Valley Link — a train system to connect Northern San Joaquin Valley commuters to the BART system that currently terminates at the Dublin/Pleasanton station in the center of Interstate 580 — could be up and running by 2024.
The Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commissioned agreed this week to spend $10 million on environmental studies for the project some estimate will cost as $1.8 billion, which is sustainably lower than extending BART to Livermore that the MTC rejected last year. There is already $400 million set aside for Valley Link.
The initial phase targeted to start operations in six years would run from River Islands in Lathrop to the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. River Islands has offered to build the station while seeking approval to build what would be the San Joaquin Valley’s first transit village with housing and retail. Parking would be on the east side of the tracks behind where Dell’Osso Farms operates the Pumpkin Maze as well as Holidays on the Farm.
Service would be extended to Stockton as part of a later phase. The system also will connect with the Altamont Corridor Express that is targeted to start running trains through Manteca by 2024 with stops in downtown Manteca, Ripon, Modesto, and Ceres.
An open house serving as a public scoping meeting that is part of the environmental review process takes place Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tracy City hall lobby, 333 Civic Center Plaza, Tracy. Detailed project information can be found at www.valleylinkrail.com.
Part of the justification for investing in the commuter line are statistics that show since 2010 the nine-county Bay Area region has created 700,000 new jobs but has built only 100,000 housing units. That forces more workers to locate away from the Bay Area core putting additional pressure on freeways. Stations are planned at Isabel Avenue as well as the Greenview ACE station in Livermore, West Tracy/Mountain House, downtown Tracy, River Islands at Lathrop, and in North Lathrop for a second ACE connection.
Trains will operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. both weekdays and weekends. Peak hours will be from 5 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Trains on the Tri-Valley segment will initially operate every 12 minutes during peak hours to match BART service frequency. In the off peak hours, Tri-Valley trains will run every 30 minutes.
Those trains originating from the San Joaquin Valley will operate every 24 minutes during peak times to meet every other BART train. The trains would operate on an hourly frequency during off-peak times.
Trains are initially projected to have 25,000 riders per day. They will run on tracks that right-of-way has already been secured to build upon.
By getting vehicles off the I-580 corridor it is expected to improve overall mobility for key freight movement between the Port of Oakland and the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
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