In an effort to mitigate the traffic congestion and parking headaches that have plagued the area, local and regional leaders came together on Tuesday afternoon to mark the ceremonial groundbreaking of a multi-platform parking garage for the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.
Once completed, the garage will provide BART commuters with 650-700 parking spaces, helping alleviate the over 3,000 people wait-listed for a permit/reserved parking spot at the Dublin-Pleasanton station
“There is a story here that I think our country needs now more than ever,” State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker said at the ceremony. “Leaders who can work together and do not give up easily can improve our quality of life every single day and that is what we are breaking ground on today.”
The current BART parking garage, located directly adjacent to the future site, has been unable to keep up with the needs of the region and is typically full by 7:30 a.m., Baker said.
She added that the new structure -- expected to open in late 2020 -- will make life easier for BART passengers, drivers who will spend less time in traffic and local residents who will no longer have to compete for street parking.
Baker, along with Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, were largely credited for securing the $20 million in funding from the state needed to commence construction of the structure, with the additional $10 million needed to finish the project coming from local government partners.
Officials said they are excited for the project not only because of the alleviation of traffic congestion, but also because of the positive environmental impact the region will enjoy as a result of less cars on the road.
“Most importantly (the structure) will allow our residents to use BART. It will take most of our congestion from our local city streets, where people are just wandering around trying to find a place to park, (and) it will put them in a parking garage,” Haggerty said. “This is one of the happiest days of my 22 years in public service.”
Haggerty added that the structure will have features specifically meant to compliment regional greenhouse gas reduction strategies, such as charging stations to promote electric vehicles and designated vanpool spots to encourage carpooling.
The project was initiated after BART’s decade-long inability to raise funds or approve plans for a 540-space garage to be located in the area, officials said. According to representatives from Baker’s office, BART claimed the project was never executed due to a lack of funding -- which officials estimated would cost $37 million.
“Over the course of the past decade it is both been incredibly disappointing and confusing, to see BART advance seemingly endless series of studies, environmental reviews, new plans and policies for stations. All … while experiencing explosive growth in housing in the Tri-Valley, and escalating congestion in our roadways,” Haggerty said.
The final design is still subject to some change but officials say it will be a convertible structure, allowing it to be redesigned for housing or office space if the region's traffic congestion and parking issues are somehow resolved in future years. It also remains unclear who will maintain ownership of the garage once it opens.
“You guys are really delivering for your constituents ... at a time where there is a lot of rhetoric, a lot of sharp elbows in our political system. I think what Assemblywoman Baker you and Supervisor Haggerty have shown is that by working together you can get things done in a constructive way, faster than the bureaucracy typically allows,” State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) said at the groundbreaking.
Haggerty also took the time to acknowledge former Dublin vice mayor Don Biddle -- who died in February after a brief illness -- saying the project would not have been possible without his efforts.