BART is already preparing for a possible earthquake with projects underway at both the Coliseum and Fruitvale stations.
The BART communications department stated, “Stage one began in June and is expected to last through the end of the year. Work is taking place under the south end of the BART alignment located near 73rd Avenue, parallel San Leandro Street, this includes the stairwell off San Leandro Street which connects to the pedestrian bridge. This is all part of BART’s systemwide Earthquake Safety Program.”
“The retrofit work will help the columns better withstand damage from future earthquakes” they added “Construction work is being performed on each column that holds up the BART trackway on the north side of 35th Avenue. Work is also being done to the columns and fixtures located inside the Fruitvale station.”
The good news for BART users is that none of this will change the train schedules in any way. The estimated duration of this project is 4 months and will not affect riders.
“In November of 2004, voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties approved Regional Measure AA, the BART Earthquake Safety Bond. It has been funding most ($980 million) of our $1.2 billion systemwide projects to strengthen the original BART system, protect public safety and ensure that BART service returns quickly to avoid gridlock following a major earthquake.”
BART said this is what inspired them to start this project to improve their structures and prepare for an earthquake. It’s a good decision on their part since experts believe a major earthquake could hit California in the next 30 years.
Jesus, who is a frequent BART rider told us, “That’s very important, especially for people’s safety, that way we feel more comfortable and secure with BART trying to take the necessary precautions to keep people safe. The safety of the riders should be the most important thing.”
When asked about his usage of BART and the impact it has on him that the train schedules won’t be affected he added, “it’s very important because as everybody knows traffic in the bay area is a nightmare for everyone, you try to go anywhere, and there’s always traffic. BART helps with that, so it’s good that we’ll still be able to use the service without worrying about changes in the schedule.”
“I use BART almost daily, I work in the city, so if I use my car it means it will take 2 or more hours to get there, whereas with BART I can just take an hour and I don’t have to deal with finding parking and sitting in traffic, and all that stuff, it’s just less stressful” added Jesus.
Overall it’s a pretty positive response from people to BART’s project to prepare for a major earthquake. Also, it is true that BART helps a lot of people get from point A to point B without having to worry about the daily traffic issues in the Bay Area.