Q When is BART going to realize that those of us in the 'burbs have to drive to the station in order to take the train, which means we need a place to park?
A Maybe today is the day.
Q One day I had to be at an appointment in San Francisco by 10:45 a.m., so I left home at 8:30 a.m. to drive to the Dublin/Pleasanton station to catch the 9:28 a.m. train. There were no parking spots at the Dublin station, so I drove to the West Dublin one, where parking is even more limited. But across the street was parking paradise -- the lot at Stoneridge Mall.
A Only you were in for a rude surprise.
Q As I was getting out of my car there, a self-important mall cop zoomed up beside me and asked if I was on my way to work at the mall. I said no, I was taking BART. He said, "Then you can't park here."
I asked what would happen if I did. He said I would get two warnings, and if I parked there a third time, my car would be towed. I said, "OK, then this will be my first warning."
But he said, "No, now that I have warned you, I will have to tow you today if you leave your car here." I was speechless and decided not to waste any time pleading my case, because at that point I needed every precious minute to drive into the city. I could have returned to the Dublin station to wait for the reserved parking spots to open to everyone at 10 a.m., but then I would almost certainly have been late for my appointment, and of course there was no guarantee that any reserved spaces would even have been available.
I'm a big fan of public transit, but the parking situation is maddening.
A Maddening is the right description, according to many BART patrons discussing the issue of parking.
Q All money for widening freeways, toll road construction and metering lights should be invested in BART so that people can get out of their cars. This includes adding parking at stations that fill up, such as Walnut Creek and Lafayette.
My wife and I wanted to use BART to go into San Francisco, so we tried to find a parking place at Walnut Creek, Lafayette and Orinda at 10 one morning, but none was available, so we ended up driving into San Francisco.
A This may not lead to more parking spaces, but here's your chance to vent. BART wants riders to take part in a parking survey to provide feedback on potential changes to the paid parking program that could impact the amount they pay. BART has about 47,000 parking spaces with a daily parking fee of $1 or $2 at most stations.
For stations with parking on the Peninsula and in San Francisco, fees have been adjusted periodically based on use. For East Bay stations with parking, the a $1 a day could jump to $3, except at West Oakland, where the charge is now $5 per day.
Of the 33 BART stations with parking, 27 have a daily fee. Six stations currently offer free daily parking. About one in four of BART's 366,00 weekday riders park at stations.
The survey needs to be completed by Tuesday. Go to http://bart.gov/guide/parking to weigh in.
Q How much parking will there be at the BART stations on the San Jose extension and will we have to pay to park? Parking is so difficult in the East Bay that I fear they won't have enough spots in Milpitas and San Jose.
A Finding a parking spot should not be a problem for a long time. There will be 1,200 parking spaces at Milpitas, nearly double what will be needed when the line opens in a few years and enough to serve projected needs through 2035. There will also be 1,200 combined surface and garage spots at Berryessa, also nearly twice what will be needed when the extension opens.
There are plans to charge for parking at both stations, but the cost isn't known yet.