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February 3, 2010 > Milpitas BART transit center plan

Milpitas BART transit center plan

By Dustin Findley

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is working with the City on the design of the future BART station in Milpitas. Both parties discussed the current stage of design at the Transportation & Land Use Subcommittee meeting on January 11.

VTA is going through the federal approval process for the overall BART design, and expects the necessary record of decision in spring when VTA can begin the acquisition of property that would be used for the BART development. Construction is expected to last from 2012 to 2018.

The BART transit center is a multi-modal station for transfer between BART, light rail and buses. It has several components, including a "bus yard," parking for BART riders, shuttle stops and "kiss and ride" points for passenger drop-off.

An example of a transit center is the one currently in place at the Great Mall with circulating VTA buses, one AC Transit bus, some parking separate from the mall parking lot and the VTA light rail.

VTA presented modifications to the BART transit center plan. It differs from what Planning and Neighborhood Services Director James Lindsay refers to as the "city-approved" plan with regard to the amount of space required. Model runs and the transit center's anticipated needs have grown resulting in the need for a larger footprint. The City hoped for a smaller footprint to allow more opportunities for private development.

The potential development site is a 3 1/2 acre mini-storage site owned by The Pegasus Group with whom VTA will enter into discussions once the record of decision is granted. The property needs to be acquired and very likely condemned. The area is zoned mixed use, high density housing. VTA will manage the condemnation process.

Mayor Robert Livengood questioned the development of surface parking, the least effective use of land, pointing out that it does not make sense to waste land that sells for $2M per acre. Lindsay explained modifications had to be made to accommodate the bus yard as far away from residences as possible. It is hoped that as the economy recovers VTA will work with developers to build upon the surface parking lot. The property will be appraised at market value during condemnation.

"Our hope would be that it's an interim parking lot," said Lindsay.

According to VTA staff, the corner parcel will be used as surface parking because a large parking structure would significantly impact traffic circulation through the site and the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Montague Expressway. A parking garage is not physically possible.

"This development means the City will lose approximately 150 - 200 potential housing units," concluded Lindsay.

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