’t happen. The Lexus lanes are the closest we’ll get. And to be sure, once toll lanes become self driving only lanes and those start to consume most of the lanes on the freeway, the traffic problem will probably go down quite a bit.

As for BART extension not relieving congestion, that’s true today but not for the future buildout. They’ll stick another 100,000 people in the Livermore Valley.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 25, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Lexus lanes? Don't think I've ever seen a lexus in those lanes. Leafs, bolts, sparks, volts, fiats, model s, sure, no Lexi though

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 25, 2018 at 10:20 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Haven’t hear Lexi before. I like it! The name Lexus Lane may only be an analogy, but I am happy to announce my coining the name Bentley Bypass for the 73 toll road in SoCal, as I’m pretty sure only people who drive Bentley’s are allowed to live in Newport Beach.

I’m so glad the state never followed through building the 84 toll road they were supposed to at the same time. Vasco as a toll road wouldn’t have even made sense.

Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2018 at 5:30 pm

BART to Livermore was talked about in 1999 when I moved to California, I left last year and looks like it is still being talked about. It’s a bummer the people out there still pay taxes toward it but haven’t received the service.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 26, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Bentley bypass - points for creativity. But at $30k used they're nothing youre onto something.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 27, 2018 at 8:21 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

I love it! But I’m not sure they have that sort of good taste down there. However, it would be an incredible road to get a Bugatti on.

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