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October 22, 2010 > Station District projects on schedule

Station District projects on schedule

By Shavon Walker

The Station District Plan was approved by Union City City Council in 2001 and incorporated into the General Plan in 2002. Much has happened since then; the former PG&E pipe yard site has been acquired, as has right-of-way for the East-West connector. Completion of 11th Street, sidewalks and landscaping have improved access to the BART Station.

City Manager Larry Cheeves gave Council an update on Station District projects on October 12, 2010.

There are several projects under construction. BART Phase 1 will reconfigure the BART parking lot. This will allow for better bus, bicycle and pedestrian access. The project is almost complete and the official ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for December 2, 2010.

The East-West Connector Project (EWC), between Mission Boulevard and Alvarado-Niles Road, will relieve congestion and allow for pedestrian and bicycle use. In addition, 11th Street will connect to the EWC to provide a second point of access to the Station District. The construction contract will be awarded in April 2012 and the project will be finished by November 2013.

The pedestrian promenade helps link the Shelton properties to the Station District. An interim pedestrian promenade and plaza will be constructed at the same time as Mid-Peninsula Housing's Phase 2 project. The temporary parts of the promenade will consist of palm trees, a walkway, an emergency vehicle access area for the Fire Department and an open space in which a playground can be built. Ideally, the temporary playground would have animal-sculpture play equipment and landscaping. The playground would occupy part of the future location of the Pavilion. The playground, Pavilion and a cafˇ would create a community environment for the East Plaza. Wi-Fi access will also be available.

The East Plaza will include landscaping, a fountain, three bronze statues of dancers and an interim open space area which will later house either a public library or a fine arts facility.

Construction will be funded by Department of Housing and Community Development Proposition 1C Transit Oriented Development (TOD) grant and a Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) grant. The Transit Loop Road construction will be funded by a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant. The construction drawings will be completed by December 2010, while the contract should be awarded by early 2011. Construction will be complete by early 2012.

Several options are being considered for the link between the East Plaza and the BART Station. One option is to create an elevated passenger rail station above the Union Pacific rail tracks. An at-grade crossing or over-crossing would be constructed in the meantime.

There are also several options for a pedestrian connection to the Shelton property. One is a 260 ft.-long overpass for pedestrians. It would extend from Cheeves Way over the Niles sub-division railroad tracks and go under the PG&E power lines, which would be raised to meet clearance requirements. Another is a 100 ft.-overpass over the tracks. A tower/elevator would take up pedestrians from Cheeves Way. Once they have crossed over, they would take another elevator to return to street level on the Shelton-property side. Two other options are underpasses that would extend either 260 ft. or 100 ft. below ground and under the tracks but Union City Police Department does not support this idea due to the lack of surveillance. The option that is eventually chosen must be completed by 2017.

The Redevelopment Agency (RDA) budget will not be affected by the Station District projects. Funding for these projects is provided mostly through grants while matching funds are provided by budgeted RDA funds.

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