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July 24, 2012 > Warm Springs BART update

Warm Springs BART update

By Annie Yu

There is good news for BART passengers eagerly awaiting construction of a Warm Springs/South Fremont (WSX) station: the project is well under way. Although the extension is not expected to open until late 2015, construction of the grade separation under Stevenson Boulevard and tunnel under Lake Elizabeth is almost complete.

"We're about 93 percent physically complete there now," WSX project manager Paul Medved said to the Fremont city council. "The last of the subway sections was [finished] about a week and a half ago, and now it's down to just the ventilation structures and the transition structures and then putting the park back together."

The area around Lake Elizabeth has been the site of constant construction work for many months, but the area is almost fully restored, according to Medved. Soon, mechanical, electrical and plumbing work will be complete and park restoration finalized. Foundation work at the Warm Springs/South Fremont station site, near Warm Springs and South Grimmer Boulevards will begin soon.

BART personnel unveiled the WSX architectural plan at the July 17 Fremont City Council meeting. The new design showcases a dual-entrance station with easy access directly from a bus transit center through a plaza to a large rotunda at the station's main entrance. "We are looking at using color concrete on the [plaza] floor. It bounces more light and it's easy to maintain," Warm Springs Constructors architect of record Anko Chen said. "It creates kind of an open space for the general public."

Inside the station, a high ceiling made out of wood panels will reflect light and give out a warm glow. "The station has a simple, modern design," Chen said. "It's a timeless piece of architecture and it's quite iconic." The station will boast a glass elevator. BART director Thomas Blalock said, "[With a] glass cab, anyone can see who's in there and what they're doing. We think that's a huge major protection."

Internationally recognized Artist Catherine Widgery of Cambridge, MA has been chosen to create the artwork for the Warm Springs station. Her environmental designs contain aspects of natural settings using patterns, textures or the play of wind and light. The new station will reflect its natural setting and emphasize Warm Springs as a distinctive place in the BART system.

An artistic 360 degree glass etched view of the sky features morning, mid-day, afternoon and evening images around the main entrance rotunda. Images of local subjects will grace the station as well. "The objective was to select something that was truly place-making [and] unique... it will look completely different from any other BART station," said Molly McArthur, Manager of Community Relations for Capital Projects. "It's going to be quite a spectacular piece of work."

BART is also working to improve communications with patrons, both wireless and on monitors inside the station. "What we're really trying to do is make it easy for patrons to know whether the train is on time or what the schedules are, whether they are on the way to the station or at the station. You don't have to wait until you get there to figure out whether you need to hurry up and get your train or not," McArthur said. "[We're] trying to serve people better with that kind of communication."

Currently, BART is working on a standard for solar panel electric vehicle charging in the parking lot. In the future, electric car owners will be able to charge their cars in the BART parking lot. "We'll have the infrastructure in place now that will make it very undisruptive to put in when they're available," Medved said. BART will hold a public celebration this fall when the tunnel under Lake Elizabeth is completed.

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