BART director to discuss possible West County extension at Richmond Heights council

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Photo of I-80 congestion courtesy of the wBART Facebook page.

The possibility of extending BART service to Hercules will be among the topics of discussion Monday at the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council (RHNC).

The meeting featuring BART Director Zachary Mallet begins at 7 p.m. at the Serra Adult Education at 6028 Ralston Ave., near Sonoma and Esmond, said Owen Martin, RHNC president.

BART spokesperson Alicia Trost told us Friday that Mallet’s presentation will focus on the transit agency’s efforts to rebuild aging infrastructure and ensure reliability.

During the presentation, he will “briefly” cover his work to build wBART and the upcoming study, Trost said.

Even before his election to the BART board, Mallet has been pushing for a BART or alternative rail extension connecting northern West Contra County communities with the Richmond and/or El Cerrito del Norte BART Station.

The concept in one form or another has been pitched for years, but in December, it won a victory when the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) green-lit a study of various high-capacity transit modes to ease often unbearable Interstate-80 congestion. The study will look at everything from buses to ferries as well as the feasibility of the so-called “wBART” project, Mallet has said.

El Cerrito del Norte Station’s average weekday exit rate is September was 9,315, the highest of all East Bay stations, and nearly 60-percent of those riders live in San Pablo, El Sobrante or communities north of Richmond, Mallet said.

The study is expected to begin early this year.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Mallet will discuss plans to reduce vehicle traffic to the Del Norte BART station along the I-80 corridor by increasing bus pickup locations north of the station, Martin said.

The El Cerrito Police Department is also sending an officer to discuss safety issues for folks traveling between the station north to the Grocery Outlet.

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