BART To Bore A Single Tunnel Underneath Downtown San Jose
On April 5, I joined the rest of my colleagues on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Board in unanimously voting to proceed with boring a single tunnel underneath Downtown San Jose for the second phase of the BART South Bay extension. There was a lot of healthy debate about whether or not to bore one big tunnel or two smaller ones underneath Downtown for five miles between the Berryessa and Santa Clara BART stations. Ultimately, every member of the board agreed that the single bore was the best option. The single bore will mean less surface impact during the construction phase for Downtown residents and businesses. This includes significantly less disruption to auto traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians along Santa Clara Street because it will not have to be closed at any point during the boring process. Light rail service on Santa Clara Street between 1st and 2nd streets would also have been shut down for an extended period if the twin bores had been selected. A single bore also will provide BART with greater operational flexibility once the system is running in the South Bay. There will be multiple crossover tracks and areas to store train cars within the tunnel for emergencies, special events, or regular maintenance activities. Several more preliminary steps are needed, including securing crucial federal funding, but Phase II construction is scheduled to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2026, at which time we will finally achieve the goal so many of us have been working so long for—a direct BART line from Santa Clara through Downtown San Jose and continuing all the way to the East Bay and San Francisco.