HAYWARD -- With ridership expected to increase and additional stations in the works, BART is looking to expand its mile-long maintenance facility in south Hayward to include warehouses and more tracks for storing and inspecting trains. The yard would be renamed the Hayward Maintenance Complex.
The current 88-acre site stretches from Fairway Park to the Union City border, directly west of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The project would involve widening it to incorporate four warehouses to the west that currently are privately owned, and building the storage and inspection site east on unused land already owned by BART. It would include two elevated flyover sections to more efficiently move cars off and on the main rails.
While an initial study found there weren't any significant impacts from the project that could not be mitigated, residents in the area said they do have some concerns.
"I would like to talk to them about the lights," said Evelyn Cormier, whose Carroll Avenue house is across the street from the facility, which operates 24 hours a day. "The lights are bright -- it would be nice if they could figure out a way to shield them. But if it doesn't get any noisier, (current noise is) not a big problem. I've lived with it for many years."
Mimi Bauer of the Fairway Park Neighborhood Association said she's seen light mitigations that work and would like to learn more about noise levels.
She added that she sees benefits in the project as well.
"The jobs it would create is a big plus," she said. "It would be great if there was a way to make the jobs available to people in the neighborhood, or Hayward residents."
Turnout has been low at previous presentations -- no residents spoke when the matter was brought up before the Hayward City Council, and a Union City meeting drew interest only from the warehouse owners whose property is being eyed for purchase. BART will hold a final community meeting later this month.
Ellen Smith, BART project manager, said expansion of the yard is necessary because of increased ridership and the addition of new stations in Warm Springs, San Jose and Contra Costa County. BART expects its fleet to go from 699 cars to 1,000, starting in 2017.
While the Hayward City Council does not have jurisdiction over construction on BART property, Smith said they wanted to hear their thoughts on the project.
The mayor and council members expressed concerns about whether residents had been given enough notice.
More information and the complete initial study are available on the BART website, www.bart.gov. Click on "About BART," then "Projects."
While the BART board still has to weigh in on the project, and financing has not yet been secured, groundbreaking could happen as early as 2013, Smith said.