On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), we are writing to support the BART Phase II project, specifically with the single bore tunneling method. By way of background, we are the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing 1,400+ companies that employ nearly 300,000 workers and we represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.
BART’s extension to San Jose presents an incredible economic development opportunity that will support increased public transit options between job centers and housing sites. If this project is done right, it will promote business expansion, ease traffic congestion, and encourage higher-density housing projects throughout Silicon Valley. With this in-mind, we urge you to consider the following elements as BART construction negotiations continue to move forward:
- Proceed with the Single Bore Tunneling method and avoid any cut-and-cover construction in Downtown San Jose. This will reduce impacts on any business that primarily operates in the downtown urban core.
- Engage the business community to ensure that sufficient funds are available in any Business Interruption Fund.
- Regardless of the tunneling method utilized to build the station, the project must utilize best practice traffic impact mitigation, such as:
o During the utility relocation phase, equipment and trucks must be removed at the end of work shift to ease traffic congestion and normalize business
o One lane should be left open in each direction during construction hours.
o Sidewalks must remain open and pedestrian bridges provided to allow foot traffic to circulate around businesses operating in construction zones.
The SVO urges the BART Board of Directors to make these considerations as you partner with the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and the City of San Jose, to ensure that businesses in the downtown core won’t unfairly be punished and lose loyal customers during BART Phase II construction.