The future Berryessa BART station , March 5, 2014 in San Jose, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Q I hope BART from Fremont to San Jose opens before my next birthday on Aug. 6. Will it?
A No, but you’re a mere 50 years old and the opening is not far away. There’s a big shindig planned Wednesday in San Jose when the California Transportation Commission comes to town to dole out $39.6 million, the final allocation of $768 million it promised in state funds 14 years ago thanks to Gov. Gray Davis.
That was a critical move, as it marked the first time any money had been set aside for the $2.3 billion BART project. Santa Clara County voters later approved two sales taxes for BART, and the Federal Transit Administration chipped in $900 million. The 10-mile link from Fremont to Berryessa will open in two years and is $70 million under budget.
Officials who will meet at the future Berryessa station on Mabury Road include CTC Chairman Carl Guardino, Congressman Mike Honda, California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly, VTA General Manager Nuria Fernandez, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, VTA chair and San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra, Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger, San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo and Palo Alto City Councilwoman Liz Kniss. Whew!
The Warm Springs to South Fremont link is due to open late next year.
Q Traffic at the preseason 49ers game Sunday was much better than at the stadium preview event or the Earthquakes game. We left our house off Union Avenue in Los Gatos at 10:30 a.m., or about the same time we used to leave for a 1 p.m. game at Candlestick. We took the recommended route up 85 to 237 to Great America to Red Lot 4. It only took 35 minutes door to door. That’s only 5-10 minutes more than with no traffic. Signage was better; lanes were closed off to guide traffic; and the staff was better informed. It was only about 35 minutes home again via the same route. I couldn’t have asked for anything better other than a touchdown or two.
A Or three or four.
Q In reply to Jeff Bedolla’s letter in Monday’s column asking the public to help the self-proclaimed road boulder get out of his car and onto Caltrain by paying his train fare, his employer will happily pay him to take the train. There’s a special tax benefit for companies that do the Commuter Check program to encourage employees not to drive. I’ve been enjoying this benefit for 20 years, and it’s definitely a lot less stressful.
A Robert’s company covers his monthly $126 pass, and he says his employer will pay up to $250 a month for Commuter Check. Go to www.511.org or call 511 and say “Commuter Benefits.”
Q Something I have not seen discussed in your column: Do front seat passengers who put their feet up on the dash ever consider that the air bag might go off in an accident, pushing their knees into their face and what that would feel like? I’m guessing not. I swear some passengers have no common sense.
Bob Steiner, John Heinlein and more
A Keep those feet off the dashboard, please!