2 December 2017
2/D/74 – 1,750 feet climbing – BART Warm Springs to Anderson Lake County Park OAB
This route was to take advantage of the fairly new BART station in Warm Springs/South Fremont at 45193 Warm Springs Boulevard, which opened for service March of this year. I believed this would extend potential routes for club rides, without the need to resort to carpooling.
Half the route was on the Coyote Creek Trail, otherwise this would have been a slog dealing with motorists on urban roads with plenty of traffic lights and wide intersections. As such, the trail is very enjoyable, though a bit technical in parts and affords a nice midway point and view on top of the Anderson Lake Dam.
Nobody adventurous would join me, though the route was meticulously planned. At least on this occasion, I took no wrong turns. Seems like I am getting used to the lag on my GPS display, whenever I negotiate a turn. I took the 0829 train from the Fruitvale station and started the ride at 0910. Only 2 ½ hours later, I was on top of the Lake Anderson dam, the halfway point on this route.
The weather was not overcast as predicted, but quite hazy and cool. Once off the city streets at Mile 17, the bike trail starts proper. It winds its way through a wonderful setting, populated by numerous trees or grassy hills. The path is sometimes up and down and with some twists, however I had to go to the small chainring only once. The general gradient leads up heading towards Anderson Lake, but that is hardly noticeable.
Twice each direction I had to ford shallow streams crossing the bike path. The drain holes in my rims allowed the water to escape, so I experienced no sloshing from my wheelset. The path is only sparsely used and joggers and pedestrians are very responsive to warnings. Certain sections are straight with good sight lines; other turns must be steered carefully at reduced speed, so you don’t clatter into anybody.
After rolling my bike across some grass at the restrooms next to the Hellyer velodrome, I experienced a flat tire, the rear wheel of course. It appears a goathead (Tribulus terrestris) attached itself and imparted a slow leak. At Mile 55, I pulled over to a picnic area and proceeded to swap inner tubes. The first tube would not allow the hand pump to unscrew, without similarly unscrewing the valve core. Thankfully I had a second tube to offer the cycling Gods, but I lost an unimaginable half hour in the process. The rear derailleur had rested on the seat of a picnic table and activated the crash protection function or drained the battery. I could now only shift to the highest gear between the large and small chain ring, though I pressed the mode button on the junction box (probably not the required 5 seconds). I returned home at 1600.
This ride is very relaxing and scenic, except for the 17 miles to get to the Coyote Creek Trail and the same 17 miles from the trail to the BART station. Therefore, I will wait until June 2018, when the Milpitas- and Berryessa BART stations are scheduled to open. From Berryessa BART at 1677 Salamoni Court, the urban stretch would be reduced to only 6 miles, and the total ride distance to 51 miles. Other possibilities avail themselves with these new BART stations.
Thanks for the ride report. There are some parallel roads that could improve the 17x2 miles.
The long-awaited opening of the BART extension from Fremont to San Jose might not occur until late September of 2019, the most pessimistic forecast yet for the $2.3 billion project.
Officials with the Valley Transportation Authority, which is overseeing construction of the nearly 10-mile line from Warm Springs in southern Fremont to the Berryessa stop in the South Bay haven’t given up hope that it could be ready to carry passengers in mid-March of next year. But neither are they guaranteeing that a March opening is likely. A late September opening is just as possible.
“Given the complexity of this project, everything has to go right (to open in March),” said Dennis Ratcliffe, deputy director overseeing BART’s extension into Silicon Valley for the VTA. “But it doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved.”
VTA officials boasted last year that they were ahead of schedule and planned to open the two stations in December 2017, but testing delays pushed that date back to the originally planned June 2018 opening. But earlier this year, VTA officials said they needed a little more time before handing off the new stations and trackway to BART for testing and projected the opening could be as late as March 2019.
Most construction has been completed and the VTA is now testing the complicated communications system that controls everything from the speed of the trains to alerts that all doors are locked or that the dozens of fans at the stations are working as planned. By July 1, VTA hopes to turn train control over to BART, at which point there will be up to eight months more of testing.
But it’s like putting together a complicated electronic puzzle, officials say. When one area is tested, others need to be tested — often one at a time.
A big challenge is integrating BART’s aging infrastructure with modern technology. It look longer than expected for VTA staff to install its closed circuit television system, station security cameras and public address system at the stations, all of which need to be tied into BART’s communications network.
Projected opening dates for new BART stations have often been missed. The 5-mile Fremont to Warm Springs segment opened more than a year after BART had first predicted. And the extension to Berryessa will open nearly three years after officials first hoped, if it comes late next year.
VTA says the delays should not cost the agency more money and it expects to come in $150 million under budget. Just not ahead of schedule.
Riders eager to get out of their cars and onto new transit options have perhaps 15 more months of creeping down freeways.
“Bummer,” said Manny Garcia of San Leandro who commutes to North San Jose. “I knew they probably would not open anytime soon. I just hope they get it ready as soon as they can.”
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